Hundreds of parents showed up to PS 118 this past Tuesday for the new school’s first open house. Expected principal Elizabeth Garraway shared her plans for the future of the school, talking about a multicultural educational approach and the possibilities of fostering a new and exciting community.
The elementary school, which will open this fall in the former St. Thomas Aquinas building at 211 Eighth Street, was created after some contentious rezoning cut the zones for PS 321 and PS 107. Families living between President and 5th Streets from 3rd to 5th Avenues will be zoned for PS 118. It will open with just 50 kindergarten students divided into two classes, as well as one full-day pre-K class of 18 students.
DNAinfo reports that Garraway, who has a master’s degree in Spanish language and literature, plans to take a “multicultural approach” in educating the students by incorporating Spanish into morning announcements and lessons. Her ideas don’t stop there:
Garraway said she plans to use the Everyday Mathematics math curriculum and said science instruction will start at the pre-K level. P.S. 321 will be a “sister school” to P.S. 118, but Garraway said she’ll also reach out to other neighborhood schools like P.S. 39 to form partnerships. She’s working on developing a “Meet the Writers” program and has contacted the YMCA and Bean Sprouts about possible after-school programs.
Garraway, currently assistant principal at PS 321, has stated intentions to work closely with PS 321 principal Liz Phillips during her first three years at PS 118, helping to ease the minds of some parents who were “bitterly disappointed” to find they had been cut out of the prestigious school’s zone.
Many of these parents have shifted their frustration and are focusing their energy on turning the new school into the best that it can be. PS 118 Founding Families, an unofficial PTA, have been building excitement and support for what they are sure will be “Park Slope’s next great school.” So far, plans for a new playground and a learning garden are in the works.
Photo credit DNAinfo/Leslie Albrecht