I'd like to share my recent horrible experience with 82nd street Academics preschool. I do this with hopes that I can prevent this from happening to another parent. My 3-year-old daughter attended March & April 21’. During these months she was pushed 3x by the same student. Once she hit her head on the tile floor, another time she was pushed off a 3 ft. high playground surface. I requested a meeting with the teacher and the program director, A. Rodriguez. I held them accountable for the incidents and demanded that they keep every child safe, including the child who pushed my daughter. I asked them to be more vigilant, since there are 3 adults to 15 students, and that should be enough supervision. I asked them to provide strategies that would help the other student manage her behavior (she had also hurt other children). I asked them to notify me immediately and to provide me with incident reports. The meeting ended well, Ms. R apologized several times and made a plan to help. Three hours later I was asked to come in. Ms. R then stated “we cannot meet your expectation of safety, therefore today is your daughter’s last day. We cannot change school policy for you.” I demanded an explanation, asked what was my expectation and what school policy was I asking to change? She did not answer, but said that they couldn’t guarantee that the other child would not hurt my daughter. I reiterated what I expected, which was NOT that the other child be kept away from my daughter, but that they provide more care and notify me immediately. I asked to speak to the executive director, R Tompkins. Things got worse. I've never met someone so unprofessional, disrespectful, and with complete disregard of children and families. He did not greet me and instead began to give me a speech about how “prestigious” his school is. He tried to hand me an envelope and said “go elsewhere”. I began to speak, but his exact words were “I don’t want to hear what you have to say” and walked away. I demanded an explanation as to why my daughter was being kicked out. He ignored me, walked into a room, pushed me out with the door, and slammed it in my face. He then did not leave the room, even though I waited in the lobby over an hr. I have worked with the DOE for over 10 years, therefore sought advice from colleagues and an educational advocate. I was advised to take the check and remove my child from the unsafe environment. It is clear that Tompkins does not care about the community he is supposed to serve, which is predominantly POC. I say this because since I’ve shared my story on social media numerous parents and former employees have shared similar or worse experiences with him, all POC. His website states that 82nd street does not discriminate and that every child deserves a chance, but why was my daughter kicked out? Why her? Is it because I advocated for her? Do yourself a favor and look up the school’s name on other Facebook groups such as Jackson Heights Parents or the District 30 education page, look up my name (Norma Natalie) and read the comments on my story. Keep your children away from 82nd street academics. RT cannot do good by children; he is practically a child himself with a power trip and a fragile ego. He treats his school, families, children, even employees with no regard, care, or consideration. To him 82nd street is a business, not a school. He did not think about the damage he was doing to my child, who cries every day because school is “closed”. He stripped her of her education, friendships, and routine, during a pandemic and at an age when this is essential. All because I asked for help. I want to add that the mother of the child who pushed my daughter accompanied me to his office. She was as shocked and upset as me about the removal of my daughter. Ronald refused to see us together. Why? Also Why the knee jerk reaction of kicking my daughter out? Why was he so quick to give me money and ask me to leave? What is he hiding? The correct response and what you would expect of a director would’ve been to listen to my concerns and address them, instead of kicking my daughter out, the victim of his unprofessionalism and the school’s lack of vigilance.
Wonderful pre-school. They leave nothing to be desired. The teachers are loving, caring & calm. The curriculum far exceeds my expectations without being hard on the kids. They make learning fun. The staff is available and receptive. We couldn't ask for more.
Review from Guidestar
I am delighted that 82nd Street Academics was my daughter’s first school. She started in the pre-school/nursery school program a few weeks before her third birthday. A year and a half later, she is enjoying UPK and the extended day program. My daughter loves going to school, and is always excited about the things she is doing and learning there. She explains so many things to me with such a sense of authority. She loves to narrate how firefighters put out fires, and show that she can make the letter “c” with her hand. She re-tells the stories that they read in class, and she and her four year old peers burst into song during weekend playdates, singing songs they learned together in class. Today when I picked her up, she was so engaged in a puzzle that she did not want to leave until she was done. The playground is wonderful in the warm weather, and in the cold weather they go to the multipurpose room and ride tricycles. When I miss her during the day, I can watch her classroom live on my work or home computer. The teachers are excellent, and the school administration is especially accommodating to working parents with busy schedules. They even stay open when the public schools are closed.
Review from Guidestar