Tag Archives: Newtown High School

John Adams Spartans’ ace in the hole


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

If the John Adams High School Spartans baseball team is to go far in the playoffs this year, it may rest on the arm of pitcher Anderson Deleon. Deleon, who is being pursued by three colleges, has a fiery fastball and a tricky breaking ball.

His record this season is 5-1, and he leads the PSAL (as of May 7) with 79 strikeouts in 12 games, while sporting a 0.06 ERA.

In a recent match against Queens A West conference leader Newtown High School (11-1 PSAL), Deleon pitched a complete game shutout with 15 strikeouts. Besides his pitching, Deleon is also a capable batter. He has a .366 batting average in 41 at bats, and he has a .409 on-base percentage.

Although the John Adams Spartans (11-2 PSAL) are still competing with Newtown for the conference crown, Deleon believes that his team will ultimately succeed. 

“As far as I’m concerned, we got the best team to go all the way,” Deleon said. “And I have 100 percent confidence in myself and my team to win everything.”

 

UPDATE: On May 7, after this article was published in The Queens Courier, John Adams High School once again defeated Newtown, sweeping the season series and tying for first place in the conference. 

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

John Bowne crushes Newtown basketball in tense game


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

John Bowne basketball added to its undefeated record after a tense game against Newtown High School, crushing the Elmhurst team by almost 20 points.

Bowne players yelled at both their opponents and teammates throughout the Tuesday night game and Newtown boys walked off the court before it was officially over, unable to stay for the defeat.

The game got a late start but Bowne (PSAL 12-0) hit the ground running with a layup in the first four seconds. It seemed the John Bowne Wildcats would stay strong, as they maintained a strong defense and the Newtown Pioneers (PSAL 5-8) fired several wild shots throughout the first quarter.

However, about halfway through the quarter, Newtown’s Leon Peprah Antwi made a three-pointer, forced a turnover after Bowne rebounded, then sunk an additional shot for a five-point play.

Bowne responded slowly and Newtown’s offense quickened. But with just a couple minutes left, Bowne forward Ethan Harris Holt stole the ball from Newtown and ran down the court, dunking the ball and getting his team back on the scoreboard.

Bowne then picked up play, ending the quarter 17-14 Bowne. The second quarter was the Wildcats’ show as they made fast, effective passes and executed shots, ending the half up 13, 43-30.

But Newtown came out swinging the second half and outscored Bowne 11-5 in the first few minutes. For the Pioneers, Peprah Antwi and Noah Patterson remained leaders on the court, sinking the majority of shots. But the streak ended after Holt caught a down-the-court pass and made an easy layup.

Bowne’s persistence in rebounds also paid off, and the quarter ended at 61-58 Bowne, the closest margin of the game.

Newtown started the last quarter strong and trailed Bowne by only a few points, and after a brief scoring run, Bowne got antsy. Players started yelling at each other and the game got physical. Peprah Antwi was pushed to the ground, and Bowne’s Luis Hernandez was pushed under the basket into the wall.

But Bowne proved stronger on rebounds, getting both their own and Newtown’s missed shots. About halfway through the quarter, Bowne maneuvered Newtown’s defense with ease and the score rose to 79-61 Bowne.

With 1.4 seconds left and Newtown’s morale visibly low, Patterson wrapped his arms around Karven Alcindor from John Bowne, prompting a foul shot to end the game. Patterson and Peprah Antwi didn’t stick around for the shot, and walked off the court.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

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.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

 TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with snow, then ice pellets and snow in the afternoon. High of 37 with a windchill as low as 25F. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 80% . Monday night: Overcast with rain, then a chance of rain after midnight. Low of 37. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Repetition in Design

Repetition in Design, on display at the Queens Botanical Garden, is a series of oil paintings on canvas by QBG’s Supervising Museum Instructor Gennadyi Gurman. Some of these pieces are influenced by the way the 8-bit video games from the 1980s looked, also from cartoons; but all show a bright color contrast. Until April 15 and free with admission. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Four-alarm fire guts commercial building in Queens

Business owners in Queens are assessing the damage after a fast-moving four-alarm fire ripped through a commercial building late Sunday. Read more: ABC New York

NYC school bus companies, union to meet Monday

New York City school bus companies and union leaders are to meet Monday in an effort to resolve the strike. Read more: Fox New York

City plans to put new schools in two struggling Queens high schools

Two struggling Queens high schools could soon become a lot more crowded. Read more: New York Daily News

MoMA PS1 wants to build performance dome in the Rockaways

Plans are in the works to bring a unique performance dome to the Rockaways. Read more: NY1

