Lower East Side Parents Invited to Design New School

By Serena Solomon on January 10, 2014 11:48am 

 Students in a pre-K class in the S.T.A.R Academy in the East Village.
Students in a pre-K class in the S.T.A.R Academy in the East Village.
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DNAinfo/Serena Solomon

EAST VILLAGE — Parents who want a voice in designing a new school are invited to a community planning session in the East Village on Saturday.

The District 1 Community Education Council, which covers the Lower East Side, East Village and parts of Chinatown, is holding the Community Engagement Lab at the Lower Eastside Girls Club on Avenue D.

The event, co-hosted by the nonprofit NYCpublic.org, will encourage parents to advocate for a new school in their district and will solicit ideas for what that school should look like.

"We will be looking at what does our community need for a new school, rather than waiting for the [Department of Education] to come to us and say, 'You need this instead,'" said Lisa Donlan, president of the District 1 CEC.

"We want to address what needs are not being met."

The workshop runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and will include discussion of the school's educational philosophy, leadership and admissions policy, Donlan said.

The new school has not yet been approved by the Department of Education, though space for it has been reserved in the multi-billion-dollar, mixed-use Essex Crossing development, which is due to break ground in the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area next year.

DOE officials have said they are not convinced that the neighborhood needs a new school, and the city has not earmarked any funds to build it, but officials have committed to reevaluate the need in several years.

Donlan encouraged parents and even future parents to attend Saturday's event, along with any community members with an interest in education.

The Community Education Lab runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Lower Eastside Girls Club at 101 Avenue D. Free childcare is provided. Those who want to attend can RSVP online.

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