Tag Archives: Flushing High School

Benjamin Cardozo wrestler takes first place in citywide tournament


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYC & Company/ Julienne Schaer

When Benjamin Cardozo High School wrestler Adam Gomez gets on the mat, it’s all business.

Gomez enters his own zone, where he focuses only on defeating his opponent for the entirety of the match.

“As we wrestle I don’t pay attention at all to anybody else besides who I’m wrestling and that’s about it,” Gomez, a junior, said.

At the annual NYC Wrestling Mayor’s Cup tournament on Sunday, Gomez was fully locked on to his opponents, as he topped his competition to win the crown in the 106-pound division.

Gomez, who entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed, defeated the No. 1 seed John Luke DeStefano of Poly Prep High School in the finals. After wrestling all three rounds with DeStefano, Gomez won the decision with a 4-1 point advantage.

“I’m impressed. He had a really tough opponent in the finals,” said Cardozo wrestling head coach Chris Milani. “It was a great match.”

About 10 schools from Queens were represented at the annual NYC Mayor’s Cup championship at Columbia University. Besides Cardozo, Long Island City, Flushing, Grover Cleveland, Information Tech, William C. Bryant, Springfield Gardens, Hillcrest, Martin Luther School and Lexington School for the Deaf all sent representatives to the mats.

The tournament featured the city’s top 16 wrestlers from the public, Catholic and private schools, in 15 different weight classes.

While Gomez was the only wrestler from Queens to have a first-place finish in their weight category, many of the other athletes enjoyed the experience of competing with top wrestlers from other leagues.

“It’s a big tournament. It’s good to [oppose] people that you don’t usually,” said wrestler Thomas McLoughlin of the Martin Luther School. “You wrestle them all the same. You go out there and you wrestle your game. You don’t wrestle to theirs.”

 

Queens wrestlers results 

  • 99 pound category, Randy Cazales of Flushing High School finished in third place.
  • 106 pound category, Oscar Estudillo of Long Island City High School finished in fifth place.
  • 113 pound category, Abdul Rabbani of Grover Cleveland High School finished in seventh place.
  • 138 pound category, Thomas McLoughlin of Martin Luther School finished in third place.
  • 152 pound category, Shaquille Jones of Hillcrest High School came in fourth place.
  • 160 pound category, Troy Walters of Flushing High School finished fifth place.
  • 170 pound category, Alex Ortiz of Martin Luther School finished in sixth place.
  • 182 pound category, Gabriel Ortega of Grover Cleveland High School finished in fourth place.
  • 195 pound category, Nnamdi Uchendu of Springfield Gardens High School finished in third place.
  • 220 pound category, John Pierre-Louis of Springfield Gardens Hill School finished in third place.
  • 285 pound category, Daniel Pottinger of Benjamin Cardozo High School finished in sixth place.

 

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Majority of Queens schools score well on progress reports


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


The majority of Queens schools scored high on the Department of Education’s (DOE) recently released progress reports.

Out of the 62 Queens high schools that were issued 2012-2013 progress reports, 31 earned As, 16 Bs, 6 Cs, 5 Ds and 4 Fs.

The highest scoring institution was Long Island City’s Academy for Careers in Television and Film, which just moved into a new building at the beginning of this school year. It received an overall score of 100.9.

Flushing High School, Pan American International High School in Elmhurst, Frederick Douglass Academy VI High School in Far Rockaway and August Martin High School in Jamaica earned overall failing grades.

Progress reports were issued for 239 Queens elementary and middle schools. Fifty-eight of them earned As, 97 Bs, 74 Cs, nine Ds and only one, Springfield Gardens’ Community Voices Middle School, failed.

Waterside School for Leadership in Rockaway was the highest ranking Queens middle school, with an overall score of 90.3, and P.S. 203 Oakland Gardens was the top-rated elementary school in the borough, with an overall score of 86.5.