Schumer: Federal Sandy aid bill funds Army Corps’ projects on city coastlines

The U.S. Senate is set to vote on a Hurricane Sandy aid bill on Monday evening, and Sen. Charles Schumer said Sunday the bill would provide more than $1 billion to protect the coastlines of the city and Long Island. Read more: NY1

Police chiefs from Newtown, Aurora to meet with Obama

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will meet today with law enforcement groups and police chiefs from several communities impacted by mass shootings to discuss the administration’s intensifying push to reduce gun violence. Read more: CBS News

Bipartisan Senate group proposes immigration plan

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators has agreed on a framework for immigration reform that would provide a “path to citizenship” for those in the United States illegally but only after measures are put in place to secure borders and track undocumented immigrants. Read more: Reuters

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


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

EVENT of the DAY: 14th annual free summer concert at St. John’s University

This year the Queens Symphony Orchestra presents “La Traviata” at the 14th Annual St. John’s University Summer Concert. Wednesday, August 1, at 7 p.m. on the Queen’s Campus Great Lawn. No charge and no tickets are necessary, just bring your lawn chair or blanket and enjoy live opera under the stars, there’s no better way to spend a warm summer evening.

[Click here for more info] or to [submit an event of your own]

Neighbors say empty lot in Queens is a nuisance

Some residents of Whitestone, Queens, say that an undeveloped six-acre lot has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other creatures. The developer, Whitestone jewels, broke ground on the land about 4 years ago when they planned to build more than 50 homes. Read more: [Fox 5]

Queens homeowner says root of tree problem still exists

A huge, 100-year-old tree sits right outside Mickey Garnploog’s house in Woodside, Queens and he says it’s slowly but surely uprooting. Read More: [NY1]

Turnaround schools revert to old names

The city has retreated from part of its turnaround plan for 24 low-performing schools, telling principals the schools will keep their original names. A Department of Education letter to principals outlined the change in strategy regarding the names, and offered guidance on how to get the schools in shape before September. The schools affected include John Dewey High School in Brooklyn and Newtown High School in Queens, among others. [NY Times]

Queens’ new top architect

Derek Lee, the Buildings Department’s new Queens Borough Commissioner, started his second stint this earlier this month as the borough’s top architect. Lee, who oversees more than 15,000 blocks of houses, work sites and developments, said his top priority is safety. Read More: [NY Daily News]

Soccer’s worldwide popularity stretches to Queens

From the friendly pick-up games to a growing number of leagues and tournaments, soccer fever is high in Queens. It’s a summertime favorite for many immigrants, who play in the shadow of Citi Field and parks and playgrounds across the borough. Read More: [NY1]

Two Queens locations to get ‘Preservation Oscars’


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Queens 1

The New York Landmarks Conservancy has announced the winners of the 22nd Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards. Newtown High School in Elmhurst and the TWA Terminal at JFK International Airport are two of the recipients that will be recognized at an April 25 ceremony at the New York Historical Society, also one of the award winners.

The coveted awards, called the “Preservation Oscars,” are named after dedicated New Yorker Lucy G. Moses. They recognize individual leadership and outstanding preservation work. This work provides jobs, promotes tourism, maintains beloved institutions and protects the character of the city.

“The awards are a celebration of outstanding restoration projects throughout the city as well as some extraordinary individuals,” said Peg Breen, President of The New York Landmarks Conservancy. “The awards are a perfect reminder that preservation creates local jobs and encourages tourism. It’s a joyous evening as we salute great work and great people.”

Newtown High School, in Elmhurst, is one of Queens’ most prominent buildings. The school has been in operation at its current location for over 100 years and occupies an entire city block. The oldest extant portions date to 1921, designed by famed Superintendent of School Buildings C.B.J. Snyder in a Flemish Renaissance Revival style. Snyder’s choice of this style demonstrated his awareness of New York’s, and particularly Elmhurst’s, beginnings as a Dutch colony. Of Snyder’s 400 school designs, it is one of the few in this style, and it was designated a city landmark in 2003.

Snyder’s design features a dramatic 169-foot tower that is visible throughout the neighborhood and gives the school its slogan – “We Tower Above the Rest.” On the tower, deteriorated turrets were rebuilt to match original brick and terra cotta. Copper on the new turret roof now matches the main cupola.

Polychromatic murals were restored with new terra cotta, which involved an extensive color matching process, unit replacement, cleaning, patching and re-glazing by an artist. The roof was repaired and masonry restored. Façade work included masonry repointing and lintel reconstruction. Failed graffiti prevention pigments were removed and the walls were restored to their original colors. Graffiti remnants were erased and up-to-date treatments were applied to prevent future abuse. The 2011 renovation was completed under the auspices of the NYC School Construction Authority.

