Tag Archives: NYC Department of Education

Avonte Oquendo’s mom files suit against city: reports


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Handout

The mother of Avonte Oquendo has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, charging various agencies and individuals with negligence leading to the death of the 14-year-old autistic teen, according to published reports.

Vanessa Fontaine reportedly filed the suit last week in Queens Supreme Court blaming the Department of Education, NYPD and members of Avonte’s Long Island City school for her son’s death.

Among the Center Boulevard School individuals are school safety agent Bernadette Perez and principal Susan McNulty, reports said.

The 14-year-old was last seen at the Center Boulevard School in Long Island City across the street from the East River last October. Surveillance footage caught the teen running through the halls unsupervised before leaving the building. Almost four months later his remains were found washed up in College Point.

The lawsuit does not have a dollar amount, according to reports, however family attorney David Perecman previously said the family would be seeking $25 million.

 

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Queens kids walk to ‘Beat the Street’ in worldwide competition


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Queens kids are hitting the pavement and “beating the street” in a worldwide competition.

Ozone Park’s J.H.S. 210 is participating in the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Education (DOE) competition, “Beat the Street,” in which local students log walking trips to and from school and compete against youth from around the world.

“The Beat the Street Program has been wonderful,” said J.H.S. 210 principal Rosalyn Allman-Manning. “There is increased awareness of the healthy benefits of walking to school and reciprocal caring for others, which is what we emphasize.”

Ozone Park students and kids from I.S. 141 in Astoria have been logging miles and competing with students in England and China. Borough kids swipe a keycard at any “Beat Box” location, installed by the DOT at points along major pedestrian routes to each of the two schools. Students collect points based on the number of swipes.

“Good habits can last a lifetime, and we’re teaching kids to put their best foot forward early by learning the importance that walking plays in a healthy lifestyle,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, DOT Commissioner.

Manning said some of her students meet on the way to school, so there’s “safety in numbers” as they walk to the Beat Boxes. They also have begun to remind each other to swipe their cards.

The program started October 15 and will go until November 8. Each participating school and students with top scores will receive prizes, and the winning school will receive $1,000.

 

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New school opening in St. Albans


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Office Of Councilmember Leroy Comrie

A new elementary school is coming to St. Albans to help alleviate overcrowding in the neighborhood’s existing schools.

The current St. Pascal Baylon Roman Catholic Church on 112th Avenue is being renovated into the new school, P.S. 892, and will welcome about 380 students.

“Once P.S. 892 opens, it will help relieve the overcrowding currently taking place at P.S. 118 and P.S. 134, while helping to ensure our youth have the resources to learn and be successful in the future,” said Councilmember Leroy Comrie, who advocated for the renovation.

The abandoned church was once home to the Police Athletic League where they were able to provide various youth services to the community. However, after the group left the building, residents grew concerned not only that there would be a decrease in resources for their young people, but also that the site would be negative on the community, Comrie said.

But the new school is on its way. Once the $19 million renovation is complete, estimated to be by July 2014, students in pre-kindergarten through 5th grade will walk through the doors and head to one of the 13 standard classrooms, two pre-kindergarten rooms or two special education classrooms.

It will also have a gym, science/art resource room, music suite, library, cafeteria, kitchen and an outdoor playground.

The building will additionally be equipped with wireless routers and LAN lines for Internet access, as well as interactive white boards in the classrooms.

An opening date has not yet been decided but is projected for 2015.

“We’re working hard as we can to work with and deliver for this community, and the new school reflects our efforts,” said a Department of Education spokesperson. “Anytime we open a new school, we’re confident it will achieve great outcomes for kids. When we can do it in a new building, even better.”

 

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Find out which school bus routes will be affected by the strike


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Screenshot from NYC DOE website

In anticipation of a bus strike that is set to begin Wednesday, January 16 , the New York City Department of Education has set up an online tool on its website that will tell students if they’re bus routes will be impacted by the strike.

Information is refreshed daily beginning at 7:00 a.m. and throughout the day as needed.

Click here to use the search tool.

 

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

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers in the afternoon. High of 86. Winds from the SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.Tuesday Night: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers. Low of 73. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60% with rainfall amounts near 0.5 in. possible.

EVENT of the DAY: Live at the Gantries with Christel Rice

Traditional Irish flute player and Philadelphia native Christel Rice has created a sensational and unique style with her music. She studied with the late Michael Rafferty of Ballinakill, Ireland where she learned the regional style of flute playing. Come see her preform for free tonight at Gantry Plaza State Park. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Glendale property owner in talks to lease vacant Cooper Ave. land to local nonprofit for a homeless shelter

A Glendale property owner is mulling a plan to turn a former factory into a shelter for the homeless, though community leaders have vowed to fight it. Read more: New York Daily News 

Vallone urges emergency lanes on Queens Boulevard

Forget bike lanes and pedestrian plazas: It’s time to accommodate emergency responders navigating Queens’ deadliest road, a lawmaker says. Read more: New York Post

Congressional Candidate Meng comments on her father’s bribe charges

As Democratic congressional candidate Grace Meng picked up the endorsement of former Mayor Ed Koch at City Hall on Monday, she spoke publicly for the first time about her father’s arrest on wire fraud charges. Read more: NY1

Judge who accused cop of assault says Queens DA is whitewashing probe

The Queens judge who accused a cop of striking him in the throat with a military-style chop says the District Attorney’s probe appears to be a sham. Read more: New York Daily News 

DOE finds almost 70 percent of city students live in poor households

At Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, Queens, 65 percent of the students live in households that earn under $30,000. That is double the figure of just three years ago. While Hillcrest saw one of the biggest jumps, student poverty has increased citywide. Read more: NY1

Bratton makes rounds

Former New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is signaling his interest in succeeding Commissioner Raymond Kelly, holding private meetings with potential mayoral candidates during which he’s discussing public-safety strategies and his desire to return to service. Read more: Wall Street Journal 

Veteran officer, gunman die in Texas shootout

A routine serving of an eviction notice to a man living near the Texas A&M University campus turned deadly for Brazos County Constable Brian Bachmann when the resident opened fire on him, leading to the death of the law enforcement officer and another man before the gunman was killed. Read more: AP