Monday, April 29, 2013

Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 Arts And Enrichment Classes In Danger Of Ending Next Year, PTA Holds Silent Auction To Raise Necessary Funds - Can Cornell NYC Tech Help Roosevelt Island School Kids?

The Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 PTA held a silent auction,


and bake sale

last Saturday to raise needed funds for the school's arts and enrichment programs.

I spoke to 217 PTA President Dawn Price who explained the fundraising:
 ... goal is to raise $10 Thousand ... for enrichment programs...
and 217 Grants Officer Kim Brown added:
...  a few years ago.... we lost our art teacher, all our after school programs so the PTA has to raise money for most of the enrichment that goes on at the school... anything that really makes the kids want to go to school, we have to fund ourselves so this is one way we're doing it by having this auction...

... as of right now, it looks like we likely will not have any kind of art program in the school next year because we're fundraising for it and we are way behind we just don't have the money to keep this program going ...

... all the enrichment programs that keep the kids excited and keeps the parents wanting to send their kids to this school can only be funded if people from the Island pitch in so any amount $5 or $10 is so welcome and goes directly to the school. It makes the Island a better place and keeps families coming to this school.
Here's more from PS/IS 217 PTA's Ms. Price and Ms. Brown.

Click here if you would like to help the students at Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217.

More information about the school including statistics, budget and grades is available from the NYC Department of Education (DOE). PS/IS 217 received a 2011 -2012 Progress Report of D from the DOE.

In December 2011, Roosevelt Island Southtown Riverwalk developer David Kramer of the Hudson Company and PS 217 Principal Mandana Beckman spoke to some parents about the school. Here's what they had to say.

Tomorrow, the NY City Council will be holding a final Public Hearing on the Roosevelt Island Cornell NYC Tech project. Will Cornell be providing any much needed assistance to Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217?

In a December 2011 letter to Community Board 8, Cornell Vice President Cathy Dove stated:
... We are willing to work with all age groups of children on Roosevelt Island, although we plan to focus our efforts on students who are in middle school as this is a pivotal time to interest them in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. Our interaction will involve direct student interaction, support for teachers, and family engagement. We have initiated discussions with, and look forward to continuing to work closely with PS/IS 217 to determine the specific programs that will be most useful to make that school a model in STEM education. Re: timing, while significant programming requires faculty and graduate student involvement, in advance of having significant numbers of those resources we will be partnering with several NYC institutions who have demonstrated expertise in K-12 programming. We would be happy to have the next planning meeting with PS/IS 217 within the next 90 days to begin more detailed planning....
Roosevelt Island's PS/IS 217 needs help. Where will it come from?


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kg said...

It kind of amazes me there aren't more comments related to this. When I see all the trivial conversation going on the boards, how is state of the local school's budget and funding less concerning then garden club or drumming on Sunday morning.

CheshireKitty said...

It's sad but not terribly surprising that the enrichment program funding is cut. The City always seems to have no money when it comes to programs that help ordinary people and their kids. Instead the focus is on smoothing the way, extending tax credits or selling land cheap to developers, or otherwise helping the elite class, the friends of Bloomberg.

The people in City government who make the decisions as to what programs to cut usually do not send their own kids to public schools. Why should they care about enrichment or any other sort of programs for children whose parents cannot afford to send them to private schools? Those parents obviously aren't part of the class of people favored by Bloomberg - the wealthy class.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Healthcare and education are *always* the two things that are cut first when money has to be saved. When did this country become a nation of short-term thinkers?

The discrepancy between schools in "rich" and "poor" school districts is amazing. PTAs/PAs of schools in districts located on the UES, for example, raise hundreds of thousands of dollars per year and use that money on enrichments, teaching assistants, equipment, etc. etc. Schools like ours raise so little and the kids don't get the same opportunities. Education should never be about money but nobody in charge seems to understand that,

YetAnotherRIer said...

Not just the city. The NYC DOE gets a lot of financial support from the state and the federal government. Every year there is a power struggle and insane requirements to meet to get that money.

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kg said...

I think the last 3 comments miss the point. First saying this is a poor neighborhood is not true the neighborhood is mixed that was the mandate. The city/state spends the same amount per student, enrichment activities that come from events or benefits are designed to allow for community to invest in school because better schools improve neighborhood and attract long term residents. It just seems people in community aren't concerned with the school.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Most people on RI who have the means to donate to the PA do not send their kids to 217 (that includes my family as well).

The DOE does not spend any (or at least very, very little) money on things like science, PE, foreign languages, or any other subject that goes beyond the state mandated curriculum. Offerings like Spanish, social sciences, music, PE, Latin, architecture, arts, etc. etc. are entirely the PA/PTA's responsibility.

Westviewer said...

There was some fear when the island first became residential, before the tram was even in place, that something needed to be done to attract a population. Remember, this was in 1976, during a very low period in the city of New York -- high crime, major fiscal problems, people leaving the city, etc. One of the sweeteners was the provision of an excellent school. When the school opened, its first principal came from P.S. 6, on the UES, generally considered the best public elementary school. Very regrettably, she suffered an accident and had to retire before the year was out. The school began to decline and has never recovered.

Westviewer said...

See my statement, above. Almost all the earliest residents, regardless of income, sent their children to the public school. If that were the case now, the school would immediately begin to improve. It has a dedicted staff and a good principal.

YetAnotherRIer said...

I agree with that. The school still has to overcome a perception problem. In addition, the middle school, as I was told, is still tough grounds.