41 Queens schools could face closure

| mhayes@queenscourier.com |

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes
THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

P.S. 140 in Jamaica was the lone Queens school to receive an "F" on the Department of Education's school progress reports.

It could be final bell for 217 city schools whose progress reports showed dismal grades.

The progress reports include “A” through “F” grades of 1,193 elementary and middle schools. The schools who scored a “D” or an “F,” or no higher than a “C” for three years, could be on the chopping block, with this year’s citywide number up from last year’s report of 116.

Among those in Queens could be the 31 schools who have scored three consecutive “Cs” or below, nine schools with a “D,” and the one Jamaica school with an “F,” P.S. 140 Edward K. Ellington.

“It’s the staff,” said Nikieva Millian, mother of two students at the elementary school, who shook her head when she heard the grade.

Out of a total score of 100, the school scored a 21 based on the Department of Education (DOE) standards.

According to a DOE statistical breakdown, grades are based on a compilation of student progress, performance and school environment. Progress and performance mainly come from standardized test scores, and English and Math scores at P.S. 140 are down.

“The teacher [my son] had wasn’t teaching him anything. They like to argue with the kids,” said Millian. “Call the parents, don’t argue with students.”

Since 2010, a study indicates that performance at the school, that recently added a pre-kindergarten, has decreased.

Principal David Norment did not return calls or emails for comment.

“The principal doesn’t like to talk to anybody,” said Millian. “If you have a complaint, you have to deal with the people in the office.”

It is not yet confirmed whether P.S. 140, among other schools with bad marks, will indeed face closure. The DOE will be releasing a list of schools on notice within the week, though they did not respond to repeated calls for comment.

This year, school standards have expanded and coursework has become more demanding so as to build a more solid foundation for students who continue to higher education.

“Our elementary and middle schools build on the foundation of early learning to set our students on a path for college and career readiness,” said DOE Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

Elementary and middle school curriculum now has higher standards, including good performance in critical thinking, defending arguments and executing experiments.

In Queens, which is home to school districts 24 through 30, school progress reports overall surpassed those of any other borough. District 26 came out as the highest performing district.

Millian, a concerned parent, does not wish for P.S. 140 to close, but believes there is a need for a more adequate staff.

“They should have more monitors,” she said. “As an adult, you’re supposed to take care of the kids.”