Forces Schools To Close
the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11th Joanna
Frank, the principal of Norman Thomas High School enters the school
building around 6:00 a.m. She usually leaves 12 hours later. Her
schedule, perhaps an atypical one, resembles the atypical conditions
under which the entire school now functions. Norman Thomas High
School has become the home of 700 new students, faculty and staff
from the High School of Economics and Finance, one of six New
York City public schools that have been temporarily relocated
to other schools because of their proximity to ground zero.
To accommodate the new students, Norman Thomas High School now
operates under a new schedule. The school’s 2,160 students, its
teachers and its staff report to Norman Thomas at 7:30 a.m. and
leave at 12:30 p.m. From 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. the building serves
as the new center for the High School of Economics and Finance.
Under ordinary circumstances, the revised schedule and sharing
of space might have been disheartening for Frank. Today, her staff
and students have embraced the new students and staff and made
them feel unconditionally welcome in their midst. Frank even ordered
a new sign to grace the entrance of her school building bearing
the name of Norman Thomas’ new partner: “High School of Economics
are a family and a community and these kids are our kids regardless
of what school they go to,” she said. “These kids are our children
and they are our future and the future of our city.” According
to Frank, the new students will remain at Norman Thomas for “quite
very important for them to feel a part of the fabric of our school,”
she said. Toward that goal, Frank has integrated both groups of
students into the college fair and a presentation on conflict-mediation.
In addition, the two student governments plan to co-organize a
Red, White & Blue Dance and will participate in the Twin Towers
Penny Harvest program, a city wide school effort organized by
the Common Cents of New York and the Board of Education to raise
money for relief efforts. The students efforts epitomize Chancellor
Levy’s remarks that “students are troubled and want to do something
concrete to help the city heal.”
hope our faculties will also learn from each other,” Frank added,
lauding the “wonderful partner” she had found in Dr. Patrick Burke,
the principal of the High School of Economics and Finance.
As of October 4th, the Board of Education (BOE) had not determined
how long the High School of Economics and Finance will remain
at Norman Thomas. An update on other schools around the city includes
the High School for Leadership and Public Service, which has been
reporting to Fashion Industries High School. No date has been
set for return. The target date of return for Stuyvesant HS, which
has been reporting to Brooklyn Tech, was set for October 9th.
PS 150 will not return to its building in the near future due
to conditions unrelated to the events of September 11th. PS 234
will report to St. Bernard’s school on October 9th.
Finally, PS/IS 89 will not return to its building for at least
four weeks. The BOE is currently exploring potential alternatives
to relocate the school. The BOE and the UFT have been conducting
air quality testing, as have the schools’ Parents Associations,
who have hired consultants.
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