Teachers College Community School Opens in Harlem

Joe Levine
October 07, 2012

Principal Jeanene Worrell-Breeden welcomed an audience of more than 300 parents, teachers, neighborhood residents and university community members—along with local and state dignitaries—to celebrate Teachers College Community School’s move into its permanent new home.

TCCS, a public university-assisted PreK-through-8 school run by the New York City Department of Education and formally affiliated with Teachers College, admitted its first class—a group of kindergarten students—last year in a temporary facility. The school was designed in collaboration with neighborhood residents and fulfills a pledge made by Columbia University as part of the Community Benefits Agreement it signed when an expanding into the Manhattanville area of Harlem.

Now serving 125 students in pre-k, kindergarten and first grade, and with plans to add one additional grade per year, TCCS is operating in a refurbished building located at 168 Morningside Avenue at West 126th Street.

“There a million reasons why I feel, as any administrator would, that this is really the school of any administrator’s dreams,” Worrell-Breeden said.

Teachers College President Susan Fuhrman also spoke of the school’s significance.

“Our vision was to create a university-assisted public school that serves children in the surrounding area, where the college and the community together would develop a high-quality education program, and where, as a stakeholder in our community and as a neighbor, we would share responsibility for students’ educational outcomes,” she said.

As the centerpiece of the College’s Partnership Schools Consortium—which supports a number of Harlem public schools with similar education services—TCCS is the embodiment of that vision. The school delivers on the Community Benefits pact to integrate children and families together in order to optimize educational opportunities and achievement.

“Today marks the realization a dream—a university-supported public school that will offer unparalleled education for the children of our community,” said Fuhrman.

Indeed, TCCS illustrates a genuine community partnership that required the collaboration of many different people and organizations, including Community Board 9, Teachers College, Columbia University and the Department of Education.

Reverend Georgiette Morgan-Thomas, Chair of Community Board 9, said, “We trust that the children from our district will receive keys needed to open their minds and access the kinds of opportunities that will assure them a seat at the global table, this year, next and year, and for always.”

When kindergarteners Two’Moons Fields and Najah Parker carried a giant ribbon to the center of the stage and first-graders Mirelle Sarah Liimatta and Calvin Butts V cut the ceremonial red ribbon, the cheers were so loud some of the children covered their ears.

Teachers College Community School had come home.