NORTHERN MANHATTAN — Uptown parents ripped into Department of Education staffers Thursday over a newly released plan to place two more schools into existing school spaces in Harlem and Inwood in fall 2014 — including a six-year high school program that gives students an associate's degree.
Education Department officials told the District 6 Community Education Council that they plan to place a new grade 9 to 14 high school — affiliated with Microsoft and New York Presbyterian Hospital — into I.S. 52, which currently serves the Inwood 52 middle school and the High School for Excellence and Innovation.
The new school, which is slated to offer a career and technical education program, would give students six years to graduate with an associate's degree in the health care industry. The school would be open to applicants from across the city but would give preference to those in Manhattan, DOE Office of Portfolio Management representative Meera Jain said at Thursday night's District 6 CEC meeting.
The city also plans to put a new middle school serving grades 6 to 8 inside of P.S. 192, which is already home to the M192 Jacob Schiff and M325 elementary schools, he said. The new middle school will be a district-wide choice school.
Jain told parents that both of the uptown schools would be phased in over a three-year period beginning in 2014.
The Inwood school is one of three career and technical education high school announced by the city on Thursday. The other two will be in Queens and elsewhere in Manhattan and would focus on computer science and advertising, respectively, but their exact locations have not been announced.
The uptown colocations were met with skepticism by members of the CEC board.
"It's very hard to understand putting another school into buildings that have two schools," said CEC President Miriam Aristy-Farer.
CEC secretary Yuderka Valdez — who has two children in I.S. 52 — was particularly against the proposals, saying that she has already had a bad experience with the Inwood school's current colocations.
"I am not going to sit here and smile at you and try to understand it," Valdez told Jain.
Board members also asked why none of the existing schools were allowed to tack on additional grades of their own instead of having to adopt additional schools. And they said they were angered that I.S. 52 had applied to expand into additional high school grades, but was turned down by the DOE.
Jain said the DOE determined that I.S. 52 would be best served by remaining a middle school. And Jain added that placing a new middle school in the Harlem building alongside the M192 Jacob Schiff and M325 elementary schools would benefit students of those students, by giving graduating fifth-graders preference to stay in the same building for middle school.
The two co-locations will be voted on by the Panel for Educational Policy in October. Aristy-Farer —elected president at last month's meeting — noted that the city had requested a private meeting with her in July, a meeting she declined, citing open meeting laws.
"Now we know what the rush is for," she said.