Tag Archives: DOE

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Overcast with a chance of rain in the morning, then partly cloudy. Fog early. High of 54. Breezy. Winds from the NW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 30%. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 34F with a windchill as low as 27. Breezy. Winds from the NNW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Jillian Peña – The Guiding Light

The Guiding Light is a sci-fi religious ballet. It explores religiosity in the balletic body, the desire to believe in something, and the complex relationship of the individual within the group. This sci-fi religious ballet trio explores the uncanny through the multiplication and duplication of the dancers both metaphorically and actually. Starts at 8 p.m. at the Chocolate Factory in Long Island City. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens man Ahmed Ferhani pleads guilty to plotting to blow up a string of Manhattan synagogues

A Queens man admitted Tuesday he wanted to “create chaos” by plotting to blow up a string of Manhattan synagogues — giving Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance the first state-level terror conviction under laws passed after the 9/11 attacks. Read more: New York Daily News

Teachers’ union joins chorus of concern about formerly flooded Queens school

The teachers’ union has joined parents in raising concerns about the safety of a Queens school flooded by Sandy. Read more: NY1

Police: Man implicates himself in deadly midtown subway push

Police said Tuesday night that a suspect implicated himself in a shocking subway pushing incident in Manhattan a day earlier that cost a man his life. Read more: CBS New York

New Far Rockaway playground hit by vandal and then again by Superstorm Sandy

This little playground in Far Rockaway has had a tough first year. Before it was even open to the public, the much-needed play space near Beach 29th St. was ravaged by a heartless vandal in March. The city rebuilt it only to see it battered by Superstorm Sandy months later. Read more: New York Daily News

New York City hits Sandy victims with ‘failure to maintain’ property citation

Residents in one Queens neighborhood are crying foul after they were written up for failing to clean up the city’s own mess. It is yet another new complication in life after Superstorm Sandy. Read more: CBS New York

Fiscal cliff offers hint at more defense cuts

House Republicans’ “fiscal cliff” counteroffer to President Barack Obama hints at billions of dollars in military cuts on top of the nearly $500 billion that the White House and Congress backed last year, and even the fiercest defense hawks acknowledge that the Pentagon faces another financial hit. Read more: AP

30 NYC schools looted after Sandy


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of schools.nyc.gov

In addition to homes and businesses, 30 schools have reported looting in some of the most Sandy-damaged areas, the New York City Department of Education told NY1.

Looters took $100,000 worth of equipment from Scholars’ Academy in Rockaway Beach. According to NY1, the stolen goods included approximately 90 iPads, six to 10 iMacs and two automated external defibrillators.

Scholars’ Academy is still closed because of storm-related damage, and a recovery and relief fund has been set up to help the institution.

At other schools thieves have taken cameras, calculators and a projector.

The lifted goods are reportedly not covered by insurance.

The NYPD recently reported that most of the 226 Sandy-related arrests were burglaries, and has assigned extra police on extended tours of duty to the Rockaways, Breezy Point, Coney Island and Staten Island. Authorities also brought in light towers, police cars and helicopters to help illuminate those areas.

 

Three Queens high schools face closure


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Steve Mosco

Three low-performing Queens high schools find themselves on the chopping block, including one school that was voted to close last year.

Twenty-four struggling schools are currently being considered for closure by the Department of Education (DOE) after poor performances and low grades on city progress reports. Borough institutions Business, Computer Applications & Entrepreneurship High School, Law, Government and Community Service High School and Flushing High School, which narrowly avoided closing last year, were included on the shortlist.

Earlier this year the city released a list of 36 elementary and middle schools that also face closure.

“These are difficult but important conversations to have to ensure that we are holding our schools to the highest of standards,” said Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg.

This is the second time in the past year Flushing faces the ax. In April, the Panel for Educational Policy voted to close 24 schools – seven in Queens – through a process called turnaround. The closures were later overruled when the United Federation of Teachers won a court challenge saving Flushing and the 23 other schools.