Across the city, the DOE found public school performance “remained consistent, with 87 percent of schools maintaining their grade or moving one grade compared to last year.”

The reports are based on students’ progress, performance, attendance and surveys of parents, students and teachers. High school progress reports also measure college and career readiness.

According to the DOE, more students are graduating from high school ready for college and careers.

The reports found that the four-year college readiness rate is up nearly 3 points since last year.

“The most important job of our schools is ensuring students are on track to succeed in college and their careers,” said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott. “These results are further evidence that the hard work of our teachers and principals is paying off.”

This year’s school progress reports were the last ones issued during Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s tenure.

They could see some changes when they are issued under the Bill de Blasio administration.

“While Mayor-elect de Blasio supports making overall school progress reports available to parents, he would eliminate letter grades of schools which offer little real insight to parents and are not a reliable indicator of how schools are actually performing,” his spokesperson Lis Smith said.

To find a specific school’s progress report, visit http://schools.nyc.gov/ProgressReport.

 

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Flushing High School hoops star scores 1,000th career point


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A Flushing High School hoops star has netted her 1,000th point.

Erica Redwood, 17, a senior on the school’s varsity girls basketball team, hit the milestone bucket during her last high school home game this January. She is the second in the school to reach the lofty mark since 2006.

“That was my biggest accomplishment this year,” said Redwood, of Jamaica. “I was surprised I did it. I didn’t even know until my coach called time out and told me.”

The point guard and co-captain for the Lady Red Devils said she set her mind to reach the goal at the end of last year, when she was told she was only 200 points away from joining the elite group of city student athletes to reach that target.

“You have to put in the work every game, but you try not to think about it. You just try to score,” Redwood said. “I was like, ‘Finally!’ It was a lot of relief.”

The team’s top scorer could have banked double the amount of points by now, her head coach Carla Nasso said. But Redwood constantly looks to pass the ball instead of taking shots.

“Erica has worked hard her whole career here,” Nasso said. “Every year, she has gotten better and better. To watch her play is just a pleasure. She always gives 125 percent on the court.”

Redwood also maintained a 90 average this year while carrying her team to the third round of the playoffs. Her total amount of accomplishments, Nasso said, is very rare for a high school athlete.

“It’s a difficult feat to accomplish. There are very, very few athletes that do it throughout the city,” the coach said.

The high flyer said she plans to take her talent to a Division II school, focusing on her sports management major, before playing in bigger leagues.

“This is mind-blowing,” Redwood said. “I didn’t think it was possible.”

 

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Parents, teachers, students fight to keep new schools out of Flushing HS


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Parents, teachers and students at an embattled Flushing school are fighting to keep the city out of their space.

Scores of supporters gathered at Flushing High School to have their voices heard by the Department of Education (DOE) during an agency-hosted public hearing on February 28.

The city plans to add a small district high school and a Chinese bilingual school inside the storied institution. The two new schools would share the building — including the gym, cafeteria and auditorium — with Flushing High School students.

“Our goal is to create a system of great schools that prepare all students for college,” said DOE spokesperson Devon Puglia. “Designed to meet the needs of individual communities, our new, small schools have delivered resounding results.”

Math teacher Jessica Dimech said the proposal was just another blow to the struggling school after the city unsuccessfully tried closing it less than a year ago.

“You gave us another six months with a stacked deck [and] cut our funding,” said Dimech, also a member of the school’s leadership team. “The DOE time and time again pulls the carpet from underneath us. Please just let me do my job.”

The Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) is largely expected to vote in favor of the proposal on March 11, sources said. The panel supported the city’s attempt to shutter dozens of city schools last April before a court order reversed the approval.

But the Queens representative on the panel, Dmytro Fedkowskyj, said he would vote against the plans.
“Enough is enough. Flushing High School doesn’t want to be part of a chance experiment,” he said.

