Friday, January 29, 2016

No surprise: school at 664 Pacific will become middle school

As first revealed yesterday by DNAinfo after comments by New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, the 616-seat school at the 27-story, market-rate B15 tower (aka 664 Pacific) planned just east of Sixth Avenue between Dean and Pacific streets will become a dedicated middle school.

That's a victory for the local elected officials and advocates who sought a standalone middle-school, under the banner of MSOneBrooklyn, saying that the lack of higher-quality seats (not spaces in District 13) drove families away.

“The siting of this school addresses a critical need that has been neglected in both Prospect Heights and District 13 communities,” said Sharon Wedderburn, chair of the Education Committee of Brooklyn Community Board 8,

A lack of space for elementary school students remains as well; hence the original, if tentative, plan, for a mixed school. See debate here.

“Greenland Forest City Partners looks forward to delivering a new state-of-the-art public middle school in the heart of Pacific Park. This 600-seat school will be a tremendous community anchor for the thousands of families living in Pacific Park and their neighbors from across District 13,” Ashley Cotton, senior vice president of External Affairs at Forest City Ratner Cos., said in a statement on behalf of GFCP to the Brooklyn Eagle.

Need > location

The decision also shows that the hunger for such a middle-school trumped any dismay--expressed by some of the project's nearest neighbors and Community Board 2--about the placement of a school directly across the street from the Barclays Center and a temporary entrance should the B1 tower be built to replace the temporary arena plaza.

Moreover, there are no curb cuts for buses or deliveries. The rendering above right suggests a gathering place for students outside the B3 tower, which is not pictured.

The press release

Major win for students in Brooklyn’s District 13: NYC Schools Chancellor Fariña announces
Atlantic Yards facility will house middle school

BROOKLYN, NY, January 28, 2016: This morning, New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña stated that the new Department of Education Facility to be constructed at the Atlantic Yards project will be programmed as a dedicated middle school. The Chancellor spoke at a Brooklyn Newsmakers breakfast hosted by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

Organizers behind the M.S. OneBrooklyn vision for an intermediate school to occupy space being built at the Atlantic Yards site expressed enthusiasm over the news. In a statement, the group said, “On behalf of the more than 1,000 people who have signed the M.S. OneBrooklyn petition, we are delighted that the Chancellor has committed that the Atlantic Yards facility will be a dedicated middle school. We look forward to working with the Department of Education to leverage the arts and tech resources of Brooklyn, and incorporate dual-language curricula at this new school. Together, we can deliver an outstanding middle school experience accessible to all students of District 13.”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said, “The residents of Prospect Heights have been heard, and our children will benefit from their advocacy in the form of a brand-new middle school that furthers their academic journeys. I am proud of the M.S. OneBrooklyn campaign and thankful that Chancellor Fariña has responded favorably to our call for dedicated middle school space in Pacific Park. The planning process to come should be an exciting and robust dialogue that includes a focus on infusing STEM curriculum and dual-language studies into high-quality classroom experiences. Congratulations to the families of District 13!"

"Today is a victory for students, parents, and community members who have been advocating for a dedicated intermediate school in District 13,” said New York City Public Advocate Letitia James. “We are pleased that the DOE responded to the needs of the community, and that the needs of children and their families will be met.”

“I applaud Chancellor Carmine Farina and the New York City Department of Education for their decision to ensure all 616 seats at the proposed new public school in Prospect Heights will be dedicated to a middle school. As Brooklyn’s population continues to rapidly grow we must plan for the future, and that future includes more schools to match the ever-growing demand. I pledge to continue to work with the city administration to ensure the need for more educational facilities are met so that Brooklyn continues to be a place where families will want to live, grow and work for generations to come,” said Assembly Member Walter Mosley.

“I am so very grateful to Chancellor Farina for listening to the families of District 13 and its CEC who worked so hard and so collaboratively to build a cohesive vision for a stand-alone middle school at Atlantic Yards,” said Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon. “I am excited to work with my colleagues and the community to build a school community that not only stresses inclusion, diversity, creativity and academic rigor, but does so by leveraging the unique arts and technology resources in this area.”

"I am very excited and pleased that Chancellor Fariña and Mayor de Blasio have heard the voices of the community and local elected officials and have made this decision for a much-needed middle school in the Pacific Park development,” said State Senator Velmanette Montgomery. “And I thank the community for their diligence on this issue most of all!"

State Senator Jesse Hamilton said, “I am overjoyed by Chancellor Carmen Fariña's announcement today that students in Central Brooklyn will have the chance to go to a great middle school. There was resounding grassroots support for this school, and I'm proud that so many elected officials worked together to fill the need for this school. It is an important development for all Brooklyn. Our kids deserve this.”

“The siting of this school addresses a critical need that has been neglected in both Prospect Heights and District 13 communities,” said Sharon Wedderburn, chair of the Education Committee of Brooklyn Community Board 8, adding, “It is essential that our children are offered facilities that can support their preparation for the future. We see this school as a first step in addressing the existing and emerging needs of traditional middle schools in Community District 8. We look forward to collaborating with our families, our community education councils and the Department of Education so that opportunities for quality schools for our diverse community will be at the forefront now and in the future.”

“We applaud the DOE's commitment to creating both new middle schools, as well as state-of-the art new facilities for existing middles, in District 13, as part of a collaborative strategy to improve current schools and develop new ones to prepare our children for future success in our city and our world.” said David Goldsmith, president of Community Education Council 13. Added CEC 13 member Rob Underwood, “The new middle school commitment for Atlantic Yards announced today, as well the redesigned M.S. 313 Dock Street School being unveiled tonight, will give Brooklyn parents new and compelling options for their middle school aged children.”

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