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North v. South: How Our Politicians and School Board are Cheating Our Children

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North v. South: How Our Politicians and School Board are Cheating Our Children

February 07, 2009 - 05:13
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Rashad, I am sorry for what I have had to post here but the point needs to be made. Seventh Grade Rashad Brogdon of Isaac E. Young, is one of many New Rochelle students that the New Rochelle School System is failing. I'm not talking grades, I'm talking about teaching. This poor kid, I feel saddened. Just look at his writing sample on his post titled "work" within this site. This just goes to show you the quality of teaching that our children are receiving here in the South End of New Rochelle. If you take a 7th grader from Albert Leonard Middle School, you will see first hand the differences. It is no secret that the administration funnels the majority of funds to the North End Schools. A person would have to be blind not to see this. The South End Schools need the funding more than the North End Schools. Example: Ward School has 3 photo copy machines while Jefferson has one that's always broken. Why are the kaleidoscope classes’ held at Davis rather then Jefferson. Wouldn't you think that you would want to up the grades at the worst performing school in the district? The teachers, the principles, the New Rochelle Board of Education and the Superintendent of Schools should be ashamed of themselves. And the blame doesn't just stop there. The blame is also due to The Mayor, The City Manager and the City Council for letting this all happen as well. Not to long ago I posted that Jefferson School is allowing classes to be held in a now finished basement within the building. The problem here is that there is NO HEAT within this classroom. Principle Slotkin knows that there is no heat in this class but still exposes our children to the frigid temperatures within this classroom. The room is so cold that the outside temperature at a whopping 16 degrees is 10 degrees higher then the classroom temperature. That is correct my friends the classroom temperature is 6 degrees. But like I mentioned before, Jefferson is a South End School where no one cares about its students, including its Principle, because if she did, she wouldn't allow classes to be held in such inhuman conditions. I once wrote Mayor Bramson that if he thinks that the North End Schools and South End Schools are as equal as he says they are, why doesn't he send his children to Jefferson and then Isaac? Needles to say, the Mayor NEVER responded. I'm sure his wife calls the shots anyway.
So People, please do feel bad for Rashad and the hundreds of other students that the New Rochelle School System is leaving behind and just doesn't care about, just because they are, in their eyes, from the wrong side of town.

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In Issac and columbus (go issac) it was hot all the time and the air-condition was always broken, they said they were going to fix it and that was when I was in 6th grade (2005-2006) when I got to 8th grade it wasnt working still, but they still was said we need the money to fix it. I am in 9th grade now and I hope they got the money and fix the air-conditioner for the kids to come.

If there are indeed legitimate problems and issues at certain schools, it is imperative that they are brought to light so that solutions can be found as soon as possible. The main goal is to ensure that the learning environment available to all students both safe and adequately staffed and funded.

The "North vs. South" divide "debate" is a baseless argument that does more to divide the community from within than anything else. A clear understanding of the school zone breakdown within the district is most helpful in countering these north vs. south claims. (A map is offered at http://www.newrochelletalk.com/files/2008-09_CSDNR_District_Cale.gif ).

For starters, the Webster school zone covers an area stretching from Licoln avenue to the Nature Study Woods (above Eastchester Road). Additionally, students from Webster attend Albert Leonard Middle School. The Ward Elementary school zone covers much of city's northern and mid-sections, however also includes a large area south of Eastchester Road including Rochelle Park, Rochelle Heights, Huguenot Park and Chauncey Estates. Students from these areas are alse zoned to Albert Leonard Middle School.
The Barnard school zone covers an area split evenly by the "Eastchester Road" division line (with 50% covering Beechmont and Larchmont Woods, and 50% covering City Park, Potter Avenue & 5th avenue, 'Chatsworth' and Rochelle Heights.) Since the school only serves grades pre-k to 3, students within the area are zoned to Davis school. Those students living in the Lincoln district are individually assigned to schools by the superintendent of schools. This is a unique situation that exists due to 1960's segregation issues involving the district and the lincoln school). The "north" end middle and elementary schools have a large student base residing south of the alleged "Mason-Dixon Line" of Eastchester Road.