According to Juan Mendez, superintendent of Queens high schools, the change would decrease enrollment by 850 students at the crowded school. Flushing would take in fewer incoming freshman under the plan.

There is also a proposal to place an international school, serving English language learners, inside Newtown High School in Elmhurst. The new institution would prepare recently arrived immigrant students for college.

Newtown improved from a “C” to a “B” on its last DOE progress report. Flushing received a “D” in the last two years, recently failing both student progress and performance.

Flushing High freshman Stephanie Kouboulas vouched for “the best teachers” at the school as she broke down in tears.

“You want us just to fade out into the dust and never be here,” said Kouboulas, 14. “Flushing High School has been here a long time. It shouldn’t go anywhere.”

 

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Queens students bridge the generation gap using makeovers


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of GlamourGals and by William Mebane

Using makeup and nail polish, hundreds of Queens teens are bridging the gap between two generations.

Nearly 185 high school students in the borough have joined in a nonprofit’s cause to provide friendship and free makeovers to women living in senior homes.

The after-school leadership program, GlamourGals Foundation, Inc., has spread to 83 chapters in the country, including seven high schools in Queens.

“We’re bringing together two fragile populations,” said Kavita Mehra, vice president of GlamourGals. “Our volunteers come back to us and constantly share what they’ve learned from the seniors and their experiences.

We’re building compassionate, young leaders who are making a positive difference in their community.”

The teens visit local nursing homes and senior centers at least once a month for community service credit, Mehra said. They give hand massages, file down and paint nails, and apply foundation, blush and lipstick using clean, hypoallergenic materials supplied by the organization.

“What young woman doesn’t love nail polish and what older woman doesn’t love to be pampered? It’s a great way to start a conversation,” Mehra said. “It’s something about the human touch that can break immediate barriers.”

Eghosa Asemota, 19, a former Queens chapter president, said the program transformed her life after a traumatic car accident left a scar on her face.

“Before I joined GlamourGals, I was a quiet girl. I walked with my head down,” said the Ozone Park resident. “The more I visited nursing homes, the bolder I got. I was able to build that confidence again.”

Asemota, now a sophomore at Adelphi University, led the chapter at Thomas A. Edison High School, which boasts nearly 100 volunteers, in her senior year. The seniors, she said, became her own family.

“My grandparents live in Nigeria. I don’t necessarily get to speak with them a lot. Having these elderly women filled the void of a special grandmother,” she said. “I was able to give them a purpose, and they gave me a purpose.”

GlamourGals was established 13 years ago. Since then, its programs have spread to the Academy of American Studies, Thomas A. Edison, Townsend Harris, Robert F. Kennedy, Forest Hills, Flushing, and Cardozo high schools in Queens.

The organization also awards a select group of volunteers yearly with $1,000 scholarships and paid fellowships.

“We help them develop their fullest potential, and for the elderly, we demonstrate that they are not forgotten,” Mehra said.

 

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City plans to put new schools inside Flushing, Newtown high schools


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

Students in two overcrowded Queens schools could soon learn a lesson in sharing.

The city plans to place two new schools inside a scaled-down Flushing High School and an international school in Newtown High School, education officials said.

The existing Flushing High School building would house a small district high school and another Chinese bilingual school. A school to serve English language learners, preparing recently arrived immigrant students for college, would be added to Newtown in Elmhurst.

“Our goal is to create a system of great schools that prepare all students for college,” said Devon Puglia, spokesperson for the Department of Education (DOE). “Designed to meet the needs of individual communities, our new, small schools have delivered resounding results.”

Enrollment is expected to fall in both congested schools by 2016, education officials said, as fewer incoming ninth graders are taken in. Under the plan, Flushing High School students will drop from 3,000 to 2,150 and Newtown High School will see a decline from 2,250 to 1,910.

The proposals will not affect current students, according to the DOE, but State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said the struggling schools need time to improve. The change could also reduce the amount of financial aid each institution receives, she said.

