Students at PS 166, who were left out of the expansion of District 30’s Gifted and Talent program, got some welcomed news on Wednesday.
Gifted students from the school located at 33-09 30 Ave. in Dutch Kills, will be included in the new middle-school Gifted and Talented program based at PS/IS 126 on 31st Avenue. The students will use underutilized space in the school.
The program at PS/IS 126 was open to gifted elementary school students from two other schools to advance into without testing. But PS 166 was not included, meaning students in the G&T program there would have needed to retest before being accepted to PS/IS 126.
That fact puzzled many parents and left some wondering if the move was racially charged.
PS 166’s student population is mostly Hispanic and South Asian, while the other two schools whose gifted students were eligible for automatic entry into PS/IS 126’s program — PS 122 and PS 150 — had a higher population of white students, though PS 150 has roughly the same percentage of Hispanic students as PS 166.
The schools are also further away from PS/IS 126. PS 122 is located near Astoria Park north of Astoria Boulevard and PS 150 several miles away in Sunnyside.
Parents protesting the exclusion at a CEC District 30 meeting last month that was attended by Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott called for PS 166 to be included.
“District 30 is home to so many bright young scholars,” Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) said, “I am incredibly pleased to announce the new program at PS 126, my own alma mater. We are extremely lucky to have so many talented students in our community; I am proud that we have ensured that each of them will receive a challenging and rigorous education that will meet their needs.”