Tag Archives: NYC DOE

Vote dates set for co-locating Queens schools


| editorial@queenscourier.com

The Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) will vote on four proposals to co-locate multiple Queens schools at the end of October.

The PEP — made up of seven mayoral appointees and five representatives from each borough — will meet in Brooklyn on October 30 at 883 Classon Avenue to discuss a series of plans that would squeeze more than one school into a building.

In one proposal, the city’s Department of Education (DOE) wants to temporarily put P.S. 176 Cambria Heights and a new public elementary charter school inside I.S. 59 Springfield Gardens.

The charter school would be part of Success Academy, which operates 18 public city charter schools, and would open next year.

A public hearing before the plan goes to the PEP will be held on October 9 at 6 p.m. at 132-55 Ridgedale Street.

The city also wants to put another new Success Academy Charter School and a new transfer high school inside August Martin High School.

Officials will hear out the public at August Martin on October 3 at 6 p.m.

There are also plans to add another new elementary school inside P.S. 40 Samuel Huntington in Jamaica next year and co-locate Corona Arts and Sciences Academy with Civic Leadership Academy, Pan American International High School, Voyages Preparatory and Queens Transition Center in Elmhurst Educational Campus in 2015.

A public hearing for Samuel Huntington will be held at the 109-20 Union Hall Street school on October 9 at 6 p.m. and one will be held for Corona Arts on October 1 at 6 p.m. at 45-10 94th Street.

The PEP will vote on more than a dozen other co-locations proposed in other boroughs on October 15.

There were no notices scheduled for another city plan to add a new school within Martin Van Buren High School.

 

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Three file racial discrimination claim against Elmhurst principal


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Devin Lightner

Alleged racist comments by an Elmhurst principal have left three teachers without jobs, with one deciding to leave the education system for good.

Lisa-Erika James, a tenured theater teacher, Heather Hightower, an ESL-science teacher, and John Flanagan, a Spanish teacher from Pan American International High School have filed a discrimination claim with the Department of Education (DOE)’s Office of Equal Opportunity against Principal Minerva Zanca.

According to details released by Assistant Principal Anthony Riccardo — who is also filing a harassment claim against Zanca — the principal allegedly referred to Hightower as looking like a “gorilla in a sweater” and having “nappy hair” and said Flanagan had “big lips” during post-observation conferences this past school year.
Riccardo also said that in various cases, Zanca insisted on giving both teachers unsatisfactory grades before observing class lessons.

“This whole experience has made me question whether or not I want to stay in a system that is designed to treat people with such malicious intent,” said Riccardo. “I am completely sickened by the unethical behavior my fellow colleague has displayed and I believe this to be a truly sad time to be an administrator in a NYC public school.”

According to Flanagan’s complaint, while there are eight untenured teachers out of a total of 27, both he and Hightower are the only African American untenured teachers. The complaint also states Flanagan and Hightower were the only ones that Zanca did not recommended for tenure.

“Just how you [the DOE] are very critical with teachers in New York City, you have to be with administrators,” said Kevin Powell, president of BK Nation, a non-profit organization that is working with the teachers on this case. “No form of discrimination should be allowed. They’re not activists — they’re teachers. They didn’t want to be in this. They had to say something.”

According to Powell, Hightower has decided to completely leave teaching and will pursue another career path.

“The most egregious act is that [Zanca] is allowed to run a school where many of the children are of Afro-Latino descent,” James said in her complaint. “And her hurtful racial epithets have been thrown around with no recourse or consequences.”

James said she was hired to create a theater program for the high school by former principal Marcella Barros, but alleges the program was then cut by Zanca because she is African American.

“It is abundantly clear that Mrs. Zanca has done everything in her power to get rid of every African American teacher on this staff,” said James.

The teachers, along with Powell and other supporters, rallied in front of the DOE on July 8 to call for authorities to investigate the case. A petition on www.change.org to fire Zanca had gathered 1,332 signatures as of press time.

Zanca could not be reached and it was unclear as of press time whether she had acquired legal representation.

