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A New Principal for Girls Prep

Kaitlin SeaverCourtesy of Girls Prep Kaitlin Seaver.

Girl Prep Middle School has new principal.

Kaitlin Seaver, a veteran educator who’s helped nearly two dozen city schools develop academic curricula, was introduced last week as the school’s new principal. Girls Prep Middle had been without a permanent principal since February when Kimberly Morcate was dismissed amid declining test scores at the school.

Ms. Seaver joins Girls Prep Middle after serving as the Department of Education’s Lead Senior Instructional Coach where she worked with 21 city middle schools to create Common Core State Standards, which she described as a “consistent, clear, understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them.”

Before joining the Department of Education, Ms. Seaver worked with Knowledge is Power Charter Schools as a sixth grade English teacher, a dean of students, and as a district middle school assistant principal.

She said that she believed a school mission is “to empower all students to become critical thinkers and strong leaders.”

“I am more than confident that we will fulfill this mission together,” said Ms. Seaver, who will begin work in July.

Ms. Seaver’s appointment comes after a two-year stretch in which the school has faced over-crowding issues, a move to a new location and a significant drop in its test scores.

Ian Rowe, one of the acting principal’s at the school, welcomed Ms. Seaver to the school.

“She will lead our Middle School to ensure our students are fully equipped to be accepted into- and thrive- in high-performing public and private high schools,” he said.

“It’s definitely a bitter sweet moment,” said Hilda Salazar, mother of a fifth grader. “We lost Ms. Morcate, but I’m excited to see what she” – Ms. Seaver – “will do.”

Ross Global Academy’s Fight for Life

Exterior of Ross Global Academy Charter SchoolM.J. GonzalezRoss Global Academy Charter School on 11th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A.

In 2009, teachers at the Ross Global Academy Charter School hung a blue banner across the main entrance that read, “We must become the change we want to see.” These days, the words on the banner are regarded by the school’s staff, parents, and students as more than an aspirational motto. In December, the Department of Education announced that the five-year-old school on East 11th Street near First Avenue will close at the end of the academic year. But some of the people involved with the school said that they are determined to convince the department to keep the school open.

They may have serious hurdles to overcome. When the academy was founded in 2006, it was given a five-year charter outlining academic, organizational and financial goals. Each year, the Department of Education performs a citywide evaluation to ensure that such goals are being met. This past year, the Ross Global Academy was ranked as the lowest performing charter school in the city.

Richard Burke, the executive director of a specialized enrichment and tutoring program at the school, said that the faculty is exploring every option they can think of to keep the school functioning.

“We’re doing everything possible to keep the school open,” he said. “Everything from a city to state level and a legal angle.”

While there are many at the school who share Mr. Burke’s goal, some of them said that they can’t help feeling worried about the future.

“We are dismayed,” said Stephanie Wilson, a member of the school’s Parent Teacher Association and Board of Trustees. “We’ve gone through the shock, and are now really sad and anxious.”

One of the things that Mrs. Wilson is most worried about, she said, is the possibility that the school’s successes will be overlooked. She said that the academy has had a positive effect on her two children.

Her 15-year-old son, Demetrius, graduated from R.G.A. in 2009 after completing eighth-grade, and was accepted into Brooklyn Technological High School, a highly competitive and academically rigorous specialized science high school in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

And Mrs. Wilson’s younger son, Elijah, 7, began at R.G.A. two years ago as a kindergartener. Read more…

Report: Neighborhood Schools Lag

P3300740Timothy J. Stenovec The East Village Community School and the Children’s Workshop School share a building on East 12th Street and both earned a C grade for academic performance.

Report cards are out for public schools in neighborhoods across the city and the East Village is getting the kind of grades that would cause just about any parent concern.

Of the 15 neighborhood elementary and middle schools graded as part of the city’s annual progress report, which was released on Sept. 30, only four were awarded A’s or B’s. Ten schools received C’s, and one earned a D. The scores dropped significantly compared to last year, when every East Village K-8 school earned at least an A or a B.

Failing grades for schools come with repercussions. Schools that receive low grades can face closure, and the principals of low performing schools can be fired.

Parents dropping their children off at the East Village Community School and the Children’s Workshop School recently were surprised to learn about that their schools were not making the grade.
 Both schools, which share a building on East 12th Street, got C’s this year, although the East Village Community School got D’s in “student progress” and “student performance,” two of the sub-categories that contribute to the overall grade.
Read more…