Tag Archives: Blue Ribbon

Two Queens schools awarded Blue Ribbon


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

There is much ado about being blue at two Queens schools.

P.S. 203 in Oakland Gardens and P.S. 191 in Floral Park were named Blue Ribbon schools by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) this year.

The borough’s high performing schools join three others in the city — Brooklyn’s P.S. 34 Oliver H. Perry School, Bronx Charter School for Excellence and Harlem Success Academy I — and 309 more in the country, according to the DOE.

“To be named a Blue Ribbon school is to join a very special, elite group,” said Carole Nussbaum, principal of P.S. 203. “It is a real ‘wow.’ It is the highest award in education that any school can get.”

An ocean of youngsters in blue shirts gathered at the Oakland Gardens school with Chancellor Dennis Walcott and elected officials on November 29 to celebrate earning the coveted honor, which is based on overall school excellence and progress.

They sang blue-themed songs, like “Blue Moon” and “Blue Suede Shoes,” and wowed the audience with comedic plays explaining how they won the Blue Ribbon through hard work.

“You’re role models for your community and all New Yorkers,” Walcott said. “We hope the Blue Ribbons inspire all students to cultivate a lifelong love of learning.”

Comptroller John Liu, the school’s 1979 valedictorian, said it was “no small feat” to gain national recognition.

“This is also a great day for all of our public schools in New York because it shows what our public schools here in New York City are capable of,” he said.

P.S. 159 consistently got an ‘A’


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan. Class 3-313 posed with Principal DiDio and Assistant Principal Andrew Pecorella.

The unwavering commitment toward consistency paid off for newly-minted Blue Ribbon school P.S. 159.

The Bayside school was honored for being a high performing school on September 15. According to David Thomas, spokesperson for the United States Department of Education, the school received the award for consistently performing at high levels on New York State assessments in both reading and mathematics. The school’s most recent assessment test scores place it amongst the highest in the nation.

In fact, the school has received an “A” on every state exam for the last four years.

“I’ve been here for 15 years. For a school to do well, perform well, have high performing students for any length of time is a great feat,” said Assistant Principal Andrew Pecorella.

The award couldn’t have come at a better time for Principal Paul DiDio, who took over the post only two months ago. DiDio said former principal Marlene Zucker — who retired after 20 years — deserves due credit.

“If you don’t have a good leader, you don’t have a good school,” he said. “She set the bar high, but I’m very happy to have landed in this school. It’s been a really great ride so far.”

DiDio and Pecorella said the award could not have been achieved without the joint efforts between good teachers, an active parent population, students and the community.

“We take a very holistic approach. You don’t win an award like this without a joint effort,” Pecorella said. “We view this school as a family. We’re all working together toward the same goals — improving students’ academic performance and making sure they grow emotionally and socially.”

And more hard work is still to come.

“My goal as a first year principal is to continue the success of the school. I hope to have another ‘A’ at the end of the year, keep with what’s been positive here and keep leading the school down the right path,” DiDio said. “We just need to continue our success and build upon it.”

Bayside’s P.S. 159 scores Blue Ribbon


| mchan@queenscourier.com


The unwavering commitment toward consistency paid off for newly-minted Blue Ribbon school P.S. 159.

The Bayside school was honored for being a high performing school on September 15. According to David Thomas, spokesperson for the United States Department of Education, the school received the award for consistently performing at high levels on New York State assessments in both reading and mathematics. The school’s most recent assessment test scores place it amongst the highest in the nation.

In fact, the school has received an “A” on every state exam for the last four years.

“I’ve been here for 15 years. For a school to do well, perform well, have high performing students for any length of time is a great feat,” said Assistant Principal Andrew Pecorella.

The award couldn’t have come at a better time for Principal Paul DiDio, who took over the post only two months ago. DiDio said former principal Marlene Zucker — who retired after 20 years — deserves due credit.

“If you don’t have a good leader, you don’t have a good school,” he said. “She set the bar high, but I’m very happy to have landed in this school. It’s been a really great ride so far.”

DiDio and Pecorella said the award could not have been achieved without the joint efforts between good teachers, an active parent population, students and the community.

“We take a very holistic approach. You don’t win an award like this without a joint effort,” Pecorella said. “We view this school as a family. We’re all working together toward the same goals — improving students’ academic performance and making sure they grow emotionally and socially.”

And more hard work is still to come.

“My goal as a first year principal is to continue the success of the school. I hope to have another ‘A’ at the end of the year, keep with what’s been positive here and keep leading the school down the right path,” DiDio said. “We just need to continue our success and build upon it.”

Three schools earn ‘Blue Ribbon’


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Three Queens elementary schools were honored for being high performing schools, earning them the federal government’s prestigious Blue Ribbon award and a brand new banner across the school.

On Thursday, September 15, the United States Department of Education named P.S. 173 in Fresh Meadows and Bayside schools P.S. 159 and P.S. 130 as Blue Ribbon Schools. The Blue Ribbon program honors public and private schools that have demonstrated significant student achievement.

According to David Thomas, spokesperson for the United States Department of Education, the three schools received awards for consistently performing at high levels on New York State assessments in both reading and mathematics. Their most recent assessment test scores place them amongst the highest in the nation.

“We are very honored,” said Molly Wang, principal of P.S. 173. “It’s hard work, but it’s great to be recognized for all the effort we put in every day.”

The three schools join the nation’s 302 other private and public school honorees this year.

“This just felt like an acknowledgement of all the hard work that has been taking place over the years,” said Michelle Contratti, principal of P.S. 130. “In a way, we now have this awesome responsibility to continue maintaining this excellence and even surpass it. Once you’ve been given such a prestigious honor, it certainly isn’t the end.”

Contratti also said her students are beaming with pride and excitement.

“They know we did something really good and now we received a positive consequence afterward. It’s very tangible to them,” she said.

For Principal Paul Didio of P.S. 159, who just finished his second week as principal, the award couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It sets the bar very high for me and I continue to hold the highest expectations that my predecessors did,” he said.

This year’s Blue Ribbon honorees are invited to an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. in November. The principal and one teacher from each school may attend.

“It makes us feel like we’re doing the right thing. It also gives the community a reason to say, ‘This is what 173 is all about,’” Wang said. “We’re very proud.”