Eero Saarinen’s TWA Terminal at JFK International Airport has been an icon of modern architecture since it opened in 1962. While the Terminal was an experiment in aviation technology, incorporating the first use of jetways and baggage carousels, the building itself is a structural marvel – four concrete lobes are in perfect balance, supported by only four piers.

The airline industry quickly outpaced the unique Saarinen design. To accommodate demands of capacity, security, accessibility and passenger amenity, the terminal underwent unsympathetic alterations and additions. During the 1990s, TWA was not able to maintain the building, and it was closed.

In 2002, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey undertook a program to stabilize and secure the building. The restoration started with archival investigations, interviews with surviving design team members and materials analysis. The terminal was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and documentation completed prior to construction.

Improvements to the exterior included removal of inappropriate additions, repairs to concrete, and the replacement of asbestos-containing material with a new acoustic coating. The failing curtain wall was restored, with the gasket system replaced, and an unsightly purple solar film removed. The original manufacturer in Michigan provided new glazing. Skylights that separate the four concrete shells and have leaked since the 1960s were also replaced.

The public areas were restored, incorporating life and fire safety improvements, so the terminal may re-open to the public for a passage to the JetBlue terminal and for special events. On the interior, the sunken seating area was restructured and new banquettes and benches installed. Enhanced lighting dramatically illuminates the interior. A new accessibility lift, emergency lighting, fire alarms and a smoke detection system were incorporated into the restoration. Finally, the original “Solari” information boards were redesigned with LCD technology and reactivated. The most challenging part of the project was the restoration of the ubiquitous “penny tile” interior finish. Once sourced, over three million pieces were produced for use in this project and to have on hand for future restoration.

Turnaround proposals submitted for eight Queens high schools


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Elected officials are refusing to “turn” the other cheek on the city’s plan to overhaul a number of high schools throughout the borough.

The Department of Education (DOE) has submitted proposals to Turnaround eight high schools – Flushing, William Cullen Bryant, Long Island City, Newtown, Grover Cleveland, August Martin, Richmond Hill and John Adams – resulting in the closure of the school at the end of the academic year and its reopening under a different name in the fall of 2012, along with the replacement of 50 percent of the faculty.

In total, 33 schools across the city have been designated for the Turnaround model, but each current student will be guaranteed a seat in their reopened school.

Local leaders, parents and teachers have all expressed outrage over the DOE’s plans, emphasizing the destructive influence this will have on students.

“This is a slap in the face to all of the teachers and students who have been working hard to keep [these schools] on the road towards greatness,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, a graduate of Bryant High School. “I think pulling the plug is the wrong way to go. The students feel pride in their school, and if you close it, you are saying it is a failure. I think that’s the wrong message.”

Van Bramer, who called the city’s tactics “draconian,” also noted that a new principal was installed in Bryant in September, giving the leader less than a year at the school.

Other legislators have argued that politics should be left out of the classroom.

“The DOE should realize this proposal does not factor how such an extreme overhaul of Bryant and L.I.C high schools would affect attending students and how they learn,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “Children’s education should supersede political posturing.”

DOE officials said the city lost significant federal funding when an agreement on teacher evaluations could not be reached with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT).

By deciding to Turnaround the schools – a program which does not require teacher evaluations – the city can apply for up to $60 million in School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding from the state.

“When we did not get an agreement with the UFT by January, we lost out on money from the state,” said DOE spokesperson Frank Thomas. “That’s one of the reasons behind this – we want to try to salvage as much of those funds as possible. We also see this as an opportunity for these schools to get better, improve their culture, improve their school program, improve their staff and become much better schools.”

The DOE’s proposal will be voted on by the Panel for Education Policy (PEP), a committee composed of 13 members assigned by the five borough presidents and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, on April 26.

According to Thomas, if the Turnaround proposal is approved by PEP, the department plans to move forward regardless of funding.

“This is being done because of the mayor’s ego, and not because of any inability of the UFT to negotiate,” said Ken Achiron, the UFT chapter leader of L.I.C. “The mayor walked away from the table and refused to negotiate. I think this is a disaster for the children and school system. This mayor is doing more damage than the fiscal crisis of 1975.”

Maria Karaiskos, an English teacher at L.I.C. for 16 years, believes the plan has hurt students and educators alike.

“I think this will severely disrupt the students’ education,” she said. “If the goal is to improve education, this is the worst thing they can do. Teacher morale is low, and it should be clear that Bloomberg is trying to remove teachers.”

