Tag Archives: Carmen Farina

Eight Queens schools chosen for new program


| editorial@queenscourier.com


JANAE HUNTER

Eight Queens public schools have been named to participate in an innovative redesign that bends the traditional protocols, officials announced on Monday.

School Chancellor Carmen Fariña and Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), announced that 62 schools citywide were selected to participate in the Progressive Redesign Opportunity Schools for Excellence (PROSE) program for the 2014-2015 school year.

The PROSE program was created as part of a new contract between the UFT and the Department of Education (DOE). The program allows participating schools to deviate from the rules and regulations of the UFT and DOE, and allows them to implement their innovative plans, such as staggering the school days to meet student needs, changing the contractually required student-to-teacher ratio, and using a new teacher rating system.

“Real change happens when educators are empowered to develop the best, tailored strategies to help their students succeed,” Fariña said. “At dozens of schools across the city, these educators have come forward with new, innovative practices that can serve as a guide for all of our school communities and brighten the classroom experience for every child.”

Fariña and Mulgrew, along with First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris, launched PROSE by inviting all public schools to apply. By May 1, 107 schools had applied and after being reviewed by a panel of representatives, 62 schools were chosen. Support teams at the DOE will closely monitor the selected schools to make sure that proposed plans will be implemented successfully, and that any proposed plans benefit the teachers and students and comply with relevant state regulations.

“I’m proud of the New York City public school system and all the schools that took part in the PROSE program,” said Mulgrew. “Innovations like this will move education forward not just in New York, but around the country. Teachers, principals, parents and the entire school community working together will truly advance education.”

The Queens schools selected are:

  • Academy for Careers in Television and Film
  • International High School
  • Middle College High School at LaGuardia Community College
  • North Queens Community High School
  • PS71 Forest Elementary
  • The Flushing International High School
  • The International High School for Health Sciences
  • Voyages Preparatory South Queens

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Thursday: Abundant sunshine. High 58. Winds SSW at 15 to 25 mph. Thursday night: Mainly clear. Low 49. Winds SSW at 15 to 25 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Cheese & Wine 101 “Hard Hat Series”

Join Artisanal Premium Cheese’s Maître Fromager, Max McCalman, for a two-hour guided tasting of four wines and seven of the world’s finest cheeses. Along the way you’ll learn about the main types of cheese and their range of flavors and textures, as well as general wine pairing guidelines and specific pairing suggestions. The event is at 7 p.m. at the Falchi Building, 31-00 47th Ave., Suite 1205, LIC.  Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Body found in Indiana identified as missing doctor from New York

An autopsy determined that a body found in an Indiana lake is that of a doctor with ties to New York City who had been missing since December, authorities said. Read more: ABC New York

NYC schools chancellor: Students won’t be held back over test scores alone

Chancellor Carmen Farina says New York City’s school system will de-emphasize the importance of standardized test scores in deciding which students must repeat a grade. Read more: CBS New York

City food inspectors may wear Google Glass to record reviews

Don’t laugh at that dorky guy wearing Google Glass — he may be there to inspect your restaurant. Read more: New York Post

City noise annoys one in four residents: Health Department

If you like peace and quiet, you gotta leave New York. Read more: New York Daily News

Apollo 11 checklist,spacesuit sold at NY auction

An Apollo 11 lunar surface checklist sheet was among the coveted items sold at a New York City auction of space exploration artifacts. Read more: NBC New York

Mayoral administration removes Success Academy Jamaica proposal


| mhayes@queenscourier.com


One thousand children need to find somewhere else to go to school come September.

These students had applied to Success Academy Jamaica, a new charter school that had been slated to open this fall, but now Mayor Bill de Blasio has axed the plan.

Before former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s term ended, he approved the co-location of Success Academy Jamaica with August Martin High School. The charter school would hold 200 kindergarten and first grade students and ultimately grow to a 500-student school, kindergarten through fourth grade.

