SAVE "47" From Housing Non-Signing Schools
The “47" Alumni Association of the Deaf board and members received very disturbing news about the changes that may take place at “47" this fall.
The school has been a vibrant part of the Deaf community living in and around the five boroughs since 1908. The school has always been, and remains, the site of social, cultural and educational programs for an extraordinary group that includes Deaf, Hard of hearing,CODA and hearing students. The school is a unique place where students can share American Sign Language (ASL) and English with peers, teachers and administrators. It is also a place where students are honored and respected for their educational and communication needs. At present, the school and its people are in a position of uncertainty because of the news we have received. The Department of Education apparently has plans to add another school into our building, which is already cramped with four schools currently.
We understand that the Department of Education released an Educational Impact Statement to have the Clinton School of Artists and Writers (02M260)‟s 250-plus students move into “47". We staunchly oppose this plan because of the undue circumstances and burdens it will place upon “47,” including requirements such as:
Giving up 10 or more classrooms
Giving up numerous enrichment rooms used for music, art, science, graphic design, ASL, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and hearing examinations
Moving 5th through 8th grades to the second floor
Relinquishing all rooms and offices, including the alumni room, currently on the second floor for the fifth to eighth graders
Dividing several classrooms into additional classes (15 students per class)
Sacrificing the entire third floor
Increasing class sizes for all students
Closing the “47” Alumni Archivist Room filled with 102 years of the school's history and items
Our students already are not receiving the minimum required time for physical education. Additionally, the gym is already divided into two sections and is used all day from 8:25 a.m. to 3:22 p.m., then for after-school activities. On top of this, there are no lockers available. To further sacrifice space would be an injustice.
Another school, PS138 with most wheelchair users must give up two of their classrooms. They are already overcrowded.
The school will lose the use of the science laboratory, which would lead to the lack of high school science course offerings.
The Department of Education in the past promised that M47 and 347 would get the space back once Quest Learning School vacated the 3rd floor. The changes recently announced have vacated this promise.
The cafeteria is used in three shifts from 11:06 a.m. to 1:25 p.m., and can only hold up to 190 students. It incorporates crucial aspects for ASL, such as round tables for better visibility among Deaf students. To add more students would push the cafeteria to beyond its capacity.
The school has rather narrow hallways and narrow stairways. With such overcrowding, fire drills and even in emergencies would create dangerous, unsafe settings.
The students‟ education will likely be compromised with the aforementioned changes and more.
Additionally, we have lost an influential number of students at “47" as a result of the Department of Education‟s refusal to provide bus transportation for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and CODA students without Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). With this refusal, despite countless opposition from stakeholders, the Department of Education has deliberately and intentionally created space for other schools to come in. Simply put, the DOE is trying to take over our school. We have tried to expand our program by allowing students from other programs from District 75, but the Department of Education has consistently refused to share information about “47.”
A dual language program using ASL and English to all students
Direct, instantaneous communication in ASL between students, administrators, teachers and others.
Ongoing activities such as trips, assembly, guest speakers, library storytellers, clubs, spirit day, assembly, performing shows, etc.
Enrichment programs such as music, art, science lab, graphic lab, and more
Small, size-appropriate classes
Community ASL classes open to the community, families, New York Police Department and Fire Department of New York
Yoga classes in ASL and weekly family workshops
Continuous specialized services to students with IEPs
Specialized offerings such as arent-based computer classes, sign language classes, guest speakers, and more.
The school planned to, prior to the announcement:
Relocate its graphic, music and science lab and classrooms to the third floor by fall 2010
Recruit and review applications received for the elementary and high school students, although this was blocked by the Department of Education
Expand its enrichment programs
Expand the Balanced Literacy training programs
Expand its ASL and Deaf Culture studio
We cannot allow the Department of Education to destroy and/or dismantle New York
City‟s only public school for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and CODA students.
Concerned parents, alumni and the Deaf community are adamant in maintaining that
the school is the most appropriate placement for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and CODA
children. We also maintain that integrating, or even planning to integrate, more schools
into our building serves no educational or social purpose. Rather, this will only create
It is the decision of the “47" Alumni board to preserve “47" as a chief school with two
schools with its unique and special needs providing higher quality education to Deaf,
Hard of Hearing, CODA and Hearing students. We also provide access to
communications for many Deaf parents who face barriers elsewhere in the New York
Public School system. We cannot allow the Department of Education to trample on the
school we love, cherish and need.
Dorothy Cohler „57
“47” Alumni Secretary