Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Controversy About Possible 8 Am Starting Time At PS58, The Carroll School

 For as long as anyone can remember, the school days at most schools in New York City began at around 8:30 AM and ended at 3PM. That, however, seems to be changing. Apparently, as a result of the newly negotiated contract between the United Federation of Teachers and the City of New York, individual schools are now allowed to determine their own arrival and dismissal times.
At Public School PS 58, also known as The Carroll School at 330 Smith Street, parents recently received a notice telling them that the elementary school has decided to start the school day at 8:00 and to dismiss the children at 2:20 PM at the start of the new school year in September.
The announcement has cause quite an uproar amongst the parents. Acting Principal Katie Dello Stritto and Acting Assistant Principal Annique Leman claim that the decision was made by the Board of Education. However, it is the understanding of the parents that it was left up to the individual schools. The parents claim that they were not consulted prior to the decision.

PS 58 Parent Paige Bellenbaum has started an online petition, which reads in part:
As I understand that this time change allows teachers the flexibility to add more small-group work and additional enrichment during the day, along with additional hours for communication with parents and professional development, I am deeply saddened by the fact that this decision was not subject to a public discussion inviting PS 58 parent feedback. 
It is my understanding that schools have the ability to determine their starting time, and that our neighboring school, PS 29, has opted for an 8:30 AM arrival time. 
Please understand that this change poses the following obstacles to many PS 58 parents: 
- Quality family time with our children is challenging for working parents. Creating an earlier start time means that families lose a valuable 40 minutes together every morning to make it to school on time. 
- Our children will need to go to bed earlier, leaving less time for homework, and again, less time together as a family. 
- Many working parents have their children involved in afterschool activities which are costly as is. This shift will place even more of a financial hardship on parents. 
As PS 58 parents, we applaud and admire the amazing education and care that you provide for our most prized possessions every day. Please include our concerns in this decision making process, please move the new arrival time up to 8:30 AM to accommodate the families of PS 58.
Yesterday, the Acting Principal, PTA President and UFT Representative sent out the email below:

Dear PS 58 Families:We would like to update you on the current discussion concerning the school schedule. We, representatives from the school administration, the UFT and the PTA, have met and are evaluating possibilities and ways to mitigate the burden of any schedule change on families, teachers and staff.We would truly appreciate it if everyone could give us until the end of the week to get back to you. We value everyone's input, but additional comment at this point would be unproductive.There will be an update on Friday. 
Thank you very much for your consideration, 
Henry Carrier, President, PS 58 PTA 
Robert Hansen, President-Elect, PS 58 PTA 
Michael Leahy, President-Elect, PS 58 PTA 
Katie Dello Stritto, Acting Principal, PS 58 
Annique Leman, Assistant Principal, PS 58 
Danielle Lehtinen, UFT Chapter Leader, PS 58 
Dan Lupkin, UFT Delegate and Chapter Leader-Elect, Ps 58
Obviously, there will be quite a discussion going on at PS58 before the end of the school year. Stay tuned. To access the online petition, click here.


Anonymous said...

Please consider taking this post down. This is not something for the public to debate, this is between the administration and parents.

Anonymous said...

My school day started at 7 am, and somehow my parents managed while both working (my father three jobs).

This is why people hate us.

Katia said...

To Anon 12:53, since PS58 is a Public School, I don't see why this should not be of interest to others in the community.
For example I just forwarded this to a parent whose child will be attending Kindergarten at 58 this fall. I believe she should be able to express her opinion on this since it will affect her as well.

Annie Sprain said...

actually, i appreciate you bringing this to the attention of your readers.

i think it's useful for us to know what is going on with the school and its hours, as any change in schedules and routines will be felt throughout the neighborhood.

it will certainly impact the morning commute on the subways, so other commuters will feel it.

businesses will notice a change as well.

Anonymous said...

You are "reporting" on what people "think" and "understand"… That is not the same as the facts. It is a much more complicated situation than this lays out. The schools can not just decide when to start, there are specific parameters involved. The default start time of NYC schools is 8:10. There are SBOs, school based options, which then need to be approved by the DOE.

Anonymous said...

If only it were between the administration and parents! The "Acting" Admin. has neither consulted nor sought any input from families at all.

While parents are constantly being asked to contribute time and money to the school in the name of partnership, their voices are not being heard in a very critical decision that will have significant impact to their quality of life, wallets and children's ability to learn. All we are asking for is collaboration, to make a mutual decision, in the best interest of the students.

Thank you for doing what you do, Katia. It matters and it makes a difference.

Anonymous said...

It is very upsetting to be informed that our early morning enrichments are being eliminated.

Many families move to this neighborhood for this "excellent" school, so I absolutely believe it is most certainly in the public interest.

mark cajigao said...

I, too, appreciate bringing this matter to the general public. My family is not zoned for PS58, but I am sure this is an issue that will concern families all over the city.

Anonymous said...

PS 29's schedule will be 8:30-3:00pm. Less disruptive.

And, you are missing the point. Parents have been shut out of the process. There has been no discussion and those who have made the decision have been dismissive.

Anonymous said...

early morning enrichment is being eliminated city wide per the new UFT contract.

Anonymous said...

Who has been dismissive? Have you talked to your teachers? They are the ones who voted. Have you talked to the principal? I am not saying 8:00 is ideal, but they have said they will take another look at the issues. What more do you want?

Anonymous said...

The most unacceptable issue here is that Acting Principal Stritto is being dishonest by claiming that it's a DOE decision because the DOE decision is based on the decision made by PS 58. The statement put out by Stritto in response to this controversy further confirms that this was a PS 58 (not DOE) decision because they say that the "representatives from the school administration, the UFT and the PTA, have met and are evaluating possibilities and ways to mitigate the burden of any schedule change on families, teachers, and staff." If the time change was a DOE decision then why aren't they part of these meetings?

Anonymous said...

The best part of Acting Principal Stritto's response is where she says "We value everyone's input, but additional comment at this point would be unproductive."

Translation: "We don't value everyone's input but it would be great if everybody could cut us some slack and zip their lip".

Anonymous said...

A 2:20pm dismissal? That is the middle day and only 6 hours of school. It doesn't seem very responsible to release kids at such an early hour.

Anonymous said...

The administration met on Wednesday morning and will be updating the parents of PS 58 children by Friday. Until then this post is premature. It is understandable that parents are upset with the new arrival and dismissal times and in response a petition was created. There was even talk about going straight to DOE.I just wonder if anyone spoke to the administration directly to voice their concerns or they just ran with the ball once the letter came home about the change in time.

Anonymous said...

Typical petition you'd get form uber-liberal robots: you did this, this and this wrong, but we think so much of you so surrender.

Sad fact is most of these people are elite and connected and this is what they think gets results: being a jerk.

Anonymous said...

As a parent of a PS 58 child I am very upset that this issue has been discussed on this blog and in a NY Daily News article. This is an issue that is still being worked out and should have been dealt with between the parents, staff and administration, not in the media. The petition does not represent the opinions of every parent in the school. Bringing this to the media before a resolution and response was received shows little respect for the staff and administration who do a pretty damn good job of taking care of our kids every day.