“In this case, more is not better,” Stavisky said. “I think Flushing High School desperately needs the proper resources. Reducing the enrollment is not going to help because then fewer resources will be available.”

The senator said the schools would get 13 percent less “Fair Student Funding” from the city.

“Money isn’t everything, but the absence of money hurts,” she said. “They have to be given the opportunity to succeed.”
Flushing and Newtown were among seven high schools in Queens the city tried to close last year before the attempts were blocked by a court order.

The Panel for Educational Policy will vote on the proposals on March 11. Panel members supported the city’s plans to shutter the schools last April.

Newtown improved from a “C” to a “B” on its last DOE progress report. Flushing received a “D” in the last two years, recently failing both student progress and performance.

 

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Queens schools may be phased out


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

File photo

For months, the Department of Education (DOE) had been evaluating city schools’ progress reports, noting those that were in danger of closing. The process is continuing, and now several Queens schools could possibly be phased out.

This process, which eliminates one grade at a time from the troubled schools, will be finalized after a vote this coming March. Public School 140 in Jamaica; Law, Government and Community Service High School in Jamaica; and the Business, Computer Applications & Entrepreneurship High School in St. Albans are all on the chopping block. P.S. 156 in Laurelton faces a possible truncation, which will eliminate its middle school.

“We expect success,” said DOE Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg. “Ultimately, we know we can better serve our students and families with new options and a new start.”

However, the community is not taking the news lying down.

“I will continue to press the administration to keep these schools open,” said Councilmember Leroy Comrie. “Many people at these schools work extremely hard to give their students the best education possible, but the city makes their jobs much harder by not allocating the proper resources and ignoring community input.”

Sternberg countered this claim, saying that the DOE has listened to the community and provided support services to the low-performing schools based on their needs, but it is time to take action.

However, Comrie said the city standards used to measure schools are “confusing, arbitrary, and hindering, rather than helping, to improve the education system.”

The Law, Government and Community Service High School in particular was one school with a good reputation, and according to Comrie, was asked by the DOE to take in more students. However, while they took in the additional students, they were not given the extra resources needed to accommodate them.

Citywide, 22 schools are facing phase-outs, two are looking at possible closure, and two more could be truncated.

Previously, J.H.S. 008, I.S. 059 and Flushing High School faced closure, but have since passed the DOE standards and will remain open.

“We expect every school to deliver for our students, and are working hard to offer families more high performing choices,” said Sternberg.
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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.

 

AT&T and Schools Chancellor present $300,000 grant to Flushing HS


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation

Ninth graders at an embattled Flushing High School have been given a $300,000 leg up.

The Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation (SASF), an after-school program at the struggling school, received the hefty grant from AT&T and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott on Wednesday, September 19.

With the donated funds, 100 incoming ninth graders will receive one-on-one counseling and college and career readiness this year, officials said. The funding also means a new program coordinator can jump on board.

“It is critical that our students receive support to help prepare them for college and a career,” Walcott said. “I want to thank AT&T and the [SASF] for investing in our students and creating programs that help them succeed. This partnership is an example of how we must continue to work together to close the opportunity gap for our students.”

SASF seeks to increase four-year high school completion and graduation rates, while narrowing the achievement gap, by providing students with access to high quality educational and enrichment services including sports and arts before and after school hours, officials said.

AT&T announced its $250 million financial commitment to nationwide schools for the next five years in March. SASF joins the YMCA of Greater New York to become the second New York City non-profit to be awarded the company’s grant this year.

“This grant provides major academic assistance during the after school hours for the students of Flushing High School,” said SASF President Jim O’Neill.

Flushing High School was slated to close and reopen as a new school after it was one of eight high schools in Queens identified as struggling by the state. It received a “D” on its most recent progress report, with an “F” in student performance, according to the city’s Department of Education, and was part of a federal improvement program because of low test scores and graduation rates.

 

Students at saved Turnaround schools reflect on first day of classes


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

The first bell of the school year rang yesterday for a number of Queens high schools that were planned to lay dormant this year.

Seven schools slated for Turnaround started classes on Thursday, September 6 after a nearly year-long battle to stay open.

An arbitrator’s ruling to let all teachers keep their jobs and open the institutions this fall under their original names was upheld in State Supreme Court at the end of July. But the threat of closing by the state after this year, however, is still open if the schools don’t shape up.

Over at Long Island City High School, students lined up to review their course schedules before the start of the day.

Tenth graders Sohela Elgaramouni and Ouissal Elkharraz were happy to return to the school they knew and loved.

“We’re happy to see all our old teachers and most of the kids are still there,” said Elkharraz. “I don’t feel like a freshman again.”

But first-day jitters lingered long after dismissal for Flushing High School freshman Riana Painson.

Painson, 14, said she felt lost roaming around a new school and overwhelmed at having classrooms so far from one another.

“I felt lost, but I would have been more lost [if Turnaround happened],” Painson said.

Flushing senior Kassandra Marie said she was happy to walk into a school she was familiar with for three years, but already had one foot out the door.

“I’m used to Flushing High School already. I didn’t want to start all over again,” the 19 year old said. “But I just want to leave already, move on with my life and go to college.”

Magdalen Radovic is the current interim acting principal of Flushing High School, according to Department of Education spokesperson Marge Feinberg. But a C-30 process to find a permanent principal is in progress, she said.

Olga Perez stood outside of Grover Cleveland High School in Ridgewood near day’s end waiting for her granddaughter, junior Kayla Vargas, who had her first day there after transferring from a Manhattan high school.

Grover Cleveland was removed from the list of 26 city Turnaround schools hours before the Panel for Educational Policy voted to close them.

Perez’s children had gone to Grover Cleveland and she was relieved to hear the school would remain open when her granddaughter went to register.

Work still had to be done at the school, Perez said, referencing a high level of violence in the school. On the first day of school, though, she said things seemed quiet and would continue to.

“I was impressed by it,” she said. “I just hope it gets better and not worse.”

Other failed Turnaround high schools that opened its doors under the same staff and original names Thursday include Richmond Hill, Newtown, August Martin, Bryant and John Adams.

Additional reporting by Melissa Chan and Alexa Altman

16 Queens schools face shutdown by state


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

After seven Queens high schools won a nearly yearlong battle with the city to remain open, the institutions — along with 10 other borough schools — find themselves on a state list of schools that need to shape up or shut down.

New York state education officials unveiled a list of 123 schools in the city that face closure by the 2014 school year if improvements are not made. The list is made of schools in the bottom 5 percent on test scores and graduation rates.

Twenty-two borough schools also made the state’s list of the best in New York.

Six Queens high school were marked for turnaround by the city — which would have closed and reopened the institutions under new names — before a judge overruled the decision. Now, the schools again find themselves on a list that might mean their closure.

“The state’s new system more closely resembles the city’s school Progress Reports by recognizing growth and measuring students’ college and career readiness. This year, 55 schools were recognized for their strong performance and fewer schools were identified as struggling,” Chancellor Dennis Walcott said.  “There is still more work to do, and we will continue to support our struggling schools while holding them accountable to the high standards our students deserve.”

The Queens schools include 12 high schools, three middle schools and an elementary school.

The schools are: Newtown High School, Grover Cleveland High School, Flushing High School, Martin Van Buren High School, Beach Channel High School, August Martin High School, Richmond Hill High School, John Adams High School, Excelsior Prep High School, Jamaica High School, Long Island City High School, William Cullen Bryant High School, M.S. 53, J.H.S. 8, I.S. 192 and P.S. 111.

 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


EVENT of the DAY: Summerstage WR/Felix Hernandez’s Rhythm Revue 

With over forty years in the music industry, their music and history transcends generations of pop culture and has a universal appeal to parents, grandparents, and children across the world. Also featuring DJ Felix Hernandez mixing in soul, Motown, funk, salsa and disco dance classics.

[Click here for more info or submit your events]

New $500,000 New York Hospital Queens Center for  Wound Healing at Silvercrest opens in Briarwood  

New York Hospital Queens and Silvercrest Center For Nursing and Rehabilitation celebrated the opening of the NYHQ Center for Wound Healing at Silvercrest with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, July 10. The new $500,000 center, at 144-45 87th Ave., in Briarwood, addresses the increasing need for more aggressive wound treatment for people with hard-to-treat chronic wounds such as pressure ulcers, diabetic ulcers and radionecrosis, officials said. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Queens high school principal Caril Hudson Jr. arrested for possession of methamphetamine 

A Queens high school principal was nabbed just a block away from his school when cops found a baggie of methamphetamine in his car during a traffic stop, police said. Carl Hudson Jr., 33, was around the corner from Flushing High School on Northern Blvd. about 8:35 p.m on Tuesday when police discovered the meth in the bag in the car’s center console, police said. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Far Rockaway man pleads guilty to JFK luggage thefts 

A Queens man is facing three to six years in prison after pleading guilty to a series of thefts from passengers in the terminals at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Wednesday that 46-year-old Frederick McDonald of Far Rockaway, N.Y., had pleaded guilty to grand larceny in connection to six thefts. Read more: [1010wins] 

Bicyclist killed in hit-&-run 

A cyclist was fatally struck in Queens last night by a speeding car whose driver fled the scene, cops and witnesses said. The victim, who was carrying a bouquet of flowers, was struck at around 10:50 p.m. at Greenpoint Avenue and 39th Place in Sunnyside. Read more: [New York Post] 

 

Flushing High School principal arrested for possession of meth (UPDATED)


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Melissa Chan

Carl Hudson, principal of Flushing High School, was arrested Tuesday night and charged with one count of criminal possession of a controlled substance after cops say they found a ziplock bag full of methamphetamine and a glass pipe in his car.

The 33-year-old city schools employee was taken into custody on July 17 in front of 141-54 Northern Boulevard — less than half a mile away from the high school —  at 8:35 p.m., according to authorities.

Police said they uncovered one ziplock bag full of meth in a cup holder in the center console of Hudson’s car during a routine traffic stop. Soon after, Hudson gave cops permission to search his trunk, where they then found a glass pipe, according to the district attorney’s office.

Hudson pled guilty to disorderly conduct when he was arraigned last night, the district attorney’s office said. He was sentenced to a conditional discharge, which means his case will be dismissed after a year if he stays out of trouble.

An official at the district attorney’s office said Hudson will not be subjected to a fine and since he pled guilty to a violation, which is a non-criminal offense, he will not have a criminal record.

Hudson, a decade-long city schools employee, was already set to be replaced by Magdalen Radovich at the new Rupert B. Thomas Academy at the Flushing Campus this September if Turnaround plans went through.

He had been serving in an administrative capacity, education officials said, and will continue with administrative duties.

“I was pretty shocked when I found out. He doesn’t seem like the type of guy to get into trouble,” said Flushing High School student David Beranger, 16. “He was a good principal. He’s always showing people what to do. He’s not a laid back person. He’s always trying to enforce a good type of way for the school.”

Hudson, who officials say currently makes $133,834 a year, was appointed principal of Flushing High in March 2011.

Multiple calls made to a number listed as Hudson’s did not go through.

Flushing introduces new principal


| mchan@queenscourier.com

The Courier/Photo by Melissa Chan

The epilogue has been written for Flushing High School — but as the city concludes the final chapter of the storied 137-year-old institution, a new protagonist has entered the plot.

The Department of Education Division of Portfolio Planning hosted a meeting at Flushing High School — one day before the Panel for Educational Policy’s highly-anticipated vote — to introduce the school’s new leader, Magdalen Radovich, who will take over the reins at the embattled institution.

