Petitions and emails are flying at Girls Prep Middle School in the East Village, with both parents, teachers and students claiming the once stellar middle school is in serious trouble.
“I fought tooth and nail to get my daughter into Girls Prep and I’ve been very happy with my daughters education. I just hope we can move past all this,” said Jamila Banks, whose daughter is in the 5th grade.
Parents are circulating an online petition to try and get Morcate reinstated. Disgruntled teachers sent out a group email to parents expressing their disagreement with the decision to fire Morcate and their frustrations with the current administration.
“Kim guided the culture of the school. In her absence, we feel untethered,” the teachers email said. “We are left in a school that is a shell of what it once was. The email goes on to explain the breakdown of the disciplinary system stating that “restricted lunch, a consequence that the girls understood and were accustomed to, has “disappeared.”
Students also recently started circulating their own petition calling the school “a wreck.” The petition also complains that new principal Ian Rowe, is never at the school. Rowe has no school administration experience. He would not respond to a request for an interview. Parents say that neither Rowe or co-principal, Rebekah Marler are in the school everyday.
“With Morcate, she was always there in the morning, walking into every class, making sure that everything was in order. Salazar said. “She knew all the girls by name. It’s little things like that, that really matter the most.”
Marler is currently on a two-week vacation and could not be reached for comment.
The crucial testing for the city-wide progress report is about three weeks away.
In a recent school board meeting Marler told the parents they were doing everything in their power to help the students succeed.
“We are developing a curriculum designed to empower each student to build strong character, demonstrate critical thinking, possess a core body of knowledge and be on a predictive path to earn a degree from a four year university,” she said.
But PTA president, Harley Sanchez’s new worry is that they will start to lose teachers.
I don’t think Ian (Rowe) realized how hard [all these changes] were going to be,” said Harley Sanchez, mother of a 5th grade student and PTA president. “I’m afraid we are going to lose some really good teachers because of it.”
The only certainty in the school’s future is that it will remain an East Village fixture. The Panel for Educational Policy voted in favor of the relocation of Girls Prep Middle School Wednesday at Brooklyn Technical High School. The middle school, currently residing on Astor Place, will share school space with East Side Community School at 12th street between 1st and Avenue A. The school year will open at the new location.