Fort Greene

Community, Brooklyn leaders announce vision for public middle school at Atlantic Yards

July 7, 2015 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Jo Anne Simon. Eagle file photo by Mary Frost
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A coalition on Tuesday announced M.S. OneBrooklyn, a community vision for a new public middle school to serve District 13. The group included Community Education Council 13; Brooklyn Community Board 8; the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council (PHNDC); leaders of the parent-teacher organizations of Brooklyn public schools P.S. 9, P.S. 11, P.S. 20, P.S. 133, and P.S. 282; and elected officials.

M.S. OneBrooklyn would be located in the school facility being created at the Atlantic Yards project expected to open in September 2018 and would help meet a significant local need for a dedicated intermediate school accessible to all District 13 students.

M.S. OneBrooklyn’s location within Brooklyn’s cultural district will enable it to offer a curriculum that recognizes the intrinsic value of the arts and culture while also using them as a critical lens through which students learn to see themselves, the communities around them and the role of the arts and culture in society.

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David Goldsmith, president of the Community Education Council for District 13, pointed out that, “CEC 13 and many others have long identified increasing access to high quality, diverse district middle schools as a top priority for District 13. Prospect Heights has no district middle school, and the M.S. OneBrooklyn vision that we announce today would be an important step in addressing local and district-wide needs.”

Reflecting the many technology startups that now call this part of Brooklyn home, M.S. OneBrooklyn will offer a comprehensive science, technology, engineering and math (“STEM”) curriculum. Subjects like software engineering and robotics will complement a rigorous math and science foundation, preparing students for the challenges of high school, college and future careers. M.S. OneBrooklyn will offer dual language studies, in order to provide continuity in the bilingual and bicultural educations of the students in six District 13 dual language elementary school programs while providing deep support for English language learning students.

“For years we’ve recognized the need for a dedicated District 13 middle school to serve the communities in northwest Brooklyn and beyond,” said Sharon Wedderburn, chair of Brooklyn Community Board 8’s Education Committee. “The construction of a new school at Atlantic Yards is the opportunity.”

“The Pacific Park/Atlantic Yards school, which sits in the heart of Brooklyn, is an ideal location to meet the needs of our families,” said Councilmember Laurie A. Cumbo, who represents Downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Crown Heights and parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant. “Over the past year, I have heard numerous accounts of families leaving the district just for the opportunity to attend a middle school that fulfilled their curriculum preferences. It is essential that our families have the ability to remain in our community where we can continue to invest both in our children, our neighborhood schools and our institutions.”

“Though the issues of utilization and capacity projections, along with quality control concerns need to be addressed on an ongoing and real time basis, the prerequisite to tackle one of the most immediate pedagogical concerns must not be ignored as we seek to undertake pressing local academic needs and opportunities,” said Assemblymember Walter Mosley, who represents Prospect Heights, Clinton Hill and Fort Greene.

Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, who represents parts of Downtown Brooklyn, Park Slope and Prospect Heights, said she “strongly support[s] the M.S. OneBrooklyn vision.”

Organizers announced that Brooklyn arts organizations — including BRIC, Roulette, 651 ARTS and Theater for a New Audience — were quick to endorse the M.S. OneBrooklyn vision for a school integrating a cultural component into its curriculum, as was the city’s technology community.    

“I am pleased to support the M.S. OneBrooklyn vision for a new District 13 middle school that brings students from our communities together with a focus on the arts, technology and foreign languages, in partnership with a wide range of arts, technology, business and community organizations, to help all kids succeed,” said Councilmember Brad Lander, whose district includes District 13 students in north Park Slope.

“M.S. OneBrooklyn is a vision for a middle school that reflects the diversity of Brooklyn, from a community-based coalition promoting quality education,” said state Sen. Jesse Hamilton, whose district includes District 13 families in Prospect Heights and Park Slope.  

“District 13 needs a new middle school — especially one that utilizes the unique cultural assets in Brooklyn,” said NYC Public Advocate Letitia James. “The vision for M.S. OneBrooklyn shows what we can accomplish when we listen to the needs of the local community, and I hope this proposal will be a serious part of the conversation.”

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