When it comes to school-related meetings, just because they’re public doesn’t mean they’re necessarily accessible for families, who for a variety of reasons are unable to show up in person.
That is why Chalkbeat, in conjunction with RedConnect, a community journalism project by CUNY Social Journalism graduate student, Lauren Costantino, is livestreaming tonight’s meeting of District 15’s Community Education Council, a parent body that approves zone line changes, held at Carroll Gardens’ P.S. 58.
A plan to redraw elementary school boundaries in the northern part of District 15 — which also includes Cobble Hill, Red Hook and Gowanus — was recently delayed in response to concerns from parents in mostly low-income neighborhoods that they hadn’t been properly engaged in the process. Despite about a dozen meetings the education department hosted throughout the district — and targeted outreach in Red Hook and public housing in Gowanus, where many of the district’s students of color live — families wanted a more inclusive process. Some felt that more affluent families were overrepresented at the meetings.
School officials will launch an engagement process called Participatory Action Research, or PAR, that relies on smaller format discussions, like canvassing and one-on-one conversations led by people living in the community. Tonight’s meeting is expected to provide an update on that process as well as the status of the rezoning slated to be implemented in the 2021-22 school year, among other agenda items.