Klein awards ‘excellence’ funds to Queens schools


| csantucci@queenscourier.com |

Youngsters at P.S. 46 in Bayside gearing up for a round of standardized testing recently got to practice their responses with the city school system’s head honcho during his visit to announce that the school had earned “excellence” bucks for high performance.
On Thursday, January 3, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein stopped by The Alley Pond School and peeked into classrooms before telling school officials that it was one of 134 winners of additional discretionary funds - equal to about $30 per student enrolled.
During the visit, Klein asked kids and teachers why their school had earned an A on its progress report and the answer reflected an “A” on the school’s progress report and a top score of “well-developed” on the 2006-07 quality review. In return for the money, principals must promise to share their secrets for success and schedule tours for leaders of other city school heads looking to improve their school.
In the future, Klein said that the citywide figure would likely rise as more schools earn better marks on their progress reports.
“For too long the mantra has been, ‘more money,’ and my mantra is, ‘more money, well spent,’” Klein said of a possibility in increasing the discretionary funds budget.
This year, less than 10 percent of the Department of Education (DOE)’s 1,400 schools qualified for the “excellence rewards,” which totaled $3.4 million for citywide allocations, and 48 of the winners are located in Queens, with the majority in District 26, which serves the northeast neighborhoods of the borough.
Two schools, both high schools in Brooklyn, will receive more than $100,000 - Franklin D. Roosevelt, which will receive $122,837, and New Utrecht, which will get $100,180.
Within Queens, the top prizes were $65,659 slated for Aviation High School in Long Island City, $55,235 for P.S. 89 in Elmhurst and $49,839 for I.S. 227 in East Elmhurst. P.S. 205 - the Alexander Graham Bell School in Bayside - is the only Queens school to receive less than $10,000.
“What we learned from the progress-report process is that schools that engage students do the best,” said Chief Accountability Officer Jim Liebman, a man who engineered the evaluation.
Klein and Liebman praised P.S. 46 in particular for work with special education students and a philosophy for getting to know each child enrolled.
“What you see at this school is gains taking place across the entire student body,” Liebman said.
P.S. 46 Principal Marsha Goldberg said the money - about $14,000 - would likely go to books, computers and other educational tools but she planned first to consult her teachers, who already had a “wish list” compiled. She also thanked politicians - Councilmember David Weprin and Assemblymember Mark Weprin - for advocating for, and helping secure funds in the past, for the school.
David Weprin said that in doling out the “excellence” funds, he hoped the city would “keep schools like P.S. 46 and other schools in District 26 going from excellent to more excellent.”
However, Mark Weprin had some harsher words about the time students spend preparing for standardized tests.
“When I was a kid, the teacher would say, ‘Tomorrow, bring in your No. 2 pencil,’” Mark Weprin said. “Now, we are spending weeks and months preparing for those tests.”
“We’ve turned our schools, in my opinion, into Stanley Kaplan courses,” he said.
In response, Klein defended the practice of giving funds to top-performing schools and teachers.
“If we abandon the ability of our children to master what they read … then we are not educating our kids to the level that they need to be educated,” he said.

List of Schools:
1. P.S. 89 in Elmhurst - $55,235
2. I.S. 93 in Ridgewood - $45,649
3. P.S. 153 in Maspeth - $45,616
4. P.S. 199 in Long Island City - $32,578
5. H.S. of Arts & Biz in Corona - $25,238
6. Aviation H.S. in LIC - $65,659
7. P.S. 20 in Flushing - $45,649
8. P.S. 21 in Flushing - $34,589
9. P.S. 24 in Flushing - $23,227
10. P.S. 32 in Flushing - $22,590
11. P.S. 129 in College Point - $31,271
12. P.S. 165 in Flushing - $22,791
13. P.S. 184 in Flushing - $17,227
14. J.H.S. 194 in Whitestone - $27,886
15. P.S. 209 in Whitestone - $19,842
16. P.S. 214 in Flushing - $15,116
17. P.S./I.S. 499 in Flushing - $13,909
18. Townsend Harris H.S. in Flushing - $36,633
19. P.S. 26 in Flushing - $21,484
20. P.S. 31 in Bayside - $19,305
21. P.S. 46 in Bayside - $14,144
22. J.H.S. 74 in Bayside - $34,120
23. P.S. 94 in Little Neck - $13,976
24. P.S. 133 in Bellerose - $17,060
25. J.H.S. 158 in Bayside - $38,309
26. P.S. 162 in Bayside - $24,098
27. P.S. 191 in Floral Park - $11,999
28. P.S. 205 in Bayside - $9,351
29. P.S. 213 in Bayside - $13,809
30. P.S. 221 in Little Neck - $21,484
31. P.S./I.S. 266 in Bellerose - $22,322
32. P.S. 62 in So. Richmond Hill - $32,243
33. P.S. 108 in South Ozone Park - $44,711
34. P.S. 117 in Briarwood - $36,198
35. P.S. 121 in South Ozone Park - $33,684
36. P.S. 139 in Rego Park - $25,607
37. P.S. 161 in Jamaica - $27,819
38. P.S. 175 in Rego Park - $21,450
39. P.S. 196 in Forest Hills - $22,054
40. P.S. 131 in Jamaica - $22,020
41. P.S. 132 in Springfield Grds. - $13,373
42. P.S. 176 in Cambria Heights - $19,741
43. P.S./I.S. 108 in St. Albans - $24,400
44. P.S. 270 in Rosedale - $21,182
45. I.S. 10 in Long Island City - $28,455
46. P.S. 11 in Woodside - $39,952
47. I.S. 227 in East Elmhurst - $49,839
48. Newcomers H.S.in LIC - $34,120