For anyone who has walked down Steenwick Avenue and wondered what the big building that houses elementary schools is called, the next time they stroll by, there won’t be any confusion.
On Monday, June 27, an official sign was unveiled for the building that contains P.S. 189, M.S. 462 and P723. Its name, the Rosa Parks Educational Campus. The school building has been operating under the name for four years, but administrators felt that the signs on the building would be effective in reminding students, as well as the surrounding community, about one of the country’s greatest civil rights pioneers. “We knew the building would have a name and what it would be before the school was even finished,” said 34-year-old P.S. 189 principal Malissa Mootoo. “We have a Rosa Parks mural and a Rosa Parks bench.”
Mootoo also said her fellow administrators felt that having one name for the entire building would provide a cohesive image. P.S. 189 teaches grades six through eight, P.S. 189 is pre-k through fifth grade, and P723 is special ed.
“It’s a family,” Mootoo said. “We pass students along between the schools and having a name to our campus will tell the community we’re one school with one purpose.”
The school held the unveiling ceremony on the 27th that included P.S. 189 second grader Arcalia Samuels explaining exactly why the name Rosa Parks was chosen.
“One of our school’s pillars is based on social action that we work to achieve each day. That is why it is an honor for our building to be named the Rosa Parks Educational Complex,” she said.
Opening up all the schools simultaneously had its challenges. Classes began before the building was even complete, and although it was never unsafe, students and teachers found themselves stepping around exposed wires in unfinished areas.
P.S. 189 parent coordinator Majorie Austin said the PTA is a big reason the school has come so far in the past four years.
“There has to be a foundation,” Austin said. “And we have a very good structure, it’s like we walk hand-in-hand. Parents are getting more involved.”
She feels the presence of the new sign will broadcast that unity to the surrounding neighborhood.
“It’s a visual aspect of what the community should be about,” she said. “And seeing a piece of Rosa Parks in the Bronx is an honor.”