Tag Archives: New York Teaching Fellows Program

Queens man gets 30 years for trying to bomb Federal Reserve Bank

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo Twitter/@eyewitnessnyc

A Queens man who pleaded guilty to attempting to bomb the New York Federal Reserve Bank was sentenced to 30 years in prison Friday.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, a 22-year-old Bangladeshi national, first came to the U.S. in January 2012 on a student visa, residing in Jamaica. But his real intentions, according to authorities, were to carry out a terrorist attack on behalf of al Qaeda that would “disrupt the U.S. economy and kill Americans.”

One of the individuals he recruited to help him with his terrorist plot was an undercover FBI agent.

The undercover agent supplied Nafis with non-working explosives, and later met up with him on October 17, 2012 to assemble what Nafis believed to be a real bomb. They then drove to the Federal Reserve to detonate the device. When Nafis tried to set off the fake bomb, he was arrested.

In February, he pleaded guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

In court today, Nafis apologized to the United States, New York City, the judge and his parents, according to CBS News, saying “I’m ashamed. I’m lost. I tried to do a terrible thing. I alone am responsible for what I’ve done. Please forgive me. ”



Chancellor to overhaul middle schools

| brennison@queenscourier.com


Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced recently his intention to open 50 new middle schools while phasing out failing institutions.

“If a school is failing its students, we will take action and phase it out,” the Chancellor said at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development on Tuesday, September 20. “We cannot afford to continue letting schools fail when we know we can do better for our students.”

Walcott, who replaced Cathie Black as Chancellor in April, said he would hold middle schools to the same tough standards as high schools. He cited the success the city has had in opening smaller, higher-performing high schools in place of failing ones.

There was no indication given as to which schools may face the ax, though Walcott said they will serve areas where there is a demand for better middle schools.

According to school progress reports from the 2009-10 school year, three Queens middle schools received D’s; none received an F.

Walcott called middle schools a tough sell to some of teachers and principals. There are between 40 and 50 middle school vacancies per year, he said.

To help funnel more teachers into understaffed middle schools, a new class will be created in the New York Teaching Fellows Program that is dedicated to training teachers to work in junior high schools in poor areas, Walcott said.

Another way Walcott spoke of transforming failing schools is through Turnaround.

This process keeps the students in place but replaces ineffective staff with teacher teams trained in a leadership development program.

The plan is to implement Turnaround with $30 million in federal money he applied for in five middle schools in 2012 and five more the following year.

Middle Schools will also see a renewed emphasis on literacy. Seventh and eighth grade students were the only ones in New York City to regress in performance on state English tests. Fifteen million dollars of the State textbook budget will go towards purchasing non-fiction books to help bring scores up and better prepare students for high school.

“We will not have met our responsibilities as educators, as parents and for me now as a grandparent, if we do not succeed in our mission to give every child a high-quality education,” Walcott said.