P.S. 19 Roberto Clemente
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English language and computer classes for parents
School is closing
Once one of the largest schools in District 14, enrolling a sizable population of new immigrants, PS 19 steadily lost population as the neighborhood gentrified and the school officially closed in 2015. Occupying a space in prime Williamsburg real estate, PS 19 did not attract many families new to the neighborhood. Test scores were among the lowest for elementary schools in the city and in 2012 the city decided to begin phase it out.
In 2006, PS 19 had nearly 600 students, down from more than 1000 a few years earlier. In 2012 it had fewer than 350. On the 2011 Learning Environment Survey, teachers expressed little confidence in the longtime principal Maria Witherspoon: nearly 70 percent did not think she was an effective manager and only half said that teachers were given a say in how the school is run.
Community members fought to keep the historic Roberto Clemente school open, suggesting that the Department of Education replace the administration or provide more assistance to the school which serves a sizable percentage of English Language Learners and special education students. The DOE cited its low test scores and the school's inability to raise student achievement levels in its decision to phase it out.
PS 19 was replaced by PS 414 Brooklyn Arbor, which opened in the building in September 2012. (Pamela Wheaton, October 2015)Read more