A segregated district turns its attention to Harlem schools: Community council hosts summit for parents and advocates

Faced with overcrowded and segregated schools, a messy rezoning proposal recently forced District 3 in Manhattan to recognize some thorny problems: While schools in its Upper West Side neighborhood are generally packed and high-performing, schools in Harlem often struggle both with enrollment and state test scores.

The rezoning was settled in November by a vote of the local Community Education Council. Now, the community is turning its attention to some of the larger issues — such as the impact of school choice in the area — with its first annual Harlem Schools Summit on Saturday.

“This is a door-opening. This is a cultivation of parent activism and community bridge-building so that we can figure out how to level the playing field,” said Kim Watkins, a CEC member who organized the summit.

The summit will open with a performance of “Laundry City,” a play that was created by New York City students and explores school segregation. Workshops throughout the day aim to bring more information to parents about enrollment, advocacy and how to use data to make informed choices about schools.

The summit runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at P.S. 242 Young Diplomats Academy, located at 134 West 122nd Street. Admission is free and childcare will be provided. For more information or to RSVP, click here.