PS 133, School of Choice

Heather Foster-Mann, PrincipalI am sure you have heard by now that PS 133 (temporarily located in the St. Thomas Aquinas building on 4th Ave. and 8th St. for the last 3 years) has become a "school of choice" for both District 13 and 15. It will return to its old site (4th Ave. and Butler) in fall 2013 and move into a brand new much larger building.

There are a few changes. First, the zone for PS 133 has gone away. The few blocks that made up the zone have been absorbed into the neighboring PS 282 zone. We don't know exactly how registration will be handled but it is likely that if there are more people applying than there are seats available that there will be a lottery for the seats. It is a big school to fill and there will be lots of seats available.

Both the D13 and D15 Community Education Councils (CEC) were in favor of giving priority admission to English Language Learners (ELL) and Free or Reduced Price Lunch (FRPL) students. The DoE has agreed to a 30% priority for ELL and FRPL. Some families have wondered why a school that already has 73% Free Lunch Eligible needs this kind of requirement. It is long term planning. Considering the fight to keep the last bit of diversity in 321 last month, it is a long view decision. Also considering the growth and popularity of the Dual Language Programs at 133, it is natural to encourage ELL admission.

We don't know how many kindergarten classes will be housed in the building, if there will be more prek classes or more dual language classrooms, or what will be done with surplus classrooms until the school grows to full capacity (when a school grows like this, they don't add total classes at every grade - the school will likely only grow to full size at kindergarten and each year will add staff and get larger incrementally).

I have been thinking a lot about dual language Mandarin. The District 15 CEC is rightly concerned about the terrible overcrowding in Sunset Park and hoping that students will be encouraged to travel further north to take advantage of seats in the school. Considering the Mandarin speakers there and the general interest in Mandarin in the neighborhood, it would be interesting to consider if a program like that is possible. Ms. Foster Mann can't read your minds. She needs to know if there is interest and commitment from both fluent and non-fluent speakers before she can consider an additional Spanish or even a new language at the school. Use your words! She can't read your minds. And if it were something that she might consider, she needs to find talented teachers to fill the seats; French, Spanish or whatever. Let her know what you want and then get ready to roll up your sleaves.

Tours for the school will be organized later this month and Dual Language Tours will be held on Friday, Jan. 18 at 9am. Contact Parent Coordinator Ahmed Dickerson to confirm: 347-563-5321