Crown Heights Parents Urge Chancellor Fariña to Act

June 23, 2015

Chancellor Fariña:

We are writing to you today to urge you to take action to improve P.S. 289 George V. Brower School in Crown Heights Brooklyn. For years, this school has lagged behind other schools in New York City on state math and English language arts tests (scoring 30% in math and 22% in ELA respectively, in 2014 ). That means this school is only preparing roughly 1 in 4 children. To make matters worse, the teachers and administration at P.S. 289 are consistently inattentive to the needs of both parents and students. That is why we, the parents of P.S. 289 students, are calling for the following changes:


  1. Additional instruction time for struggling students: This is a policy that the Department of Education has called for at its renewal schools, and it should be a top priority at P.S. 289. The new teachers contract took away time for tutoring and it should be restored.
  2. Accountability: Teachers and school leaders need to be held accountable for the success and failures of students.
  3. Quality Teachers: P.S. 289 should have competent educators who effectively teach our kids.
  4. Weekly Progress Reports: Regular reports would help monitor student progress and keep parents informed of where children stand on a regular basis. 
  5. Improved Curriculum: Students need a more rigorous curriculum and instruction, which includes high academic expectations. 
  6. Professionalism from Staff: Staff should treat parents and children with respect and make sure they are professional in their attire and demeanor.
  7. Zero Tolerance for School Bullying: The school should establish a definitive plan of action to address bullying, including school suspensions and possibly parent mediation.
  8. Parent/Teacher Orientation: Parents and teachers should meet and interact during the first month of the school year. Parents should have a clear expectation of what to expect with the curriculum. 
  9. Parent Observation Time: Administration should set aside specific times on a monthly basis when parents can observe students in the classroom environment.
  10. Student work on display: Teachers should showcase student work from each classroom to help create an environment that is more conducive to learning. 

We have tried to raise these concerns to Principal Jeffers directly as well as with the school’s PTA.  We have told Principal Jeffers about our problems with staff and how there needs to be a more open dialogue, but he has refused to take action.

The PTA won’t even allow us to speak at their meetings, betraying the very definition of a PARENT - Teacher Association. 

We hope you will take our recommendations seriously and will institute real change at P.S. 289 so our children will have access to the quality education that the Mayor and the DOE have promised. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Jonathan RowParent of P.S. 289 Student

Belinda Aguilera, Parent of P.S. 289 Student

Xiomara Arocha, Parent of P.S. 289 Student 

Noarie and Marie Blaise, Parents of P.S. 289 Student

La-Fleur Bristol, Parent of P.S. 289 Student

Cheryl Brown, Parent of P.S. 289 Student 

Ida Brown, Grandparent of P.S. 289 Student 

Irma Brown, Parent of P.S. 289 Student

Jeanette Bryan, Parent of P.S. 289 Student

Angelette Caminero, Parent of P.S. 289 Student 

Shannon Hayes, Parent of P.S. 289 Student

William Ingram, Parent of P.S. 289 Student

Anthony Inniss, Parent of P.S. 289 Student

Wanda Jones, Grandparent of P.S. 289 Student 

Manasseh Sobers, Guardian of P.S. 289 Student

Ernier Vidal, Parent of P.S. 289 Student

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