But on Feb. 27, de Blasio withdrew this proposal, along with eight others citywide. Three Success Academy schools were canceled entirely. Success Academy founder Eva Moskowitz led a rally Tuesday in Albany, flanked by thousands of students, teachers and charter school supporters, opposing de Blasio’s decision.

“The previous administration handed over these proposals, and we have had to review all of them under inflexible deadlines,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “As enrollment deadlines approach, we considered the thousands of families that could be affected. Under the circumstances we inherited, [we] believe this is the best approach.”

The Department of Education (DOE) said it does “not believe new elementary schools should be opened on high school campuses.”

“Overall, we have heard concerns from high school communities, as well as elementary level ones, about this practice. We believe high school campuses should serve high school students,” DOE officials said.

Without the school, local youth can attend nearby schools P.S. 233, P.S. 45 and P.S. 354.

“More than 1,000 families have applied so far for a seat at Success Academy Jamaica,” said Kerry Lyon, a spokesperson for the charter school. “We will continue fighting to open this school and give those parents the high quality education they are demanding for their kids.”

 

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Mayor de Blasio: City ready for pre-K plan if funding is secured


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


A progress report released by Mayor Bill de Blasio Tuesday shows the city has the capacity to implement his plan for universal pre-kindergarten starting this September—if the funding is available.

The report, “Ready to Launch,” found that though classroom space and quality programming is obtainable, securing funding for the plan remains the main challenge.

“This is real, this is achievable, but this something we can’t do without sustained dedicated resources,” de Blasio said.

In January, the mayor released his plan to provide free full-day pre-kindergarten for every 4-year-old in the city by increasing taxes on the wealthy.

The mayor would need permission from Albany for the increase, and could face roadblocks from state lawmakers.

At an average cost of $10,239 per child, 73,250 children would be eligible for full-day pre-kindergarten by the 2015-16 school year, beginning with 53,604 in September 2014.

The city needs 21,000 seats to meet its goal for this fall, according to the mayor. Since it began asking for proposals and applications from schools and community-based organizations, the Department of Education has received proposals for 29,000 seats.

The proposals also offer detailed plans on curriculum and how the schools and organizations will identify, train and support teaching staff.

“We already know demand from families for high quality, full-day pre-K is exceptionally high – and these numbers confirm that we are ready to deliver,” Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said.

“The number of sites and seats proposed far exceeds numbers from last year,” with a 93 percent jump in the number of full-day sites proposed compared to last year’s results, according to the report.

In Queens, 113 sites were proposed in 2013. This year, there were 214.

 

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NYC recovers from another storm; more snow in forecast


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Victor G. Mimoni

Updated 6:50 p.m.

The borough was once again buried in almost a foot of snow after the sixth storm of the season struck the city Thursday, and even more flakes could fall this weekend.

Snowfall totals around Queens varied, but Bayside reported as much as 11.8 inches, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

For the second day in a row, residents faced a less-than-perfect morning commute with a hazardous travel advisory still in effect through Friday morning.

The MTA said service should be close to normal on subways, buses and Long Island Rail Road for the evening commute.

The situation for commuters Friday was much better than yesterday morning when heavy snow coated the roads.

Despite those dangerous conditions the city’s public schools were open Thursday.

Parents, students, teachers and even famed weatherman Al Roker blasted Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to keep the schools open.

De Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, however, defended the move.

“Based on our knowledge, we were convinced kids could get to schools this morning,” de Blasio said Thursday. “So many families depend on their schools as a place for their kids to be during the day.”

The total attendance at city schools was only 44.65 percent yesterday, according to a preliminary report from the Department of Education (DOE) released Thursday afternoon.

Public schools were again open Friday and all field trips, after-school programs and PSAL activities are operating normally, the DOE said.

“We understand that weather conditions may be challenging for families. As always, parents should exercise their own judgment with regard to their children. Safety is a top priority for the Department, and we make these decisions only after careful consideration. We want to thank parents, students, and educators for your cooperation during this very difficult winter,” Fariña said.

