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School District 20 will welcome a new middle school after all – but it’s not the one a local parents’ group wants.
This September, the Brooklyn School of Inquiry will open in the new building at the site of the former Magen David Yeshiva, located at Avenue P and Stillwell Avenue.
The school will be a citywide gifted and talented school, thereby accepting the brightest students from throughout the five boroughs.
To gain admission to the kindergarten to eighth grade school, students would have to score at the 97th percentile on the city Department of Education’s (DOE) gifted and talented admissions exam.
While Brooklynites are happy to receive a specialized gifted program, they were hoping for a traditional K-8 school that would alleviate overcrowding at nearby middle schools.
“I’m very disappointed that we’re not gaining any K-8 seats,” said Laurie Windsor, president of the Community Education Council (CEC) for District 20, which spans Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton, Borough Park and part of Bensonhurst.
“Everybody who heard it went, ‘Wait a minute — what happened to the junior high school seats?’” Windsor said. “It is what it is. I’m not terribly happy about it because I really was looking forward to a K-8 for the district.”
The DOE said it’s opening a citywide gifted school to appease parents.
“We heard from so many families that they wanted us to create citywide gifted programs outside of Manhattan,” DOE spokesperson Andrew Jacob said. “It’s in response to demand from parents.”
The DOE selected the Magen David site because of its prime location in southern Brooklyn. With the addition of another new gifted school in Fort Greene this September, Brooklyn would have two of these specialized schools on either end of the borough, Jacob said.
“We made the decision to place the citywide gifted programs based on where there was available space and whether the spaces were close to public transportation,” he said.
The opening of the Brooklyn School of Inquiry was in jeopardy just weeks ago.
The DOE revealed to this paper that the school’s principal “doesn’t want to lead the school anymore for personal reasons.”
Rather than nix the school all together, the DOE found another educator ready and willing to be in charge.
“The principal of Brooklyn School of Inquiry will be Donna Taylor,” according to a DOE spokesperson.
Taylor is currently enrolled in the DOE’s Leadership Academy, which fast-tracks educators to leadership positions. She is also training at the Anderson School in Manhattan, which is one of the three citywide gifted and talented programs operating in the metro area.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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