The district’s new schools superintendent, Kamar Samuels, is stopping by UWS playgrounds this month in a grassroots effort to reach out to parents, including those he met at Tecumseh Playground on Saturday, September 10.
“I’m here today at 77th and Amsterdam at a playground to be accessible to all parents,” Samuels said, also explaining why he chose playgrounds as his venue of choice. “I am a parent myself, and I spend a lot of time on the playground with my daughter, and I realized that people talk a lot about the schools on the playground, and I want to make sure that I am hearing what they are saying.” City Council Member Gale Brewer was also on hand to support Samuels’ visit and to take questions from residents.
Recent issues in education include the lottery system for school admissions; specialized high school processes and notifications; concerns about the leadership at Manhattan School for Children; and class sizes.
While Samuels may have his hands full upon becoming superintendent earlier this season, he says, “I hope to hear all the things that I need to do to create a district that is serving all of our kids.”
One parent asked about getting timely recaps of district-specific meetings, while others had more personal concerns about their children’s specific needs. Fourth graders from P.S. 87 asked him which subject in school was his favorite: “Gym.”
Samuels, a former teacher with the city’s Department of Education, rose up through the ranks as a principal in the Bronx, a deputy superintendent in Community School District 23, and as superintendent of Community School District 13 before assuming his role here in District 3.
Surveying Tecumseh, Samuels shared his thoughts on UWS playgrounds.
“I love the Dinosaur Playground. Here [Tecumseh] the wagon. The wagon is awesome. My daughter loves it,” Samuels said. “I think she’s going to start calling this Wagon Wonder Playground.”
Samuels’s remaining playground visits include the Bloomingdale Playground at West 104th Street and Amsterdam Avenue on Wednesday, September 14 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the West End Park at 75 W. 63rd Street on Saturday, September 17 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A virtual tour will be offered on Monday, September 12, from 6:00 p.m to 7:00 p.m.