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Sorry, park advocates, the Major League Soccer stadium planned for Flushing Meadows is a done deal. And, some of you same folks will lament the fact that the Ridgewood Theatre will never be a performance venue again. Lastly, you fans of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) will be disappointed to learn she will not be the next mayor of New York.
These were all revelations made to this writer on Tuesday. Do I have a crystal ball? No. (After all, I was liking Curtis Sliwa’s pick in the Kentucky Derby until the darn horse scratched at the last minute). No, what I had was a conversation with Queens’ own celebrity psychic, Jesse Bravo.
Politics in middle and southwestern Queens was the favorite sport outside of Citi Field in 2012, and the worst storm to hit the region in 74 years devastated some while causing others just a few flickers of their lights.
As the year began, the city filed an appeal of a ruling by federal Judge Nicholas Garaufus that found discrimination on the part of the FDNY against African-American firefighters in the testing and hiring process.
The newly reconstituted 104th Precinct Community Council is up and running with an interim board, regular elections set for 2013 and an already ambitious agenda.
The board consists of President John Perricone of Ridgewood, Vice President Mario Matos Jr., a teacher at Maspeth High School, Treasurer Tania Broschert of Glendale, Recording Secretary Amy Lassell of Maspeth and Sergeant at Arms Vincent Perricone of Ridgewood.
Only a few months after a court ruling gave a last-minute reprieve to seven Queens high schools, the city Department of Education is eyeing three schools — including one of those seven — in a new round of academic performance probing that could lead to closure of the schools.
Flushing High School and two schools located at Campus Magnet in Cambria Heights — Law, Government and Community Service High School; Business, Computer Applications and Entrepreneurship High School — have been targeted by the DOE’s early engagement program. As part of the program, DOE officials have been meeting with parents, staff and students to discuss academic performance after the three schools earned D grades on the DOE’s annual report cards released last month. Department officials get updates from members of the school community and report that information to the superintendent.
As Hurricane Sandy bears down on Queens, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Mike Bloomberg are asking residents to make last minute preparations.
Don’t take a wrong turn in Grover Cleveland High School’s haunted house!
Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood hosted a Halloween party for more than 400 neighborhood children on Friday, complete with costumes, activities, prizes, a haunted house — and yes, plenty of candy.
City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and State Education Commissioner John King both said last week they are confident the city will be able to submit improvement plans for more than a dozen Queens schools — and over 100 citywide — listed on the state’s “priority schools” list as underachieving schools that could be closed by 2015 if they do not show progress.
But any plans for the schools will be contingent on whether or not the city and the United Federation of Teachers will finally reach a deal on a new teacher evaluation system.
The State Education Department released its list of troubled schools last month, just before the start of the new school year, highlighting over two dozen borough schools in need of improvement or risking closure by the end of the decade.
Among the schools listed on the priority list — schools with graduation rates under 60 percent — are the seven high schools that were part of the failed turnaround program earlier this year and two high schools that are already being phased out — Jamaica and Beach Channel. The list also includes Grover Cleveland High School, which was taken off the turnaround list at the last minute in April, along with Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village and Excelsior Prep High School in Springfield Gardens.
The Bloomberg administration seemed to admit defeat this week on their comprehensive school “turnaround” plan that led to the Department of Education’s decision to close and rename 24 city high schools, including seven in Queens.
After being dealt back-to-back defeats from an arbitrator and a New York State Supreme Court judge, the DOE said the schools would, at least for the time being, open in September with the same employees as in June while the lawsuit against the city filed by unions representing teachers, school administrators and principals works its way through the courts.
Teachers unions scored a big victory against the Department of Education Friday afternoon. An independent arbitrator assigned to mediate a dispute between the UFT and the Council of Supervisors & Administrators and the DOE has ruled that the city’s move to shut down low-performing schools and lay off half of their faculty and administration violated contracts between the city and the unions. The move may mean thousands of staff laid off at the end of the school year may again have jobs in September if they want them, and the city might lose out on almost $60 million in federal funding.
The city closed seven high schools in Queens at the end of the school year, and plans to reopen them with new names and largely new staff in the fall. The schools that were closed include John Adams, Richmond Hill, August Martin, Flushing, Newtown, William Cullen Bryant and Long Island City. Grover
Cleveland High School in Ridgewood had been targeted for closure but was given a reprieve at the 11th hour. The schools joined Jamaica, Beach Channel and Far Rockaway high schools, which have all been closed in recent years or are in the process of closing.
Councilmen Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) and James Vacca (D-Bronx) introduced the Social Host Law on May 31, which would make it illegal for any adult who owns, rents or otherwise controls a private home to permit underage drinking.
“This legislation will hold adults accountable for allowing minors to drink in their home,” said Vacca, who added community groups say underage drinking is a problem in his district.
She was nominated by state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach).
“There are remarkable women in our midst whose lives, work or special accomplishments contribute to making our communities better, making our families stronger and serving as special examples to others,” Addabbo said in a statement issued by his office last week.
