After two and a half years of unwavering organizing, the Sunset Park community will see the construction of five new school buildings. Given the disparities in District 15, it is critical that the new schools are built with substantive community input so that the new schools truly address the educational needs of Sunset Park children and are well-grounded in the community.

Over the past 10 months, members of Make Space, a grassroots parent led campaign and a project of Voces Ciudadanas, have reached out to over 400 residents, parents and children in our working class immigrant community to survey the priorities and recommendations for the new schools. The Sunset Park community demands the following:

Facilities that offer rich learning experiences to children and are assets to the entire community

Community members identified the need for maximizing investment in schools to bring new resources to children and the community at large. Our community demands that the new school buildings include:

Culturally competent, multilingual school leadership that involves parents in decision-making

Parents recognized the importance of school leadership for shaping the experience of teachers, families and children in a school. Our community demands that in hiring school leadership, the DOE ensures that:

Dual language schools that emphasize hands-on learning and arts integration such as the Reggio-Emilia model

Community members value raising bilingual children; they want to foster their home language while their children develop a robust command of English. Parents like the idea of integration of the arts and hands-on learning to all subjects as a positive development for all types of learners. Our community demands:

Zoning that alleviates overcrowding in Sunset Park schools and maintains its existing diversity

Lastly community members value the existing diversity of families in Sunset Park. Our community demands:

We call on the Department of Education, District level leadership and the School Construction Authority to heed these powerful recommendations that highlight community needs and priorities. This report demonstrates that Sunset Park families are engaged, have opinions, and are willing to share their extensive knowledge on their school experiences.

Read the full report here: Vision for New Schools in Sunset Park

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