In the Age of De Blasio, A Bloomberg Era Small School Reunion

In July, I found myself back in the East Harlem cafeteria shared by Global Technology Preparatory and P.S. 7. The occasion for my visit was a reunion of Global Tech’s first class of eighth-graders, who were now, four years after their middle-school commencement, graduating from high school.

I was eager to return and see how the students had fared. I knew from my ongoing contacts with the school and its students that several had endured more than their fair share of tragedy, including homelessness, violence and depression, and yet many were getting ready to go to college.

Global Tech, as the middle school became known, was one of the first public schools that I began to follow as part of my research on how business ideas, especially those of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, would influence K-12 education. I also was curious to see how a school that was seen, in many ways, as a Bloomberg-era success story was faring under the administration of Mayor Bill De Blasio, and his schools chancellor, Carmen Fariña. A number of changes, some driven by the new administration’s desire to merge small schools—a major departure from Bloomberg policy—may foreshadow significant shifts at the school.

Here is the story I published this week in Gotham Gazette.

Below are some photos taken of Global Tech alumni at the reunion, in July, and during their frequent visits to the school, over the last few years, where they have maintained close ties with their former teachers.

Chrystina Russell, founding principal of Global Tech with (from left) Quentin, who is going to Monroe College in New Rochelle; Travis, who is going to New York City Tech/CUNY; and Dariel who has been studying to be an auto mechanic and will attend Duchess Community College

Chrystina Russell, founding principal of Global Tech with (from left) Quentin, who is going to Monroe College in New Rochelle; Travis, who is going to New York City Tech/CUNY; and Dariel who has been studying to be an auto mechanic and will attend Duchess Community College

Kaira Bridge and Matthew1

Kaira (right) who was valedictorian at the iSchool and will be attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY in the fall, chatting with her former teachers at the reunion. Jhonary Bridgemohan (left) still teaches ELA at Global Tech. Matt Fernandez came to the reunion from Long Island where he now serves as a police officer.

Jackie Pryce-Harvey helped found Global Tech with Russell, and now serves as interim-acting principal of P.S. 7; the two schools share a building.

Jackie Pryce-Harvey, at the Global Tech reunion, helped found the school with Russell, and now serves as interim-acting principal of P.S. 7; the two schools share a building.

 

PizzaParty1 - Copy

Reunited at an alumni pizza party in 2015

Raven and Baiz - Copy

Raven gets help with her high school homework, in 2014, from David Baiz, her former math teacher, who succeeded Russell as Global Tech’s principal.

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