Alternate side parking regulations, and garbage and recycling pick-up are suspended through Saturday.

The Department of Sanitation will likely be spending the weekend clearing snow off the streets.

The city agency has issued a “snow alert” starting at 8 a.m. Saturday.

About 2 to 4 inches of snow could fall during the day tomorrow, starting in the early morning, according to NWS.

 

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EXCLUSIVE: No snow day forces Bayside HS kids to spend day in auditorium


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

MELISSA CHAN AND MAGGIE HAYES

A shortage of teachers at Bayside High School, after this year’s biggest snowstorm so far, forced students to spend the day in the gym and auditorium.

“We just wasted a whole day,” said senior Ibrahim A. “It’s pointless to be here when we’re not doing any work.”

After students reported to school Wednesday at 8 a.m., school officials found they didn’t have enough teachers to monitor all of the students, according to parents and students.

They were then told to call their parents to pick them right back up again.

“There had to be 35, 40 parents on line waiting to get their kids,” said Michele M. who grabbed her 15-year-old daughter around 11 a.m. “What was the point of opening up?”

Michele’s daughter and multiple students said at least 40 teachers were absent.

“More than half of my teachers didn’t even come, and more than half that did didn’t even get to teach,” said Jane, a freshman. “I just sat in the auditorium and watched Iron Man 2. I slept through most of it.”

Another freshman said he walked into school around noon and a dean told him to go home.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina made the call to keep schools open around 11:20 p.m. the night of the storm, Tuesday, Jan. 21.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who participated in the decision, said the National Weather Service “made clear that just as the snow had intensified earlier, it was slowing very noticeably around 10 p.m.”

“It was clear at that point we would have a much better situation by morning,” he said. “We knew we could do a good job overnight of clearing the streets.”

Despite de Blasio’s confidence, Ibrahim said there were barely any teachers and students at school the next day.

They were kept in the auditorium and “just walked out” before noon.

The Department of Education did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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Hercules: Aftermath of the storm


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Updated at 12:59 p.m.

Queens residents woke up to more than half a foot of snow Friday morning as they prepared to deal with the aftermath of the winter storm.

Snowfall in parts of the borough was reportedly as high as 11.5 inches.

Mayor Bill de Blasio updated the city at about 10:30 a.m. and urged residents to stay off the roadways and be aware of how “deceptively cold” the weather remains. Although the “snow has tapered,” wind conditions have stayed substantial.

There will be a high of 18 degrees on Friday, and a low of zero coming into Friday night, he said.

“This has been and remains a dangerous storm. It is going to be bitter cold today, and New Yorkers need to be extremely careful going outdoors,” de Blasio said. “The best things people can do are to stay off the roads so we can clear them as fast as possible, and to check in on elderly and vulnerable neighbors who might need help this morning.”

Nearly 2,500 plows are working through the 6,200 miles of roadways as of “early this morning,” de Blasio said. PlowNYC is activated for borough residents to track real-time progress of snow clearance. Residents are additionally asked not to shovel snow into the street, which could delay snow clearance.

Despite multiple accounts of drivers’ vehicles getting stuck in the snow, NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) Commissioner John Doherty said the agency was “able to keep the city moving no matter the situation.”

As the snow fell throughout Thursday night and early Friday morning, sanitation department members plowed “primary streets,” highways, multiple times to continue to remove snow brought back onto the roads by wind, Doherty said. They then addressed local roads and side streets.

Garbage and recycling pick-up has been suspended until snow removal is complete. All city hospitals and emergency rooms remain open, and additional ambulances have been added.

Alternate side parking regulations are suspended through Saturday and MTA subways are running with service changes. The LIRR is operating on its weekend schedule. Buses are “delayed but still moving,” and the Rockaway Ferry is not running.

John F. Kennedy International Airport closed Thursday night but Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ) officials are aiming to reopen at 9:30 a.m. Friday morning, although the FAA ultimately makes that decision, according to a Port Authority spokesperson.