Eight high schools to ‘Turnaround’


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

The city’s failure to successfully negotiate with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) may spell doom for more than half a dozen high schools across Queens — including the subtraction of half their educators.

Due to the inability of the two parties to come to an agreement regarding teacher evaluations, the Department of Education (DOE) has moved eight high schools — Flushing, William Cullen Bryant, Long Island City (L.I.C.), Newtown, Grover Cleveland, August Martin, Richmond Hill and John Adams — into the School Improvement Grant Program known as Turnaround.

Turnaround involves the closure and immediate reopening of the school under a different name, along with the replacement of the principal and 50 percent of the teachers. The schools, which are state-designated Persistently Low Achieving (PLA), were initially slated for Transformation or Restart, which do not involve closure and are less severe programs with regards to expulsion of faculty.

“A school’s performance is judged on multiple measures, and when there has been important progress but there is also significant room for improvement, we believe students will benefit from intervention,” said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott. “This is an opportunity to assess and keep what is working and also bring in a new wave of talent that will be able to build on the progress already made.”

As part of the Turnaround program, school-based committees will be formed to assess and replace half the teaching staff based on merit — replacing the least effective teachers and keeping the best. Each school will be reopened by the fall of 2012, and every current student will have a seat in their respective school.

In total, 62 schools from across the five boroughs have been assigned to one of the DOE’s intervention programs.

Of these, 18 schools will be phased out over several years by not accepting any new students and officially closing after current classes graduate.

Five will close at the end of the current school year in June, forcing current students to transfer. Six will lose their middle school grades but stay open as either high schools or elementary schools only, and the remaining 33 schools will close in June and reopen immediately with a different name.

P.S. 215 in Woodmere has been slated for phase-out, and the Peninsula Preparatory Academy, a charter elementary school in Rockaway Park, is also lined up for closure.

Since negotiations between the DOE and UFT failed, the city’s School Improvement Grants (SIG), which are used by 27 of the 33 schools designated for Turnaround, has been suspended by the state. The city, however, is hopeful its actions will once again make it eligible to receive the funds.

“The unfortunate thing is that we see this as the mayor playing politics with our schools, and they are holding these PLA schools and their communities hostage,” said James Vasquez, Queens district representative for the UFT. “The turnaround model has no educational value other than the mayor’s unwillingness to come to an agreement in negotiations. We have been and continue to be open to negotiations.We are not the ones who walked away from the table, they were. In the end, these school communities are the ones who will suffer.”

Vasquez says the city abandoned negotiations roughly 36 hours before the state’s January 1 deadline. He claims the mayor opposes the state’s new holistic evaluation approach — which the UFT supports — and is searching for a scapegoat for the precarious situation in city schools.

Despite the distraction, some teachers are concentrating on their students, attempting to prevent the ambiguous situation from causing a digression in their education.

“A lot of things are in motion and we’re sorting out what it means,” said Debra Lavache, a teacher at Flushing High School. “We’re just focusing on the students. We still have students to teach.”

The majority of students, parents and faculty have expressed tremendous outrage regarding the city’s plans, furious that the students’ education is being placed in the middle of a bureaucratic war.

“We have worked around the clock to try and improve the school,” said Mirit Jakab, an English and Theatre teacher at Grover Cleveland High School. “Many parents and kids are very disappointed. This is tearing our community apart. It is a shame that what seems to be politics is hurting our kids.”

Other teachers believe the Turnaround will do more harm than good.

“I think the city has not given us enough support to implement structural changes that would help the students achieve. It is designed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to fail,” said Maria Karaiskos, an English teacher at L.I.C. High School. “The worst thing you can do is implement this Turnaround model, because what will turn around is the students, and they will go back home. They will turn their backs on education.”

Students at L.I.C. echoed their teacher, emphasizing the lack of excitement and energy most will exhibit while attending the “turned around” school.

“I think this is a terrible idea,” said Amara, a 17-year-old senior. “This is only going to psychologically harm the kids and teachers. Rearranging the system is going to make students get used to a whole new set of teachers. It will drive us away from learning.”

Barbara Loupakis, who graduated from L.I.C. in 1987 and currently has a daughter in 10th grade at the school, believes the Turnaround is the latest example of the city not prioritizing education

“This year things have been going crazy,” Loupakis said. “First there were not enough teachers. A lot that they had were substitutes because they didn’t want to spend money to hire teachers. They have books that are over 20 years old. My daughter brought home a book that my husband had. We don’t have money to give new books and now we are firing teachers? My daughter is not going to want to come back. Because of these changes, these kids are not going to have the spirit and drive to get up in the morning. Bloomberg is sending a message to these kids that they are nothing.”