Down the hill, a school year begins
Written by Bwog Staff
The following is a departure from typical Bwog style. But Bwog staffer Lydia DePillis couldn’t help bringing it to your attention anyway, and hopes you’ll bear with something that’s more sweetness than snark.
Just across Morningside Park, another school is gearing up for the start of classes on Tuesday. Teachers at P.S. 180 spend long hours in their rooms to ready them for students, organizing folders and art supplies while the long hallways are waxed and buffed. But while they refer to Columbia with a vague gesture upwards, college is anything but remote for these youngsters: everything they do is oriented towards higher education, a big leap for many in a neighborhood where even a high school diploma is an accomplishment.
When the 400 students walk through the doors next week —all drawn from a four-block radius, and only one of them white—they’ll see flags of elite schools crowding the polished lobby walls. The 5th grade class will take a trip to some college or university. Brand new Apple desktops furnish the rooms, and every teacher will receive a palm pilot this year to keep track of assignments. This, in a school where in 1999 not one student passed the standardized reading test—since then, scores have risen dramatically, an improvement that many credit to the school’s dynamic principal.
P.S. 180 does get help from Teachers College students, but 2nd grade teacher Julie Shapiro (pictured taking a break from room prep) still needs field trip chaperones and reading tutors. If you’d like to help, go here. Bwog can’t imagine a better way to forget about a nasty problem set than helping a kid with theirs.