The new Park Slope school, P.S. 118, will be holding an open house on Tuesday, January 22nd, from 6-7:30pm. It will be held at the new school’s location, the former St. Thomas Aquinas School building (211 8th Street at 4th Ave).
This is an opportunity for anyone interested, especially families included in this new zone, to meet Principal Elizabeth Garraway (former assistant principal at PS 321), to learn more about the plans for the first school year, and to meet members of the PS 118 Founding Families organization.
The new zoning plan (President street to 5th Street between 3rd and 5th Avenues) was approved on Nov. 28th, 2012 and the school is scheduled to open this September with an estimated 50 Kindergarden students and possibly one or two pre-K classes.
PS 118 Founding Families currently includes 40-50 families with children in the new school zone who are working towards making this “the next great Park Slope school”. The group has formed committees focusing on outreach, education and fundraising. Debra Wexler, an original member, pointed out that “this school (PS 118) can be every bit as great as PS 321, with all the advantages of a small school and the community that comes along with that. And the idea of building this new school is so inspiring”.
One interesting point to raise here is fundraising. There has been a lot of talk about how small the pool of families from PS 118 will be to fundraise with compared to PS 321 (whose goal was to raise $1m last year). Debra pointed out that “we don’t need to match the $1 million raised annually by PS 321 because this will be a much smaller school. The amount of money the school would need to raise to fund an arts partnership for one grade would be roughly the same as we would need to raise for our entire school when it grows to serve students in Pre-K through 5. So fundraising is a challenge as it is for any school, but the scale of that challenge is proportional to our smaller school size”. Brad Lander has already committed a $35K technology grant to the school and the founding families group is confident that other elected officials and community organizations will step up to support PS 118 just as they support other schools in our neighborhood. Debra herself is a big proponent of small schools and said “with this small size, everyone will know everything going on with all of the students”.