Parents Protest Principal’s Dismissal

Current ResidenceDayna Clark Some parents at Girls Prep Middle School are upset at the abrupt dismissal of the school’s principal last month.

After the abrupt dismissal last month of the principal at Girls Prep middle school, a group of parents have begun mobilizing a campaign for her re-instatement.

The school’s board of directors voted last month to remove the principal, Kimberly Morcate, after the school’s scores on the city-wide progress report fell from the 82nd percentile to the 13th percentile.

Board members did not say that Ms. Morcate’s dismissal was linked to progress report scores.

“We will not discuss the circumstances surrounding Ms. Morcate’s termination out of respect to her,” one board member, Eric Grannis, said at an emotional board meeting Tuesday night.

Nevertheless, many parents said that they were upset about the move and the potential disruption to the school’s students because it was made in the middle of the school year. Ms. Morcate’s last day at the school was Feb. 18.

“You rocked our world and we want some answers,” one parent, Harley Sanchez, 27, told the board at Tuesday’s meeting. She has a 10-year-old daughter at Girls Prep, a charter school, which is now temporarily housed on Astor Place.

Ms. Sanchez and other parents have started to circulate an online petition on behalf of Ms. Morcate, who was very popular among parents. The petition says, “This termination came with no explanation or consideration of the negative impact that this would have on the Girls Prep family.”

Mr. Grannis said that board members were only thinking of the students.

“We know this is not an ideal situation,” Mr. Grannis said, “but we want to give your girls the best education possible.”

Girls Prep is the city’s first all-girl charter school and prided itself on high-test scores that exceeded the state median. The school is run by Public Prep, which also runs Boys Prep in the Bronx.

Shortly after the scores were released, the Department of Education told The Local that lower grades are a reflection of more difficult math and English standardized state exams.

Until a permanent replacement can be found, Ms. Morcate’s job is being divided temporarily between Ian Rowe, current chief executive of Public Prep, and a former P.S. 50 principal, Rebekah Marler.

Ms. Marler is the former principal at East Harlem’s P.S. 50 and the recipient of Colin and Alma Powell’s Legacy Award. But Ms. Marler’s former school also struggled to make the grade. At P.S. 50, only 17 percent of the third graders passed the English Language Assessment.