Parents and students gathered outside C.S. 92’s student entrance shortly after 8 a.m. on Tuesday, March 6.
In the shade of the building, the group chanted over and over, “Save Our School!”
Holding signs that said the same, some picturing desks locked behind metal bars, and a larger poster depicting the notice that the school would close, the message was clear.
C.S. 92 had been flagged for closing at the start of the 2018 under the premise the school failed to meet grade level proficiencies in Math and ELA and also struggled with enrollment, according to the notice given by the NYC Department of Education.
Just before the beginning of March, the school received notice it was closing.
“How can they expect us to have high enrollment if the school only has two classes per grade,” said Lucy Quiles, one of the protesters who had three grandchildren attending C.S. 92.
“If this school closes, where are our kids going to go? Everything else in the area is full, some even have waitlists,” said Parent Teacher Association president Elizabeth Caquias.
C.S. 92 students who will need to be relocated after the school closes, along with the parents of those students, will receive one-on-one counseling for selecting higher performing schools either in District 12, their home district, or in another district, according to a DOE spokesperson.
“This school is a good school because I have five kids who graduated from here and are now successful college graduates or are attending Syracuse University, Iona, and Onondaga,” said Jamel Cannon, another parent at the protest who explained his youngest child, Deyonnie Cannon, was currently attending C.S. 92.
“We send our kids to school hoping they come home safe because the schools in America aren’t safe, but this one is and the principal here fights for these children,” Cannon continued.
As parents took turns airing their grievances for anyone to hear, they helped other parents and neighbors around the school understand the reason why closing the school was an issue.
As of now the plan is for the building to reopen as a brand new school, 12X595, with kindergarten to second grades, then in future years the new school will phase in grades three through five.
Families in the school’s zoned area will have thorough input into the implementation of the new school.
“These children are not number. Us parents, we’re not numbers, we’re humans,” continued Caquias. “Our children don’t need to suffer because they didn’t meet up to your numbers.”
In December 2017, C.S. 92 was praised for its efforts to improve the school’s testing numbers despite having three different principals in the last five years and were not given an inkling their school had been on the chopping block, according to a parent who attended a CEC meeting that month.
“We’re pleading with our new chancellor (Richard Carranza). ‘You’re Hispanic, you came from the same background as a lot of our kids who are struggling, don’t take this away from our kids’,” said Melinda Vaquez, another one of the parents protesting for her two kids who still attend C.S. 92.
C.S. 92 was also in the Renewal Schools program
“The Renewal Schools program is the most ambitious turnaround program in the country,” said a DOE spokesperson. “Over the past four years, Renewal Schools have been seen strong gains across multiple measures.”