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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.”

Girl’s Prep Gets a New Home

East Side Community High SchoolRachel Ohm The building that houses East Side Community School on 11th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A will also become the new home of Girl’s Prep Middle School in the fall.

For the past year, Girl’s Prep, an all-girls charter school in the East Village has been in search of a new home for its growing middle school.

Last week, school officials received approval from the Department of Education to move into a space at the East Side Community School building on 11th Street and First Avenue. The middle school, which currently serves students in grades five and six only, will be able to re-locate in the fall and eventually expand to teach seventh and eighth graders.

“It’s such a relief to know we have a permanent, free public school space,” said Ian Rowe, the school’s interim principal. “Our parents have been through a roller coaster these last two years.”

Girl’s Prep is a kindergarten through sixth grade school that opened at 442 Houston Street in 2005 as an elementary school. Last year, when it expanded to grades five and six, the new middle school moved to a temporary location that it rented at 51 Astor Place. That building is set to be demolished later this year, after the charter’s lease expires June 30.
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Your Voices | A Principal’s Dismissal

A Place of LearningDayna Clark

Last week, we shared the story of how parents at Girls Prep Middle School are upset at the abrupt dismissal of the school’s principal, Kimberly Morcate.

The post struck a chord with many readers.

Cary Abrams questioned the school’s poor performance on recent standardized tests, commenting:

“The fact that a school is able to drop from the 82nd to the 13th percentile in a year is highly circumspect, more indicative of the unreliability of the evaluation process than other factors.”

Vilma wondered about the reasons behind Ms. Morcate’s dismissal; the board of directors declined to comment on the basis of their decision:

“I believe the Board that decided to fire Ms. Morcate did the wrong thing and they KNOW it and as much as they want to ADMIT it and bring her back, they will do no such thing. I just hope the girls do well on their tests this year and if they don’t then it will be FURTHER PROOF of the firing of Ms. Morcate with no reason at all.”

Maria A. noted how much affection students at the school felt for Ms. Morcate:

“Ms. Morcate is an incomparable, and irreplacable principal and it’s a shame that we lost a person who has a heart filled with love for all our girls. (Ms. Morcate, we love you and you don’t know how much Katie misses you. She prays and she cries for you. We wish you good luck and a lot of hugs, Thanks for your dedication and for sharing your knowledge with all of us.)”

Join the conversation: Should the board have been more transparent about the reasons behind Ms. Morcate’s dismissal?

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.”
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