Runways are continually being cleared of snow but the wind is working against them, pushing the wintery mix back to where it started.

At LaGuardia Airport, travelers formed long lines waiting to hear about their outgoing flights.

“This is just crazy. The only good thing is I rather be in here than out there in the cold,” said Jeff P., from Woodside who was traveling to Portland,Ore. for work. “I just hope I make my flight. I got here with four hours in advance.”

Catherine Hidalgo, 27, also made sure to leave her hotel a few hours in advance to make it back home to California.

“I just want to make it to my family safe,” said Hidalgo. “It is crazy waiting but I rather be safe than sorry.”

City schools are closed after newly-appointed Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña made the call Friday morning at about 4 a.m. After-school programs and PSAL are suspended and CUNY classes are canceled as well.

Major highways including the Long Island Expressway reopened at 8 a.m. but city officials continue to urge New Yorkers to stay out of the driver’s seat and off the roads.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Snow this morning will give way to some clearing this afternoon. High around 15. Winds NNW at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of snow 80%. About one inch of snow expected. Friday night: Clear skies. Low around 0. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph.

NYC public schools closed Friday

All New York City public schools are closed Friday due to Snowstorm Hercules, education officials announced. Read more: The Queens Courier

Hercules flexing his muscles in first storm of 2014

Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a statewide state of emergency Thursday afternoon to prepare officials for winter storm Hercules, which is forecasted to bring five to nine inches of snow to the city. Read more: The Queens Courier

For NYC schools head, a focus on middle school

The new leader of the nation’s biggest public school system started her job Thursday with storm clouds brewing — the clouds that had a new city administration weighing whether to call a snow day for 1.1 million students. Read more: NBC New York

New York Attorney General Schneiderman warns against price gouging

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman warned businesses Thursday against price gouging as Tri-State area residents stocked up on major supplies ahead of the first snowstorm of the new year. Read more: CBS New York/AP

NYPD union lawyers seek quicker stop-frisk appeal ruling

Forget about the new mayor having a grace period with the NYPD. Read more: New York Post 

De Blasio selects Carmen Farina as next schools chancellor


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter / @NYCTransition

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has named Carmen Farina, a veteran employee of the New York City public school system, as the next schools chancellor.

“We need someone who understands that the people who make the schools work and the parents who are the first and last educators of our children, that they must be treated like the stakeholders that they are,” de Blasio said at Monday’s announcement at Brooklyn’s William Alexander Middle School, the school his two children attended.

Calling Farina a “brilliant innovator” who “knows how to bring people together,” he said the selection was important not only because she is going to be the chancellor of the city school’s system, but because “she is also going to be the chancellor for my child,” referring to his son Dante, a  junior at Brooklyn Technical High School.

“This is such a privilege to be able to come back to a system that has so much work that has to done, but to doing it from stance of a progressive agenda,” Farina said.

Farina, 70, has more than four decades of experience working in the city’s school system, serving as a teacher at P.S. 29 in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, a principal at P.S. 6 on the Upper East Side, and a superintendent of Brooklyn’s District 15. She last worked for the Department of Education as a deputy chancellor before retiring in 2006.

Taking lessons from her own experiences as a student in the city’s school system, Farina promised to make parents real partners in their children’s education and prioritize college and career readiness.

Farina’s name had been floated around for weeks as one of the top contenders for the job, though she was initially hesitant to come out of retirement.

She will replace current Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who is stepping down Tuesday. He has held the position since April 2011.

De Blasio has promised departures from certain education policies of the Bloomberg administration. He proposed to charge rent to charter schools that use space in city school buildings, eliminate letter grades on school progress reports and reduce the focus on high-stake testing

Farina has been a longtime trusted friend and advisor to de Blasio, whom she met while he was a school board member in District 15. She shares his views on testing and will assist in his push for universal pre-k and expansion of after-school programs for middle schoolers.

Among challenges Farina will face as chancellor of the country’s largest public school system is a contract negotiation with the United Federation of Teachers.

 

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