Principal Candidate for New Foundling School Hopes to Involve Parents

By Mathew Katz on November 14, 2013 2:01pm 

 Officials nominated longtime P.S. 234 teacher Pat Carney to lead the new school on Sixth Avenue.
Officials nominated longtime P.S. 234 teacher Pat Carney to lead the new school on Sixth Avenue.
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

CHELSEA — The likely principal for the new Foundling School introduced herself to the community this week, pledging to create an inclusive community of parents and students.

Pat Carney, a longtime teacher at TriBeCa's popular P.S. 234, has been nominated by the district's superintendent to lead the new school, also known as P.S. 340, when it opens at 590 Sixth Ave. next September.

On Wednesday night, Carney told dozens of parents that she was impressed by how much they've come together prior to the school launching. A Facebook page for parents interested in the school's upcoming kindergarten class, which will serve families in Chelsea, Union Square and the West Village, already has 45 members.

"To open a new school in District 2 with such a committed, involved body of parents is really a dream come true for me," said Carney, who is expected to win final approval from the Department of Education soon to lead the school. "I'm hoping it's the kind of school where not only the kids come and get to know one another, but the parents do as well."

Carney, who lives in Park Slope with her daughter, taught fourth and fifth grades at P.S. 234 for the past 14 years, and also helped develop the school's curriculum and train new teachers. 

As an adjunct professor at Pace University, she helped develop a class on how to teach social science. 

Along with her teaching experience, Carney worked at Time Inc., received an MBA from Columbia University and a Certificate of Advanced Leadership from Pace.

As an educator, Carney said that she envisions a school where the academics are focused on "content studies" that change each semester, with each study relating to a student's real life. For example, a first-grade class might spend a semester studying bakeries, or a fourth-grade class might study the American Revolution.

"With these content studies, kids will become experts and deeply research them," Carney said. "It's incredibly exciting for everybody in the school — it promotes the idea that we come to school to learn something big and important."

Carney also plans to have a "Family Friday" once a month, when parents can come in and engage with their kids and the teachers. With the school's location just blocks from the heart of Silicon Alley, she hopes to work with tech companies — including Google — to have special events.

In the spring, the school will host workshops for parents about different areas of the curriculum. Parents will also be able to get tours of the school closer to its opening, depending on how long construction takes, officials said.

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