The current list of two dozen high schools may be whittled down as the DOE continues their evaluations.

“We’ll take the feedback that we receive from the school and community into consideration as we explore options to improve performance and support student success, and we will continue to work with all of our schools to ensure that students have access to high quality options,” Sternberg said.

Inclusion on this year’s list was based on past performance, quality reviews and progress reports, which the DOE released Monday.

Overall, Queens schools fared better on the reports this year earning nine more A’s and B’s than last year. No schools received an F and only five received D’s, including the three schools that may be forced to close their doors.

Grades on the sixth annual progress reports were based on standardized test performance, students attendance, progress toward graduation and parent, teacher and student surveys.

“By measuring how well our schools prepare students for college and careers, the Progress Reports shine a light on the importance of increased rigor as a bridge to future success,” said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

 

*Schools without grades are closing or did not have enough data to receive them.

 

Students affected by Sandy can now takes classes online


| brennison@queenscourier.com

With several schools still closed scattering students throughout the city, the Department of Education announced a plan permitting kids to go to school without leaving home.

Enrollment for online courses opened yesterday allowing students displaced from their homes or forced to travel to a new school after Sandy to return to class. Core subjects and electives will be offered for students in grades six through 12.

Though 96 percent of school buildings have reopened since the storm, many students still face difficulties returning to class.

“Some of our families have not been able to return to their homes, and the impact on students demands more resources to ensure they get the education they need. These online courses will help keep our students on track for their academic success,” said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

Those without internet in their homes can visit a local library for access to the online classes.

Teachers experienced in online learning will teach the courses, the DOE said, which will be an extension of the department’s iZone program.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy in the morning, then overcast. High of 50. Winds from the NE at 5 to 10 mph. Tuesday night: Overcast. Low of 41. Winds from the NE at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY:  KT Magumbo 

Come to Resorts World Casino for the the bluesy pop rock sounds of KT Magumbo. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

DOE announces Sandy school makeup days

After missing a full week of school because of Superstorm Sandy, the city’s public school students will make up those days from February 20-22 and on June 4, the Department of Education (DOE), announced Monday evening. Read more: Queens Courier

Most Hurricane Sandy looting cases tossed out

At least half the post-Sandy looting busts have been tossed out, despite much grandstanding on the part of Brooklyn and Queens DAs, the Daily News has learned. Read more: New York Daily News

Belle Harbor family brought together after being devastated by Sandy

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, we keep hearing the refrain, “We’re all in this together.” Read more: CBS New York 

Mayor: Owners of Sandy-damaged homes to have a say in demolition process

One home in the Belle Harbor section of Queens looked like it was hanging on by a thread Monday. Others nearby were missing walls and one seemed to be sinking into the sand. Read more: NY1

Man busted at La Guardia after making threats to fellow passenger

A Spirit Airlines passenger was hauled into police custody at LaGuardia Airport in Queens today after making threatening comments to a fellow passenger as their plane was about to take off for Florida, authorities said. Read more: New York Post

FBI now involved in search for Brooklyn serial killer

The FBI is now involved in the search for a serial killer targeting Middle Eastern shopkeepers in Brooklyn. In all, three men have been killed, and investigators say their deaths are linked. Read more: ABC New York

Clinton to visit Middle East in move to defuse Gaza conflict

President Obama sent Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Middle East on Tuesday to try to defuse the conflict in Gaza, the White House announced. Read more: New York Times

 

DOE announces Sandy school makeup days


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

After missing a full week of school because of Superstorm Sandy, the city’s public school students will make up those days from February 20-22 and on June 4, the Department of Education (DOE), announced Monday evening.

The first three dates were taken from the five days schools students normally have off for Mid-Winter Recess, and the June date was a scheduled half-day that will now be a full day of classes

“We are pleased that the city, the CSA [Council of School Supervisors and Administrators] and the UFT [United Federation of Teachers] reached an agreement on making up school days lost as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Teachers, principals and the school community made an extraordinary effort to get our schools back online after the storm, and by working together, we were able to open most schools with minimal disruption. It is just as important that we recover the time lost, and this agreement will provide students with additional class instruction,” a statement released from the DOE, CAS and UFT said.

 

Sandy leaves students, parents scrambling


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY ALEXA ALTMAN AND MAGGIE HAYES

Kids may have received an unscheduled week-long vacation from school after Sandy, but they returned to a system turned upside down.

Roughly 79 schools across Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island suffered structural damage, 13 lost power and nearly 70 boilers required repairs.

Students from 43 damaged schools citywide were relocated, some further from home than parents would have preferred.

P.S. 146 PTA President Terri Fonal was still without a temporary facility for her two children, third grader Kasey and sixth grader Matthew, a week-and-a-half after the storm hit and damaged their Howard Beach school. Late on the night of Wednesday, November 7, Fonal received a call from the Department of Education (DOE), alerting her that her children could attend classes at Spring Creek Educational Campus in Brooklyn the following day. Fonal said it was a lack of information that caused parents to panic.

“That’s why a lot of parents were so up in arms because [the DOE was] telling us one thing and doing something else,” said Fonal. “From the beginning we were told they were [trying] to fix the school but there was a possibility they may be relocated. There were a lot of parents who didn’t know what was happening.”

According to Fonal, only 90 kids attended class at their temporary school at Spring Creek Educational Campus on Thursday, a significantly steep decline from their typical student body of about 600. She decided against sending her kids to school, saying the storm caused too much confusion already.

Published reports show 200,000 students citywide were absent that same Thursday.

Of the 8,000-bus fleet serving the New York City school system, 700 were out of service in the week after the storm, affecting students’ commutes to school. Last week, the DOE began distributing MetroCards to displaced students and their parents to smooth their journey to their new location.

“We will continue to work hard to make sure schools are back online and get kids back to their home schools,” said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott at a meeting to brief faculty and parents about changes due to Sandy at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Long Island City.

Some schools acted as shelters for Sandy victims, including Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, which had over 100 refugees staying on campus full time as of last week. Some of these shelters had sanitary and hygiene problems. Brooklyn’s John Jay High School was plagued by a brief bout of stomach virus that was quickly eliminated. The school has since undergone a thorough cleansing and been signed off on by the Department of Health (DOHMH).

To help get damaged schools back to normal, the City Council approved a $200 million grant to city schools. P.S. 207 in Howard Beach — one of 23 school buildings housing 37 schools closed for repairs – requires new oil tanks and electrical wiring.

After missing two weeks of classes, P.S. 146 students were eager to return to their home school.

“The kids were very excited to go back,” said Fonal. “They missed their friends, they missed their teachers. They needed to go back to the routine.”

The DOE is undecided as to how students will make up days missed due to the storm.

City to shell out $500 million to repair schools, hospitals damaged by Sandy


| brennison@queenscourier.com

To hasten the process of restoring city schools and hospitals to pre-Sandy conditions, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a $500 million emergency plan to repair buildings damaged during the storm.

The New York City Health and Hospital Corporation will receive $300 million while $200 million will be appropriated to the Department of Education.

More than $130 million has already been approved for emergency spending in disaster relief.

The announcement was made at P.S. 207 in Howard Beach, one of 23 school buildings that remain closed after Sandy.

“These school buildings and public hospitals are resources that hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers rely on every day — and we are not waiting for federal aid to begin the work of repairing and re-opening them. This emergency capital spending is vital investment in our recovery and future,” Bloomberg said.

Comptroller John Liu said the city’s finances can withstand the payment, but that he will work to recover the funds from FEMA.

The city council will vote on the plan tomorrow.

 

Weekend Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The Afternoon Roundup

No bail for accused ‘cannibal cop’

Alleged “cannibal cop” Gilberto Valle will have to stew behind bars a while longer after a federal judge denied his request to get out on bail. Valle — who the feds say had been cooking up a plan to kidnap, rape, torture and eat as many as 100 women — was not in court, but the lawyer for one of his alleged victims was. Read more: NY Post

David Petraeus resigns as CIA director, admits extramarital affair; reports point to his biographer being the other woman

David Petraeus has given new meaning to the term “being embedded” in Afghanistan. In a stunning turn from hero to heel, the CIA director trashed his storied career by having a top-secret affair with his biographer. Paula Broadwell — who has called Petraeus “a very high-energy person” who is “relentless in everything he does” was outed Friday by Slate.com as the disgraced general’s other woman. Read more: Daily News

DOE: Some relocated schools to open in regular buildings Tuesday

Several schools forced to be relocated by Sandy are expected to reopen in their regular buildings Tuesday, according to the New York City Department of Education. Read more: NY1

Hurricane Sandy recovery workers save restaurant employees from burning fire

Three employees at an East Side restaurant were burned — one badly — Friday after a worker spilled gasoline in the kitchen and it ignited, fire officials and witnesses said. A chef, busboy and waitress were all injured about 10 p.m. at Eno restaurant on First Ave. at E. 58th St. Witnesses said the workers’ arms caught fire, as did their clothing. Read more: Daily News

‘Boozed-up’ Brooklyn ADA busted after Brooklyn Bridge attack: sources

An allegedly boozed-up Brooklyn assistant district attorney was arrested after he attacked an EMS worker early this morning on the Brooklyn Bridge, police sources said. EMS spotted Michael Jaccarino, 30, walking across the bridge intoxicated shortly before 1 a.m. and tried to bring him to Beth Israel Hospital, sources said. Read more: NY Post

Aqueduct racino rakes in dough despite Superstorm Sandy’s wrath

The Aqueduct racino’s earning power appears to be hurricane proof. The gambling hub operated by Resorts World Casino New York City raked in more than $8 million during the week that the city was under siege from Superstorm Sandy, according to recent State Lottery figures. Read more: Daily News

 

Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Today’s Weather

Friday: Sunny, with a high near 54. Northwest wind 13 to 16 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 43. Northwest wind 7 to 10 mph.

Event of the Day: William Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale”

E Phoenix Idealis Theater, Inc. delivers this classic story for a modern audience. Directed by Rachel Alt and Ben Fabrizi, it opens November 9 for a limited run at the Poppenhusen Institute in College Point. Find our more or view more events

Gas rationing begins today in NYC

More than a week into the gas shortage, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced an emergency order rationing gas to begin Friday morning at 6. Cars with license plates ending in odd numbers or a letter will be able to purchase gas on odd numbered days; vehicles with plates ending in even numbers can purchase on even numbered days. Read more: Queens Courier

Housing Authority scrambling to restore power to 11 developments in Queens and Brooklyn by this weekend

The Housing Authority is scrambling to restore power by this weekend to 11 developments in Queens and Brooklyn that went dark more than a week ago. It doesn’t look promising. NYCHA Chairman John Rhea on Wednesday said he hoped to accomplish this, but a day later Mayor Bloomberg was saying, “I’m not sure we can make it.” Read more: Daily News

Residents displaced by Sandy are staring at life in Staten Island ‘jail’

The state is eyeing the recently shuttered Arthur Kill Correctional Facility on Staten Island as a temporary home for people displaced by the ravages of Sandy and this week’s nasty nor’easter, officials said yesterday. Closed last December, the medium-security prison could feed and sleep as many as 900 people with nowhere else to go. Read more: NY Post

Students in displaced schools can now attend nearest school they can get to

On Thursday, for the first time since Oct. 26, every New York City public school was open. But nearly 200,000 students were still out, like a Coney Island third grader whose school building was damaged and relocated miles away in Bensonhurst. His elderly grandmother couldn’t get him to the new site. Read more: NY1

Personal items battered by Sandy litter temp landfill in Jacob Riis Park

Baby toys, photo albums, broken china—these are just some precious items that can be found in fast rising heaps of waste at a temporary landfill in Jacob Riis Park. Debris from storm battered Far Rockaway has been piling up at the park’s parking lot –by thousands of tons a day—thanks to sanitation workers who have been clearing thrash and sand-clogged streets. Read more: NY Post

Iran fires at U.S. drone over Persian Gulf, but misses: Pentagon

Iranian attack aircraft fired multiple rounds at an unarmed U.S. drone in international airspace over the Persian Gulf last week, the Pentagon revealed Thursday. The rounds missed. But the incident — the first known attempt by Iranian warplanes to take out a U.S. drone — added intrigue to the extremely tense relationship between between America and Iran. Read more: Daily News

65 Queens schools to remain closed Monday


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

While a majority of city students will return to school after a week off due to Hurricane Sandy, some buildings sustained significant damage in the storm and are still not ready to hold classes.

Forty-six Queens schools will remain closed on Monday and will not reopen until Wednesday, November 7; 19 others will be relocated to a temporary location beginning Wednesday.

Robo-calls have already been going out to parents letting them know of the changes.  Principals and parent coordinators have also reached out to parents.

Some of the relocated schools will be split among several temporary sites.

Click here to see which schools remain closed or will be relocated.

The Department of Education is working on providing busing for students heading to the relocated schools.

Schools with power but without heat will open on Monday.

“Some of the buildings may not have heat, some of the school buildings, and they’ve been without heat for a while, so please dress your children with that in mind. If the schools were dangerously cold we obviously wouldn’t open them, but if they’re chilly, extra sweaters for the kids is something that should make some sense,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

 

 

City schools closed Monday, possibly Tuesday


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

With the city’s transportation shutting down tonight, the mayor also announced the closure of schools on Monday.

Heavy rains and strong winds have also forced evacuations of low-lying areas throughout the five boroughs.

“Due to anticipated inclement weather conditions from Hurricane Sandy, all New York City public schools will be closed to students tomorrow, October 29. Administrative offices will be open. All after-school activities and Public Schools Athletic League events will also be cancelled. We are asking that school staff and employees assigned to a shelter site to report to their posts,” said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

A decision has yet to be made regarding school openings on Tuesday, though the mayor said he hopes that children will be able to return by then.

 

 

Parents fume over dwindling gifted and talented program


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Expanding demand and dwindling supply of middle school gifted and talented seats in Long Island City have parents fuming over the possibility of their children getting dropped from the program.

Kids from P.S. 122 and P.S. 150 were previously promised seats through 8th grade, filtering into the middle school program at P.S. 122. In line with new gifted and talented programs across the city, the proposal for District 30 aims to increase the number of seats in the district by forcing students to retest after elementary school to determine if they should remain in the accelerated class.

“It’s not fair to just tell parents ‘OK well you’re going to have to retest in 5th grade and make all these kids compete with one another,’” said Isaac Carmignani, co-president of Community District Education Council 30. “That wasn’t what they were promised.”

According to a spokesperson from the Department of Education (DOE), the switch is to create a more equitable admissions process by allowing students who may not have performed well on the kindergarten exam to have a second chance in fifth grade.

The spokesperson said the number of gifted and talented students in District 30 is relatively small compared to other districts.

School District 30 currently has approximately 120 seats per grade for gifted and talented students. The new program, according to the DOE, will add 60 new seats.

“As with any competitive admissions process, the highest scoring students would have priority for placement in these programs,” said the DOE spokesperson. “Students would be placed in descending order based on the admissions criteria established for the program.”

Carmignani said parents fear that if their kids are removed from a gifted and talented program, they won’t be admitted into a top city high school and possibly a stellar college.

Melissa Lee, the parent of a kindergartner and a first grader in P.S. 166’s gifted and talented program, believes the DOE needs to provide a seat for every eligible student, regardless of when they apply for the program. Lee added that 40 percent of the gifted and talented students in the district are from ethnic minorities, something the city agency should give high importance to giving the recent reports illustrating that enrollment for minority students at top high schools is incredibly low.

