Tag Archives: P.S. 173

Crash victim’s parents take safety oath with hundreds of students


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Melissa Chan

Studying for the year’s biggest standardized tests can wait, District 26 Superintendent Anita Saunders said.

Scholars at P.S. 173 have a more important task at hand — memorizing the 120-word oath they took Friday to put safety first as passengers and pedestrians.

“This pledge you’re taking is very, very important,” Saunders said to a packed auditorium of wide-eyed youths. “It’s even more important than your ELA and math test.”

Almost all 940 students at the Fresh Meadows school raised their right hand and promised, in unison, to buckle up, be alert and “value the preservation of life above all else” when riding in cars or crossing the street.

The pledge was taken in honor of 3-year-old Allison Liao, who was tragically killed by an SUV in Flushing last October, while crossing Main Street at Cherry Avenue.

“We’re here today because something bad happened to our family,” Allison’s father, Hsi-Pei, said to the students. “She did nothing wrong, and she was holding an adult’s hand.”

The Liaos’ tragedy has aided a local push to stop short-tempered parents from double parking, blocking the school bus stop and letting students run across the street outside of P.S. 173, where Allison’s 5-year-old brother Preston attends.

Nearly 700 parents have signed a driver’s version of the pledge so far, PTA President Italia Augienello said.

Educators hope to hold each to their word.

“Just signing [the pledge] once is not enough,” Saunders said. “We don’t want to have another terrible tragedy.”

 

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Precinct helps ease parking problem outside Fresh Meadows school


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Police have stepped in to ease a daily parking problem outside a Fresh Meadows school that has frustrated parents and put students at risk for at least a year.

Parents dropping off their kids at P.S. 173 have been double parking and blocking the school bus stop during the morning rush about 8 a.m., residents said.

“Sometimes they’ll let the kids out in the middle of the street and have the kids run across to get into school,” said Jim Gallagher Jr., president of the Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association.

At times, students are also left stranded in the middle of the road until traffic clears, said former PTA President Alan Ong.

The “No Standing” street on 67th Avenue gets backed up with at least 15 cars at a time, according to Gallagher.

Short-tempered parents have cursed and threatened volunteer parents who try to move traffic along, residents said.

“It’s a dangerous situation,” said John Callari, a nearby resident. “I almost got run over one morning when my wife and I were taking our grandchildren to school.”

Two traffic safety cops at the 107th Precinct have been easing congestion at the school for about half an hour every day, for the last two weeks.

They will continue “as long as resources are there,” a community affairs officer at the precinct said.

Summonses have been issued to illegally parked drivers in the past, but the precinct wants their main goal to be making sure parents understand the danger.

“We’re trying to work with everybody to educate motorists,” the officer said. “Keeping the kids safe is always the priority.”

The school has more than 900 students, from kindergarten through fifth grade, said Ong, who is now a member of Community District Education Council 26.

The Department of Education did not comment.

“Many other schools in the city are experiencing the same problem,” Ong said. “We need to somehow, someway bring awareness to parents. The last thing we want is an accident.”

 

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Star of Queens: Alan Ong, board of directors, Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association


| editorial@queenscourier.com

star of queens

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Alan Ong has been active in the Queens community for years, serving as the PTA president for P.S. 173 before being appointed by Borough President Helen Marshall to the District 26 Community Education Council.

“Even though I stepped down as PTA president, now I can try to effect things on a district level,” said Ong, who also serves on the board of directors for the Fresh Meadows Homeowners Civic Association.

Ong said that he was very active in the PTA, doing a lot of outreach and safety awareness work for parents and students alike.

At the head of the Homeowners Civic Association, Ong said he has worked hard to “maintain the quality of life within the neighborhood, like [fixing] potholes in the street. We also work with the local precinct to make sure everything is safe for the residents.”

BACKGROUND: Ong was born in Manhattan and spent his early years in Chinatown.

“I moved to Queens when I was a teen and have been living here ever since,” he said.

He attended the City College of New York and now lives in Fresh Meadows.

FAVORITE MEMORY: Ong recalls his time with the P.S. 173 PTA as one of his best memories.

“The reaction of the parents was very rewarding,” he said. “A lot of us work, and sometimes we don’t spend as much time with our children as we should. My aim was to get parents involved.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “The greatest obstacle I face is getting people to speak up,” Ong explained. “It’s difficult to tackle issues when you don’t know what they are. I have to inspire people to step up and tell us what’s going on.”

INSPIRATION: “One of the main reasons why I do this is because I’m Americanborn Chinese, and in the community of Chinese culture, people don’t step up and help others as much. I do this community work because I feel there’s a need for that. Hopefully what I’m doing will help others to do the same.”

LUKE TABET

 

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New Playground at P.S. 173


| editorial@queenscourier.com


P.S. 173 unveiled a new playground at a ribbon cutting ceremony on November 20 at the school, located at 174-10 67th Avenue in Fresh Meadows. During the ceremony, students performed demonstrations of yoga, music and chess.

The new playground, which took approximately 14 months to build, was designed as a “green space,” and it provides sections for both passive and active recreation. There is also a “Wall of Friendship and Respect,” which was designed with student input.

Secrets to success at P.S. 173


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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Newly-minted Blue Ribbon school P.S. 173 follows through on its mantra of growing future leaders.

The Fresh Meadows elementary school was honored for being a high performing school on September 15, earning itself the federal government’s prestigious Blue Ribbon award and a brand new banner across the school.

According to David Thomas, spokesperson for the United States Department of Education, the school received the award for consistently performing at high levels on New York State assessments in both reading and mathematics. The school’s most recent assessment test scores place it amongst the highest in the nation.
“We don’t know what the exact formula is for success,” said PTA president Stephen Chow. “It’s a combination of the staff and the parental support. Everything that has been done here so far has really worked out to get us the award.”

According to Principal Molly Wang, the formula for success lies in the investment of several long-term school programs, including extracurricular ballroom dancing and drama programs that take place during and after school. But the school takes greater pride in its professional development and dual-language program.

Through the professional development program — now in its fifth year — teachers collaborate with the Columbia University Teachers College, where an on-site literacy staff works with them throughout the year. The program enables teachers to evaluate and revise classroom practices as they may become outdated.

“In the last four years, the kids have done exceptionally well in assessment testing. I believe the teachers are strong in their knowledge and in the delivery of instruction,” Wang said.

Wang also said the teachers are very committed, working passed the afternoon dismissal and often coming in before the sun rises.

“That’s the kind of dedication that they have,” she said. “I think that says it all.”

Additionally, over 11 percent of the school’s population comprises of students who are learning English as a second language, and a majority of them mainly speak Chinese. The school’s English-Mandarin language program gives these students a better chance at understanding the material, while exposing other students to a new language.

“Research has shown that students are able to grasp the concepts more if it’s taught to them in their native language and then followed up in English,” said Jeannette Miranda, fourth-grade dual-language English teacher. “They just have a better understanding of the things that we’re teaching them in both English and in Chinese.”

The goal of the program was to expose the kids to another culture, which Wang hopes will help her little ones out when they grow up and choose a career.

Now in its fourth year, the program has extended to grades one through four.

“Learning a lot of languages is really fun because if you travel the world, you don’t have to open up a giant, heavy book to look up words,” said Jonah, an eight-year old who is currently learning Chinese, English and Hebrew. “I can communicate with people who are new here. I can become a guide for people who come from other countries.”