Thursday, September 9, 2010

CEC 24 Tackles PS 87 Extension and Metro Avenue HS

By Eric Yun

With schools about to head back to session for another year, officials and residents had plenty to discuss at the monthly Community Education Council (CEC) 24 last week in Glendale. Major topics included the much-anticipated PS 87 extension, the new Queens Metropolitan High School and the updated proficiency testing standards.

PS 87 Gets An Extension

For years, CEC 24 and community members lobbied hard for an extension at PS 87. It was the first school in District 24 to be converted to K to 8 a decade ago, yet is the last building to get the proper facilities, said CEC 24 President Nick Comaianni.

After a long, contentious battle with the education council, which included a tour of the building so the city Department of Education (DOE) could see the inadequate facilities first- hand, the DOE finally agreed to an extension last July.

According to Comaianni, the tentative schedule has the project going to a bidder in June and the project being completed in approximately three years.

New Queens Metropolitan High School Set To Open

This year’s opening of Queens Metropolitan High School in Forest Hill was met with enthusiasm, but there remain some outstanding issues parents and CEC members felt weren’t addressed properly. While the new school will alleviate overcrowding and is welcomed by most residents, there were questions over who was allowed to attend the school.

One parent complained her son was not allowed to enroll there, even though he listed the school as his first choice, and was instead sent to Martin Van Buren on Hillside Avenue. “He has no idea where Martin Van Buren is,” said the parent.

As a locally zoned school, the DOE admitted any student from the local zone who wished to attend Queens Metropolitan High School. The high school contains 25 percent of students from the local zone and 50 percent overall from District 24.

However, Comaianni said there was bad management when the admittance procedure was being implemented. “The proximity of the school should have been taken into consideration,” he said. This would have prevented situations where parents and students just blocks from the zone were turned away. Another point of contention for Comaianni involved how quickly the high school was filled. He believed if there was more time given to inform parents and students that a new school was opening, it could have been filled with much more than 25 percent of locally zoned students.

New Testing Standards for Kids

Educators and parents lauded the new core standards for English and Math proficiency tests as a step in the right direction. District 24 Superintendent Madelene Taub-Chan understood what parents were going through. Her child went from a four to a two. However, Taub-Chan said, “I would rather have an authentic score.” This will allow her to really understand how well her child is doing.

Comaianni applauded the new standards. “A lot of kids who would graduate eighth grade with threes and fours would fail high school,” he said. The new standards would get students better prepared for high school and become true indicators for how well students and teachers are performing.

No comments: