A mobile visual campaign, the PS 2013 Bus Tour, was launched by A+ NYC, a coalition formed earlier this year to shape the public school system.
The seven-day, five-borough bus tour was launched outside of City Ha`ll on March 13 and made its way to Elmhurst on Roosevelt Avenue on Monday, March 18.
Inside the blue bus is a visual showcase of the feedback collected from those who know their schools the best —teachers, parents and students. Through the use of an engaging visual display, the coalition, along with leaders from Make the Road New York, hope to stir insightful conversations on ways to transform the City public school system and set forth guidelines for New York’s next mayor.
At each of the bus’ 40 stops, members of the community came on board to place a token into as many boxes they feel state an important concern about the current education system. The bus is divided into four main sections: what each NYC student needs to do in order to succeed, what our school leaders and staff must do, what the school leaders must do and finally, what the City’s next mayor must do.
After the bus tour is completed, the tokens placed into each of the boxes along every major step of the bus will be tallied and used for specific case studies.
“The design team at A+NYC used the information from the feedback we received from a 1,000 plus New Yorkers at 75-citywide workshops that took place earlier,” said Eric Perez, a member of the Urban Youth Collaborative and A+ NYC design team. “We want to fix this whole system, so that the next generation will be well equipped to survive in the outside world and succeed in our careers.”
Fiorella Guevara, a coordinator at A+NYC coalition, said the idea to start a multi-borough bus tour channels from the Charrette model, which is a collaborative planning process that is open to all interested parties. Its goal is to produce a feasible plan and a holistic approach.
The idea is to “expand your circle as you go and continue to spark conversation about education,” said Guevara, adding that the votes tallied from the bus tour will be highlighted at a citywide press conference in late May.
Martha Sanchez, a concerned parent who volunteers at Make the Road organization every Wednesday, said the main reason she is involved with the bus tour is because “her children need more resources, more after school programs and less crowded classrooms.”
Natasha Caperis, an outreach leader at the Alliance Quality Education organization, said, “My child’s school, PS 298, does not have a functioning library or a librarian, nor do we have an up to date computer lab. Now how do we get students ready for the 21st century in a technologically driven economy without proper technology?”
“If you come down out of the tower and into the streets, and really listen to the students, you’ll be able to understand, and that’s what we hope our next Mayor will do” she added.