“If the DOE is really trying to recruit more of these kids, why not nurture it now?” said Lee.

Weekend Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Quinn leads crowded field for 2013 mayoral nod

Council Speaker Christine Quinn remained at the head of the field in the 2013 mayoral race, though her once wide margin has shrunk. NY1-Marist Poll released a poll surveying registered city voters on next year’s race for mayor with Quinn coming out on top with the support of 23 percent of Democrats. Read more: Queens Courier

Witness has two versions of NYPD detective’s fatal shooting of unarmed National Guardsman

A key witness in the fatal police shooting of an unarmed National Guardsman told cops that she took her eyes off the victim’s hands just before the gunfire erupted, the Daily News has learned. Witness Diane DeFerrari’s statement, contained in an Oct. 4 police report, contradicts her later assertions that Noel Polanco had both hands on the wheel when he was shot on the Grand Central Parkway. Read more: Daily News

Queens principal forced to retire over offensive remarks

A Queens high-school principal made a host of discriminatory remarks against Jews, blacks and gays — as well as off-color quips about sex and sexual favors among co-workers, city investigators found. Nancy Casella was forced to retire from Information Technology HS in Long Island City this month after the jarring comments were confirmed by the city Department of Education. Read more: NY Post

1 dead in head-on crash in Queens

An investigation is underway after one person was killed in a crash in Queens. It happened Friday night at 48th Street and Laurel Hill Boulevard in the Sunnyside section. Two cars collided head-on. Read more: ABC

Mexico cops hunt Orlando Orea, suspect in Union Square soccer coach Mike Jones slaying

The hunt for the fugitive who escaped to Mexico after the stabbing death of soccer coach Mike Jones has begun in earnest after the NYPD won cooperation from authorities there. Interpol has flagged the suspect, Orlando Orea, meaning if he attempts to flee to a third country he will be stopped, said Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the NYPD’s top spokesman. Read more: Daily News

Queens beauty school sued by attorney general

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has sued a Queens beauty school, claiming it convinced hundreds of students to pay course fees but failed to train them as nail specialists. The suit, filed this week, names Tinny Beauty Inc. and two of its officers, saying it used ads in Chinese-language newspapers and word-of-mouth to find and mislead students about obtaining nail specialty licenses. Read more: ABC

7-inch iPad tablet to hit stores on Nov. 2

The long-rumored downsized clone of Apple’s iPad tablet is set to hit stores on Nov. 2, according to technology blog TechCruch. Apple is hosting an event in San Jose on Tuesday, and while the company hasn’t released details, it’s widely expected to unveil a 7-inch tablet that’s being called the iPad Mini. Read more: Daily News

Still time — and space — for Universal Prekindergarten


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

Parents looking to enroll their tiny tots in a free education program have until the end of the month to do so.

Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) programs throughout the five boroughs still have several thousand seats left to be filled, according to city leaders.

The program, hosted by a select group of local public schools and community-based organizations, offers at least two-and-a-half hours of educational services at no cost to city kids born in 2008. Eligible early childhood providers have until October 31 to submit applications to the State Education Department.

“It is never too early to think about college and career readiness,” said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, “and high-quality prekindergarten options set our children on that path.”

According to the city’s Department of Education, third grade students who had attended UPK were 28 percent more likely to score proficiently on the state’s English exam, and 54 percent more likely to make the grade on the state’s math exam, compared to peers who did not attend pre-k.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn also touted the program’s success, saying toddlers who receive early education are more likely to graduate from high school and less likely to drop out or repeat a grade.

“The most powerful thing we can do, as a city, to show our commitment to our children’s and the city’s future is make sure that every child who is eligible to attend universal pre-kindergarten programs enrolls,” she said.

The Flushing YMCA is among the scores of organizations that still have program vacancies. Officials say there are currently 12 spots open.

To find a UPK program that may still have availability for the 2012-2013 school year, call 3-1-1 or visit schools.nyc.gov/prek.