09/23/15 3:09pm
Image by NY Times

Image by NY Times

Gothamist, NY Times, DNAinfo, and others reported on the second of two town hall meetings to gather feedback from the community on the preliminary rezoning proposal for District 13 (Brooklyn Heights, parts of Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO and Vinegar Hill) that would place students from Dumbo and Vinegar Hill, currently in P.S. 8 to P.S. 307 in Vinegar Hill.

The proposal has drawn intense opposition not only from the families who would be rezoned from the predominantly white P.S. 8 to the mostly black P.S. 307. The NY Times states, “Some residents of the housing project served by P.S. 307 also oppose the rezoning, worried about how an influx of wealthy, mostly white families could change their school.”

Parents and community members are asking for more time to plan for changes. One parent asked, “If you’re doubling the classroom size, what are the plans in terms of who are you hiring? Who’s going to be training them?”

Gothamist reports that a spokeswoman from The Church of the Open Door, which many residents of the Farragut Houses attend said, “We know some white people don’t want to go to PS 307 because it’s predominantly black, and some of the black people don’t want this influx of white people coming in. To do it so shockingly and so quickly… let’s stop the present plan and fight for the time to create a new plan.”

After the meeting, DOE spokeswoman Devora Kaye issued the following statement:

“These zones were created decades ago and no longer reflect the needs of Downtown Brooklyn families. We’ve proposed a solution that will ensure each school has an appropriate zone size to create better schools for all students. We’re working closely with the CEC, members of both school communities and engaging parents to collect feedback before any final proposal is submitted to best serve the community.”

{Looking for Your Feedback on the Department of Education’s Rezoning of PS8 School Proposal}

09/23/15 2:09pm


While proposed changes in school zoning to alleviate the overcrowding of P.S. 8 is happening, a new private school option for parents is Sage Heights. They are holding a set of open houses for its new progressive private school. Coming to Brooklyn Heights in the fall of 2016, the school offers the unique Harvard approach of Mind Brain Education.

Parents who have children reaching the age of 2 or higher have an opportunity to learn about Sage Heights coming to Brooklyn fall of 2016 at one of their open houses. To RSVP, go to sageheights.com/vip-access

From Sage Heights:

Did you know?

  • Acceptance rates at local private schools are <10%. (St. Ann’s stops counting requests for Kindergarten interviews at 300 for 30 spots)
  • If you are not affiliated with a school by the time your child is 2 you are late to the game. Siblings fill all most all of the 2’s program at The Plymouth Church School. Last year Packer had one male rising Kindergartener who did not start in their Pre-K program.
  • If you are not a legacy, or have a child already enrolled, or if you have not contributed charitably you are less likely to be accepted at the local prestigious private schools
  • So far District 13 (public schools zoned for Brooklyn Heights/DUMBO/Vinegar Hill/Ft. Greene/Downtown Brooklyn) needs ~3000 seats for additional students by 2020 and the city is only prepared to build ~1000

Secure your spot as the Sage Heights Open Houses fill up quickly. RSVP

Why you should attend:

  • You are a parent getting your head around the schools in the area, frustrated by the application process and changes in the district
  • You are interested in a progressive approach to education that focuses not only on high academic achievement but social and emotional development (MBE)
  • You are looking for an opportunity to become a Founding Family, receive the early-entry discounted tuition or secure a long-term spot in a school
  • You are simply exploring all the options for your child(ren) in Brooklyn


09/16/15 4:04pm


[UPDATE: DNAinfo’s update on the first of two townhall meetings quotes one community member at the meeting: “You’ve got a plan that only considers half of this community — and once again the half that’s not considered is the black half,” he said. “There’s issues of race and class that need to be figured out.”]

The Department of Education (DOE) released its rezoning proposal for District 13 (Brooklyn Heights, parts of Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO and Vinegar Hill) in response to overcrowding of the P.S. 8 school (Robert Fulton). The rezoning proposal will place students from Dumbo and Vinegar Hill in P.S. 307, with the geographic divider along the Brooklyn Bridge (see map above). If the change is approved, the DOE provides the following rationale:

  • Alleviate overcrowding at P.S. 8, a school that cannot accommodate all students in its zone.
  • Grow the P.S. 307 zone and enrollment to serve more students.
  • Plan for the future growth in the area by creating zone sizes more aligned to each school’s space.

During the 2014-2015 school year, there were 162 kindergarten enrollees at P.S. 8, but only 17 at P.S. 307. Under the plan, DOE projects that kindergarten enrollment at P.S. 8 would drop to the range of 120-130, while P.S. 307 would be in the range of 115-120. P.S. 8 enrollment is at 142 percent capacity with an enrollment of 870 students this year, according to the DOE. PS 307 has 423 kids enrolled. The DOE has eliminated 25 kindergarten seats at P.S. 8 for the upcoming school year. Any changes to the zone wouldn’t take effect until the 2016-17 school year.

The DOE is looking for public feedback on their draft proposal regarding the rezoning of P.S. 8 in Brooklyn Heights and P.S. 307 in Vinegar Hill. District 13 Community Education Council (CEC) have scheduled two town halls. The mission of the Community Council of District 13 is to support District 13 families, children and the schools they attend.

Town hall meetings scheduled to gather feedback on the preliminary scenario include:

  • Wednesday, September 16, 6-7:30 pm: PS 307, 209 York St.
  • Monday, September 21, 6:30 – 8 pm: PS 8, 37 Hicks St.

DOE’s Office of District Planning (ODP) will provide a short presentation followed by a question and answer session. All currently enrolled students may remain in their school until graduation.

Following the town hall meetings, ODP will present the CEC and the public with an official proposal on Wednesday, September 30th, 6:30 pm at P.S. 307. The official proposal may contain revisions to the preliminary scenario presented on September 1, based on community feedback.

If you’re a resident of the area, you are encouraged to attend the town hall meetings or submit comments through the CEC’s website, the Office of District Planning (BrooklynZoning@schools.nyc.gov) or to the Community Superintendent (BFreeman6@schools.nyc.gov).

{Zoning Process – Overview, Timeline and FAQs, CEC13.org}
{Information about the PS 8 and PS 307 rezoning process released, Dumbo Parents}
{CEC & DOE To Hold Re-Zoning Town Hall Meetings, Brooklyn Heights Blog}
{Town halls planned on Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO school rezoning, Brooklyn Daily Eagle}
{NYC Department of Education – Office of District Planning Draft Scenario (PDF)}
{Have your say on PS 8, PS 307 school rezoning, Brooklyn Paper}

08/31/15 10:02am


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