It may have been the most pleasantly anticipated committee report in recent memory at Community Board 5 last Wednesday as Education Committee Chairwoman Pat Grayson reaffirmed what all in the district already knew — Grover Cleveland High School has been spared the infamous ‘turnaround’ process that the city has slapped on 24 high schools in the city.
The board had passed a unanimous resolution calling on the city to do just that in April, arguing that the school had made the significant, demonstrable progress the city has sought after bringing in new Principal Denise Vittor and giving her three years under the “start-up” designation.
Retired U.S. Army Capt. Laura Zimmermann and area realtor Jim O’Kane will serve as grand marshals of the 2012 Maspeth Memorial Day Parade, sponsored by United Veterans and Fraternal Organizations of Maspeth, on May 27.
Zimmermann, a Maspeth native, is a graduate of Christ the King High School and Hunter College/Bellevue School of Nursing. She served in the army from 1976 to 2000.
Last Thursday, Grover Cleveland High School students came to school prepared for a fight.
They had their signs, their chants, and their speeches to read before the city Panel for Educational Policy voted on whether or not to close the Ridgewood institution.
By the time the city Panel for Educational Policy voted to close 24 city schools, including seven in Queens, around midnight last Thursday, just a handful of the hundreds of teachers, parents and students who had flooded the meeting in its earlier hours remained — but their alternating weeping and jeering could be heard throughout the cavernous auditorium.
Leaning their foreheads against outstretched palms, those who stayed into Friday’s early hours at Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights Campus seemed to personify the mood among those at the schools slated to close at the end of June —defiant one minute, and dejected the next.
Hundreds of students, parents and community members protested the city’s former plan to close Grover Cleveland High School at a public hearing in April. The city announced on Thursday it would not shutter the Ridgewood school.
After thousands of students, parents and teachers protested Mayor Bloomberg’s proposal to close 24 schools across the city, including seven in Queens, the city Panel for Educational Policy voted 8-4 Thursday night to shutter the institutions.
Hundreds of students, parents and community members protested the ciity's plan, now dropped, to close Grover Cleveland High School at a public hearing in April. The city announced on Thursday it would not shutter the Ridgewood school.
Just hours before the city was set to vote on the mayor’s plan to shutter 26 schools across the city, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood has been removed from the list of institutions pegged for closure.
Two new schools planned within District 24 were greeted with enthusiasm by members of the Community Education Council on Tuesday night.
But council members in the same session passed two grim resolutions decrying the Department of Education’s decision to place Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood and Newtown High School in Elmhurst on the list of schools slated for so-called turnaround designation.
All seven state senators from Queens have signed a letter to Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott asking him to remove eight borough high schools from the list of those to be placed on turnaround status.
The schools would face a complete reorganization, and could lose up to 50 percent of their faculties. The letter asks Walcott to to continue the schools in their current Restart designation.
Our kids are our future, and a sound education is their oyster to success. We therefore protest the proposal of New York City's Department of Education (DOE) to close 33 schools and reopen them under the Turnaround method, and condemn the abrupt closures of these historic institutions. These citywide schools include John Adams High School in Ozone Park, Richmond Hill High School, Long Island City High School, Flushing High School, Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood, Newtown High School in Elmhurst, August Martin High School in Jamaica and Bryant High School in Long Island City. There are about 21,000 students in total at the eight schools.
Mayor Bloomberg announced the plan in his State of the City address recently in an effort to secure about $58 million in education aid that the state has withheld because the city and the teachers’ union have not reached a deal on new evaluations for educators.
This ill-conceived plan was made without any real planning, strategy or parental input. Comprehensive high schools are necessary to mold our children to become good citizens and prepare them for college and careers. DOE should be working to improve and enhance these schools in our increasingly compe
titive global economy. It is wrong to use state and federal programs to close these schools without even a phase out.
Unnecessary chaos and doubts will be wrought. Current high school juniors do not even know the name of the school they will be attending in September. Questions remain, such as what sport teams will be cut, who will their teachers be, what educational opportunity programs will be eliminated, what will the mission and theme of these schools be, what will happen to the current parents’ associations, what art and music programs will these schools offer, what remedial programs, if any, will be retained. Existing programs like media and communication, business, environmental issues, health and sports careers, and law and international relations may be scrapped. With half of the teachers gone, who will write their college recommendations, and serve as trusted mentors? These, and other concerns, must be answered before changes are considered.
We urge the DOE and Chancellor Walcott, himself a graduate of these comprehensive high schools, to immediately halt this destructive and counter productive process that will affect our communities and neighborhoods and grieve our students and parents. Instead, we should allocate resources to improving existing schools and stop creating chaos for September. To ignore our kids' welfare will send the wrong message to them-that we don’t care about their future, or their success in life.
The plan to close the schools will be voted on April 26 by the city’s Panel for Educational Policy, notoriously regarded as a rubber stamp for all of the mayor’s schools plans because it has never rejected any changes he has proposed in the past. Our children will be the ones who suffer most.