Central Park East I is proud of its spirit of total educational freedom, but simmering tensions among parents and staff members have erupted into a fight over the new principal.
Central Park East I, a small public elementary school at Madison Avenue and 106th Street, opened in 1974 with a lofty goal: to offer the children of East Harlem a nurturing, arts-focused education more often provided in private schools. There was no fixed curriculum. Students learned math through cooking and carpentry, studied violin and went ice skating. The utopian vision was carried over to the school’s democratic style of governance.