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Teachers to Return to Damaged East Village School to Collect Necessities

By Serena Solomon | October 10, 2012 7:04pm

EAST VILLAGE — Teachers from an East Village school recently forced to relocate because of structural damage to its East 12th Street building are being given a brief window Thursday evening to collect stranded but essential teaching materials.

Laptops, reading books and projectors are at the top of the list of items to be collected so teachers can continue to instruct the 650 East Side Community School students now split between two temporary Manhattan locations.

Teachers and students at the school were suddenly evacuated two weeks ago when it was discovered that the eastern wall of the building at 420 E. 12th St. appeared to be "coming apart."

"There are tons of hardships. It is horrible. It is hard, but our teachers and students have been so committed to learning," said Principal Mark Federman, 41, who has been the head of East Side Community School for 12 years.

Federman arranged the retrieval of equipment Wednesday afternoon and will return to the building on East 12th Street Thursday evening with many of his teachers to gather any instructional equipment they can.

"We are only going to get a couple of hours. We will tag and box everything, and then the movers will take it from here," he said.

Textbooks and students' books that were left behind in the evacuation will also be retrieved.

Since the relocation, Federman has spent 18-hour work days bouncing between the two temporary locations. East Side's middle school students have been moved to P.S. 1 at 8 Henry Street, and high school students are holding their classes at Norman Thomas High School at 111 East 33rd Street.

Another school housed in the East 12th Street building, Girls Prep Lower East Side Middle School, has been using the classrooms at P.S. 158 on the Upper East Side.

"[The teachers] have been working as many hours as me," he said, adding that only days after being shut out, teachers had students back in academic instruction at the temporary locations.

Attendance among the kids has remained steady, according to Federman. 

"The learning is at a remarkable level," he said.

At the P.S. 1 location, the limited space has caused teachers to improvise for offices, setting up work stations in hallways to plan classes.

The city's Department of Education is still evaluating what repairs are required and has yet to determine the cause of the crumbling wall, DOE spokeswoman Marge Feinberg wrote in an email to DNAinfo.com New York.

A timeline of when the schools might return to the East 12th Street building has yet to developed, Feinberg added.

East Side Community School is also looking to the community for help, recently sending an email out to local businesses asking for donations of teaching supplies, help with field trips and spaces for recreation or meetings. Food was also requested, mostly as a reward for hardworking teachers and students.

"We need the stuff, and we want the community to know what is going on," said Federman. "We are community school."

Those who are interested in donating to East Side Community School can email Jodi Caplan, Director of Community & Family Partnerships at jodic@eschs.org