The DOE said the complaints are under investigation.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Wednesday: Overcast. High of 43. Winds from the NNW at 10 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Clear in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 34 with a windchill as low as 28. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Aki Sasamoto: Centripetal Run

Performance artist Aki Sasamoto explores parallels between gray situations in personal lives and electromagnetic radiation that forms the universe. The show opens with Pau Atela’s pendulum mechanism, leading into Sasamoto’s movement exploration and interaction with her objects. Starts at 8 p.m. at the Chocolate Factory Theater in Long Island City. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Rockaway residents getting that sink-ing feeling

If lack of power and flood damage wasn’t enough, some Rockaway residents are getting the sinking suspicion that the ground just might literally cave in underneath them. Read more: New York Daily News

Parents raise safety concerns as school in Queens reopens early

Stephen P. Grill, the principal of a public school in Belle Harbor, Queens, strode down an auditorium aisle on Tuesday morning, past chairs that had been submerged by floodwaters from Hurricane Sandy and police tape that was blocking a back door. He stood in front of a wall obscuring a badly damaged stage. Read more: New York Times

Some Sandy victims show signs of PTSD, hospital says

Adam Funtleyder lost his first floor and his basement to flood water from Hurricane Sandy, but he also almost lost his life. Read more: NY1

Breezy break-in bust

A Breezy Point man was busted for breaking into his neighbor’s storm-damaged beach bungalow the day after Thanksgiving, cops said yesterday. Read more: New York Post

Bus slams into Long Island Home, killing 5-year-old boy, injuring at least 8 others

A 5-year-old boy was killed Tuesday night, and at least eight other people were injured, when a commuter bus plowed into a Nassau County home. Read more: CBS New York

Rock Center’s 80-Foot tree ready to shine

After two weeks of prep, The Most Famous Christmas Tree in the World is ready to get lit up. Read more: NBC New York

No one reported shot, stabbed or slashed in New York City on Monday, police sources say

No news really is good news — not a single person was reported shot, stabbed or slashed in New York City on Monday, police sources said. Read more: New York Daily News

Rice concession on Libya fails to mollify 3 in GOP

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice told lawmakers Tuesday that her initial explanation of the deadly Sept. 11 raid in Libya was wrong, but her concession failed to mollify three Republican senators who signaled they would try to block her possible nomination to be secretary of state. Read more: AP

 

 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday :Overcast with rain. High of 41. Winds from the NW at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the NNE in the afternoon. Chance of rain 80% with rainfall amounts near 0.2 in. possible. Tuesday Night: Overcast with rain. Low of 34. Winds from the North at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%.

EVENT of the DAY: Holiday Tree Lighting in Sunnyside/Woodside

The tree lighting is a true community celebration with local elected officials, a presentation by the Sunnyside Drum Corps, caroling with local schools and holiday cheer. Borough President Helen Marshall will light the tree and Father Brian Dowd from Queen of Angels RC Church will lead a Christmas prayer. There will also be candy canes for the children. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens school shut since hurricane is reopening

The New York City Education Department said on Monday that Public School/Middle School 114 in Belle Harbor, Queens, would reopen on Tuesday, three days earlier than planned, after it was flooded during Hurricane Sandy. Read more: New York Times

Queens church’s crucifix vandalized

The beloved 25-year-old crucifix at St. Leo’s Church in Corona, Queens, was vandalized at night on or after thanksgiving. Read more: Fox New York

City workers still reeling from Hurricane Sandy

The recovery from Superstorm Sandy has tested every level of city government and all ranks of city employees. Read more: New York Daily News

Nets beat Knicks in OT, take 1st Brooklyn matchup

Playing the Knicks never looked or sounded so sweet for the Nets in New Jersey. Read more: ABC New York

Top LIPA executive, trustee resign

A top LIPA executive and a LIPA trustee announced their resignations Monday as the power authority deals with criticism in their response to Sandy, NBC 4 New York has confirmed. Read more: NBC New York

Experts estimate $1.5 billion in sales on Cyber Monday

Americans clicked away for deals on Cyber Monday, which was expected to be the biggest online shopping day in history. Read more: CBS New York

Obama to meet executives, go to Pennsylvania for fiscal push

resident Barack Obama will launch a multipronged push this week to garner support for his proposals to solve U.S. fiscal problems, meeting with business executives at the White House and visiting a small business in Pennsylvania to press his case. Read more: Reuters