Many Brooklyn schools earned an A on their school report cards, but parents still aren’t happy.
They say the report cards, dubbed progress reports, fail to paint a true picture of a school since they measure only two academic subjects — math and English.
“I’m not a huge supporter of the progress reports because I don’t know that they tell the whole story,” said Christopher Spinelli, president of the Community Education Council (CEC) for District 22, which spans Mill Basin, Bergen Beach, Manhattan Beach, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach and parts of Midwood, Flatbush and Sheepshead Bay.
“I don’t think necessarily getting an A or a B on a progress report is reflecting all the great things that are happening in the schools. There are a lot of things that are not measured,” Spinelli continued.
That would be the school’s enrichment programs like art, music and drama.
“I think you need more focus on the whole school and what’s going on in that school,” Spinelli said.
The problem with the progress report grades, CEC members say, is that they paint a definitive picture about a school — one that could be wrong.
“I walked into the school and I looked at the progress report and I noticed that this school doesn’t have an A or a B,” said Valerie Price Ervin, recording secretary for the CEC in District 15, which includes Red Hook, Park Slope and Sunset Park.
“When I went on a tour, I went with one expectation because of that grade,” she continued. However, “I was really pleasantly surprised with the holistic view that they took for children. I wondered how many other parents didn’t even bother to go to that school because of the grade.”
Ervin said the progress reports cannot be the “only valid documentation” of how successful a school is.
“The more and more I talk to parents, they are so excited about the grades but a decision can’t just be based on that,” she said.
“It’s an indicator of what’s going on in a school but it’s not the only indicator,” Ervin added. “There’s other reports. Also, going there and spending time and talking to people.”
In spite of their concerns about the progress reports, CEC members were glad to see many of their local school receive high marks — especially since schools that receive a D or F two years in a row could face closure.
“Our progress reports were very good. They did very well in elementary. In middle schools we did improve — at least we did much better than last year,” said Mario Aguila, president of District 14’s CEC, covering Williamsburg and Greenpoint.
M.S. 126 at 424 Leonard Street received a D, but Aguila said the school has been improving.
“There’s been some changes at 126. We have a new principal there and they’re trying to work with that school now. They just placed an honor program inside that school,” he explained. “At one time, 126 was the main school. We’re trying to get it on track so we can give more relief to [I.S.] 318,” which is overcrowded.
In District 18, comprised of Canarsie and East Flatbush, P.S. 66 at 845 East 96th Street earned a D and P.S. 233 at 9301 Avenue B got a C. All other schools received an A or B.
In District 21, which consists of Coney Island and Bensonhurst, five schools received a C — P.S. 95 at 345 Van Sicklen Street, P.S. 99 at 1120 East 10th Street, P.S. K225 at 1075 Ocean View Avenue, Abraham Lincoln High School at 2800 Ocean Parkway, and John Dewey High School at 50 Avenue X.
In District 20, which includes Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton, Borough Park and part of Bensonhurst, most schools received an A or B. Only one school — P.S. 179 at 202 Avenue C — received a C.
“It just proves what we knew all along that the district is so strong, so wonderful,” said Laurie Windsor, president of the district’s CEC. “We have great schools, great administrators, we have wonderful teachers. A lot of them live in our community and some have raised children here so they have a vested interest.”
Progress reports for all schools can be viewed on the city Department of Education’s Web site, http://schools.nyc.gov.
©2008 Community News Group
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