A Department of Education (DOE) panel voted unanimously last Thursday to approve plans to build a partnering middle school, which will be located several blocks away.
The middle school, composed of grades six through eight, will be co-located at George Westinghouse Information and Technology High School located on Johnson Street in Downtown Brooklyn.
The new school is gearing up to open in the fall with a sixth grade class, eventually growing to a projected 300 students by 2014.
The expansion has received support from local elected officials, including Stat Senator Daniel Squadron, Councilman Stephen Levin, and Assemblywoman Joan Millman.
Squadron released a statement soon after the DOE's vote calling it great news.
“By heeding our calls and formalizing the new middle school, DOE is helping to ensure the continued success of P.S. 8 and creating better options for all District 13 students,” he said. “Now we must work to get the new P.S. 8 middle school ready to go for next school year and continue to work for more options for District 13 students.”
In December, DOE announced that it would propose the expansion of P.S. 8 to include a middle school, housed five blocks away in the underutilized Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School building.
The school's success has grown tremendously in recent years. It has transformed from an underperforming school to one that is now over-capacity.
The P.S. 8 Parent Teacher Association has been working with the elected officials for over a year to expand the school so that it could meet the community's need for a high-quality middle school in the area.
“This is a tremendous victory for the students of Downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights and for those already enrolled in elementary school at P.S. 8,” said Levin in a statement. “The expansion into a middle school will mean that students from P.S. 8 will be able to continue their education at a local, quality public school.”
Both Levin and Squadron attended the DOE's meeting on Thursday to voice their support for the expansion.
But although P.S. 8 parents got good news, on Thursday, the Panel for Education Policy voted to close 18 schools and eliminate middle schools for five others, despite the protests of angry parents and education advocates at Brooklyn Technical High School in Fort Greene, where the meeting was held.
Levin said he was “deeply troubled” by the PEP vote.
“Each school closed by this administration is another admission of failure by Mayor Bloomberg,” he said in a statement.