Radovich is currently an assistant principal at Queens Vocational and Technical High School in Long Island City, where she has served for 16 years — with half of the time spent as a teacher and the other half as an administrator.

“This has to be one of the most awkward meetings,” Radovich said to a small group of parents and students. “I don’t have all the answers. I know as little as some of you do about what’s going to happen tomorrow or the next day. I can promise you only that I will bring you the energy, commitment, dedication and the real belief that success is the only option for every kid, no matter what.”

Queens Vocational was on the city’s list of Persistently Lowest Achieving (PLA) schools up until recently, Radovich said. In terms of data, she said Flushing is similar to where Queens Vocational was six years ago, when the passing rate in the ninth grade was only about 50 percent — 38 percent less than its current standing.

“While we were on the PLA list, we felt kind of demoralized and stigmatized. But we knew that we had really good people who were working really hard to move us forward despite that. What really kept us moving were the kids,” Radovich said.
While similar in certain aspects, Radovich said Queens Vocational and Flushing largely differ in size, with Flushing being home to almost double the amount of students as Queens Vocational.

“You need to see things with different eyes. If something doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean that people aren’t working hard. It means that a different approach needs to be implemented,” she said.

Radovich — a mother of four, including one who is a junior in high school — began teaching in 1996 after dabbling in social justice work. She was a college professor for about 10 years, teaching remedial courses at New York University, Cooper Union, Pace University and John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

She said she hopes to carry on some of Flushing’s successful programs in the new school.

“I don’t have anything in particular in mind at this moment because it seems to me you have an awful lot here already that needs to be looked at carefully by the community and either built up or revised, but it’s definitely something that’s a priority for me,” Radovich said.

Flushing received a “D” on its most recent progress report, with an “F” in student performance, said DOE spokesperson Frank Thomas. The school was first designated as PLA in 2009 due to its consistently low graduation rates. While the numbers rose to 60 percent in 2010, the statistics still landed Flushing in the bottom 27 percent of schools in the city.

The new school — which has yet to be named — will serve between 3,035 to 3,075 students from grades nine through twelve, according to the DOE.

Final Chapter For Flushing?


| mchan@queenscourier.com

The Courier/Photo by Melissa Chan

Local leaders rallied to save Flushing High School before the city closes the book on the storied 137-year-old institution.

Elected officials and education advocates gathered in front of the school to protest a possible Turnaround — which would mean replacing half of the teachers and reopening the school under a new name.

“Closing Flushing High School seems to me to be one of the most short-sighted decisions that the city has ever made because graduation rates are improving,” said Senator Toby Ann Stavisky at the protest on April 16. “Over the last six years, they’ve come up. It’s starting to work. Flushing High School has been slowly reversing the trend.”
Stavisky, who worked as a substitute teacher at the school before her election to the State Senate, said Flushing High School is home to many students who do not speak English as their first language, which she said may be attributed to the school’s low success rate.

“If a child comes into this building speaking no English and, instead of graduating in four years, he graduates in five years — that child should be commended. [He should] not have a finger pointed at him like he’s bringing the school down,” said Dermot Smyth, a United Federation of Teachers (UFT) representative.

DOE spokesperson Frank Thomas said Flushing High School received a “D” on its most recent progress report, with an “F” on the student performance section. He also said graduation rates at schools serving similar populations are significantly higher than at Flushing.

According to Thomas, the DOE cannot afford to let underperforming schools linger while a teacher evaluation deal is hammered out and implemented. He said the

Turnaround plan keeps the best parts of the existing school, including its highest quality faculty, while creating a new program, new school culture and a different and better environment for students.

Flushing High School’s first public hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, April 18 at 6 p.m. after The Courier went to press. A meeting to introduce next year’s new school principal — Magdalen Radovich — will be held on Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m.