The south end schools of trinity, columbus and jefferson cover an area that is in many ways less economically diverse than those in the north end zones, due primarily to the fact that most of New Rochelle's subsidized and section-8 housing lies outside of these "south end" school zones. The southern end of the city is more densely populated than the rest of NR, with numerous apartment complexes along shore road(for example). Greater pop. density does not equate to greater poverty levels however. The bulk of south end residents falling within poverty levels are the elderly. That aside, the majority of the residents in the south end of the city are middle-income. Still, some of the wealthiest sections of the city are also in this area. The trinity school zone includes Premium Point, the largest "gated community" within New Rochelle. It also includes Premium Park, Emerson Estates, Pryer Manor, Sutton Manor, Sun Haven, Spencer park and Residence Park, all upper-middle class sections of NR. Also in this zone is Davenport Neck which has several smaller gated sections of waterfront mansions as well as the larger "San Souci" area with moderately priced to costly homes. Two large middle-class sections, East-End and Homewood Park, also feed into the Trinity Zone. The newest developments along main street )Trump Plaza, Avalon East) feed into the Trinity school as well. All of these students then attend Isaac Yong, and finally NRHS for grades 9-12.

Jefferson school also covers a largely middle to upper-middle class section of the city.

Columbus is probably the most diverse school of all the "south end" schools, covering an area that includes the city's "west end" which is both historically Italian, and also heavily hispanic. The newest downtown developments of Avalon on the Sound and 543 Main street, as well as the French Ridge and Feeney Park neighborhoods are the middle to upper middle class areas within this zone.

Looking at all the elementary school zone, several things are made clear; A)that the "dividing line" of Eastchester Road does exist like many have claimed, B)that the elementary school zones incorporate socio-economically diverse areas of the city and NOT economically homogenous and exclusionary zones favoring rich vs. poor).

I believe that the New Rochelle schools district is a good one. I believe that it provides a unique and valuable learning environment that in many ways far surpasses any other large suburban school district in the country. At the same time I do believe that there are indeed legitimate issues that exist & require attention and action. Focus on the school in question, highlight the problem in policy or procedure, or the administrator or teacher who is definitely at fault. Raising awareness is the quickest was to achieve a successful resolution to the issue(s). To attack the district overall is the least effective way to solve these issues. It is, however, the the most unfair. To make such serious & false claims (like the existence of a "north vs. south" divide) helps no-one and hurts everyone. This includes the 10,000+ students of the district as well as the countless teachers and employees who work to make it great.

The district has provided a first-rate educational experience for the 6 children in my family, each of whom attended elementary and middle school in NR (Webster, Davis, Isaac and Albert Leonard) and graduated from NRHS ( '92, '93, '96(me), '00 and '04). Being from a mixed-race and multi-ethnic family was of minimal issue in New Rochelle . . a reality of the New Rochelle community that is not so easily found elsewhere.

I attended Albert Leonard in the early nineties and the school was a HOT BOX. The flat roofed, 'modern' building offered little reprieve from the sun's heat.
It was far from pleasant during the spring/ early summer season. I know that in recent years they have installed new, tinted windows which must counter some of this radiant heat and hopefully air-conditioners have been installed as well.

There are many more first-generation hispanic students at Columbus, Trinity and Isaac. For these students english is an entirely new language that needs to be learned. For some it comes quick, for others it is understandably more difficult. These students must then apply english to most every aspect of their social and academic life. While undertaking such a gargantuan task, these students most certainly will not score at the same level as their "peers" who dont face such obstacles. Assessments of school / grade-level performance do not adequately account for such variables that clearly exist.

NOTE: from my previous posting about the North vs South divide, I would like to correct my obvious typo in Point A which should read that "the 'dividing line' of Eastchester Road does NOT exist as many have claimed" in this section:

Looking at all the elementary school zone, several things are made clear; A)that the "dividing line" of Eastchester Road does NOT exist like many have claimed, B)that the elementary school zones incorporate socio-economically diverse areas of the city and NOT economically homogenous and exclusionary zones favoring rich vs. poor).

Many wealthy families in the south end of New Rochelle send their children to private schools to avoid the public schools.

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