The renovated building on Colt Street for Harp Academy will not be ready for students until January 2016, school officials told parents last week.
“HARP will be staying in the mall until early January,” confirmed Terry Corallo, district spokeswoman. She said majority of the furniture has been returned to the building, but noted that it is still a “temporary situation.”
The school housed at the old Paterson Mall on Main Street educates approximately 275 students who are interested in careers in the healthcare field. Students, teachers, and parents earlier in the month protested move delays that left them without books, supplies, and even papers to write on.
Some of the students and parents, during that September 16th, 2015 board of education meeting, also expressed concerns about sharing a building with Yes Academy which they claimed educated aged out adults some of whom have criminal records.
Gregory Ray, a parent at the school, said a district official told parents during the Monday, September 21st, 2015 meeting that Yes Academy will not be part of the Colt Street building.
Corallo would not confirm if the district plans on excluding Yes Academy from the building.
Parents brought news articles as evidence to make their case that some Yes Academy students were involved in high profile crimes in the city.
Corallo rebutted some of the parents and students’ assertions that Yes Academy holds overaged former criminals calling it a “grave misunderstandings.” Yes Academy is an alternative school, but the student students were not placed their due to disciplinary issues, she said.
“These students left school for other reasons and we are giving them the opportunity to get a high school diploma,” said Corallo. She said most of the students who attend Yes Academy are 15-18 years of age, the same age group as Harp Academy.
A few are 19 or 20 years old, she said.
As they wait little more than three months before moving to the building the students have been supplied with laptops and online educational materials rather than text books. Some teachers have said the slow internet access hinders them from accessing the online material in a reasonable amount of time.
Some students complained some of the laptops were inadequate. Corallo said despite what was said during the protest at the board meeting most of the staff and students like the use of laptops and online resources.
State-appointed district superintendent Donnie Evans told protesters at that mid-September school board meeting that he would have the district refurbish the old Paterson Mall which the district is leasing on a monthly basis. Corallo indicated some work was done on the mall, but did not provide the cost the district incurred. She said the total cost has yet to be summarized on Thursday.
School officials told parents the building for Harp Academy will be ready for students on January 4th, 2016.