50 signatures reached
To: NYC Department of Education and the School Construction Authority
Include Sunset Park voices in the design of our new schools
Sunset Park residents, parents and children put forth the following demands for the new schools in the neighborhood:
(1) Facilities that offer rich learning experiences to children and are assets to the entire community;
(2) Culturally competent, multilingual school leadership that involves parents in decision-making;
(3) Dual language schools that emphasize hands-on learning and arts integration such as the Reggio-Emilia model;
(4) Zoning that alleviates overcrowding in Sunset Park schools and maintains its existing diversity.
Why is this important?
For decades, Sunset Park schools have been overcrowded. 8 out of 10 of our elementary schools are above their capacity some reaching 165% of their capacity. This has negatively impacted the educational opportunities for our children. Many of our children are in classes that exceed NY State standards; they are not receiving individualized attention from teachers; children with special needs are particularly affected by school overcrowding and many are not receiving adequate attention or services; our children are being sent to schools outside the neighborhood; and, many cannot access after school and enrichment programs due to overcrowding.
It was thanks to the unwavering efforts of Sunset Park parents who have been organizing for 2 and a half years, through the Make Space for Schools campaign, that our neighborhood will see the construction of 5 new school buildings. Parents want to see that the new schools we fought for truly address the educational needs of our children, are assets to our entire community, and contribute to diminish existing inequalities in District 15.
We, as parents, have led a grassroots effort to survey the priorities and recommendations of Sunset Park parents for the new schools. We have spoken to hundreds of residents and have created a vision for our new schools. We have demonstrated the capacity to organize across ethnic lines and believe that the voices of low-income immigrant parents must be heard so that our new schools address the needs of our children and Sunset Park community.