Passing grade: Locals, educators cheer plan to replace MS 8 with new middle school • Brooklyn Paper

Passing grade: Locals, educators cheer plan to replace MS 8 with new middle school

High marks: Parents and local educators praised the city's plan to replace the current MS 8 learning house inside this Tech Place building Downtown with a new middle school will serve even more kids and get its own budget and staff.
Photo by Julianne Cuba

This school-switcheroo scheme got an A+!

The city must move forward with a plan to create a new middle school in the Downtown building currently occupied by MS 8 — which now primarily serves students who matriculate from Brooklyn Heights’s popular elementary school PS 8, and would be incorporated into the bigger sixth-to-eighth grade learning house planned for the site — locals demanded.

Faculty and parents at a Nov. 19 public hearing cheered education leaders’ proposal to replace MS 8 — which opened in 2012, prioritizes graduating PS 8 students in its admissions, and shares a budget and staff with the elementary school — with an independent middle school in the same space that would no longer fast-track PS 8 students for admission, and get its own funding and faculty.

“I truly believe this proposal will allow both sites to flourish,” PS 8 teacher Melissa Browning said at the hearing, one of two on the proposal last week.

Department of Education leaders concocted the plan, which they claim has never been done before, to alleviate problems that currently plague MS and PS 8 due to their shared resources, including the daily schleps that PS 8’s principal said she and other staff make between the Hicks Street elementary school and the Tech Place middle school, which shares its building with four other high schools and education programs.

“I can’t be in contact with everyone when you can’t be at both sites at arrival and dismissal to say hello and goodbye at the end of the day,” Trish Peterson said at the hearing. “In order for each school to reach its full potential, this is the right choice.”

Should officials move forward with the plan, a new principal would be appointed to run the middle school, which would add one more sixth grade class to those already in place at MS 8.

Education leaders also promised the new middle school would also receive the highest possible amount of cash from the city’s so-called Fair Student Funding program — which doles out money to schools serving the five boroughs’ neediest tots — after telling locals they couldn’t confirm the exact amount of green in earlier meetings about the proposal.

“I’m thrilled 100-percent Fair Student Funding is happening,” said Peterson, who will remain as PS 8’s principal if the scheme is green-lit.

The city’s Panel on Education Policy is slated to vote on the proposal on Wednesday and, if officials approve it, the new middle school would open its doors to students in September 2019.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.

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