Tag Archives: P.S. 215

Mother arrested after firearm found at Queens school


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

The NYPD has arrested a woman in connection to a Thursday morning incident at a Far Rockaway elementary school where a .22 caliber pistol was discovered in a student’s book bag, said police.

The seven-year-old’s mother, Deborah Farley, 53, of Far Rockaway, has been charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful possession of a weapon.

According to NBC New York, after the boy’s mother dropped him off at Wave Preparatory Academy, she allegedly returned later to take her son to a doctor’s appointment. When she came back with him to the school, the gun was discovered and police were called.

Authorities confiscated the weapon and the school was reportedly put on lockdown.

While investigating the incident, police also found a flare gun that the same child brought into the school,  said the NYPD.

 

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Gun found in 7-year-old’s book bag at Queens school


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A .22 caliber pistol was discovered in a student’s book bag at a Far Rockaway elementary school Thursday morning, said police.

According to NBC New York, after the 7-year-old’s mother dropped him off at Wave Preparatory Academy, she allegedly returned later to take her son to a doctor’s appointment. When she came back with him to the school, the gun was discovered and police were called.

Authorities confiscated the weapon and the school was reportedly put on lockdown.

While investigating the incident, police also found a flare gun that the same child brought into the school,  said the NYPD.

Initial reports stated that the firearm was loaded, but NY1 later reported that there were no bullets in the gun, but some were found in the book bag.

The incident comes just a day after President Obama introduced legislation to reduce gun violence in the wake of recent devastating shootings, including the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.

On Tuesday Governor Cuomo also signed legislation to make New York gun laws the strictest in the country.


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P.S. 215 Lucretia Mott in Queens slated to close


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The Panel for Educational Policy (PEP)  rang the final bell for 23 city schools including P.S. 215 in Far Rockaway.

The decision was made Thursday night at a vote by the PEP at Brooklyn Tech.  The PEP is composed of 13 members chosen by the mayor and the borough presidents.

P.S. 215 Lucretia Mott received an “F” on the most recent progress report released in September.  Minorities comprise over 96 percent of the student body and 90 percent of the students at P.S. 215 qualify for free lunch.

The school will not close immediately, it will instead be phased out — it will not accept any new students and officially close after the current classes graduate.

The 33 schools designated for turnaround will be voted in March or April.  There are eight Queens high schools on the list: Flushing, William Cullen Bryant, Long Island City, Newtown, Grover Cleveland, August Martin, Richmond Hill and John Adams.

P.S. 215 Lucretia Mott faces closure by DOE


| brennison@queenscourier.com

One Queens public school faces a permanent summer vacation after finding itself on the Department of Education’s (DOE) list of schools slated for closure.

P.S. 215 Lucretia Mott in Far Rockaway received an “F” on the most recent progress report released in September.  The school is joined by 18 other schools around the city that may shut their doors for good.

“This announcement represents another stunning failure of DOE management. Rather than doing the hard work of helping struggling schools, the DOE tries to close them, making sure that the hardest-to-educate kids end up concentrated in the next school on the closure list,” said United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew. “It’s playing three-card Monte with children’s lives and education. It’s wrong, and if our attorneys find that the DOE is violating state law in this process, we’ll be seeing them in court.”

The final decision will be made by a Panel for Educational Policy vote in February.

Three other Queens schools — Law, Government and Community Service High School, P.S. 181 and Peninsula Preparatory Academy — were on the original DOE list of 47 schools at risk of closing.

Schools targeted for closure will be phased out and replaced, not closed down completely.

Rockaway Park charter school might close


| mchan@queenscourier.com

The final dismissal bell may soon ring for six underperforming charter schools in the city — including one school in Queens.

According to officials, Peninsula Preparatory Academy Charter School in Rockaway Park joins 46 other struggling schools on the list for potential closures released by the Department of Education (DOE) on November 2. Of the 46 schools facing the ax, 24 are elementary and middle schools, 17 are high schools and six are charter schools.

Schools become candidates for the chopping block if they have warranted a failing grade on the most recent progress report or if they’ve received a “C” for three consecutive years. Schools also qualify for closure if they have received a rating of “Underdeveloped” on the most recent Quality Review or if they were identified as “Persistently Lowest Achieving” (PLA) by the State Education Department.

“The goal of these discussions is to gain a better understanding of where weaknesses in their educational strategy lie and why they are struggling,” said Deputy Schools Chancellor Marc Sternberg. “We’ll take the feedback into consideration as we explore options to improve performance and support student success, and continue to work with all of our schools to ensure that students have access to high quality options.”

According to DOE spokesperson Frank Thomas, Peninsula Preparatory is being considered for closure for many reasons. He said besides the fact that the charter school’s renewal is coming up this year — which puts the school under close examination — Peninsula Preparatory is not on track to meet set goals. He said the school also has a higher than average teacher turnover rate, which means that teachers are frequently leaving the school after brief terms — causing the school to replace teachers often.

Peninsula Preparatory received a “C” on the last two progress reports.

“We’re following our plan of action to improve student achievement, and we’re doing the best that we can,” said Principal Ericka Wala. “We’ll see how it unfolds. I feel good about the progress we’ve made so far.”

The list of schools put on notice has doubled since September, when 20 public elementary and middle schools in the city were targeted for closure, including two elementary schools in Queens — P.S. 215 Lucretia Mott in Woodmere and P.S. 181 Brookfield in Springfield Gardens.

P.S. 215 in Woodmere received an “F” on the most recent progress report and P.S. 181 in Springfield Gardens received a “D.” The schools each performed one grade worse than they did on last year’s progress report. P.S. 215 received a “D” on last year’s report, while P.S. 181 received a “C.”

Soon after September — following the release of high school progress reports — Law, Government and Community Service High School in Cambria Heights also found its way to the constantly-expanding list of schools at risk of termination. The school scored the lowest in the borough this year, with an overall total score of 40.9 percent. It has received a “D” this year and the last, and falls in the bottom 6.7 percentile of city high schools.

But according to DOE officials, decisions to close any school have not been made yet.

For the first time, the DOE has instated an “early engagement process” for charter schools in which DOE and school officials remain in “an ongoing conversation and discussion about areas that schools are doing well in and are not doing well in,” Thomas said.

Any decisions on which schools will close will not come until mid-December at the earliest.

“This isn’t a list of schools to close — it’s just a list of schools that are struggling,” Thomas said. “We take a close look at them to see if they can do better in the future. We always know that they can do better.”

Last year’s list included 12 Queens schools — none of which were closed.

Two Queens schools may be targeted for closure


| brennison@queenscourier.com

A month after new Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott put underperforming middle schools on notice, a list of 20 schools targeted for potential closure was released.

Every school but one on the list received a “D” or an “F” on the school progress reports that were released in September.

Two Queens schools find their name on the list – P.S. 215 Lucretia Mott in Woodmere and P.S. 181 Brookfield in Springfield Gardens.

P.S. 215 in Woodmere received an “F” on the most recent progress report. The other Queens school, P.S. 181 in Springfield Gardens, received a “D.”

Minorities comprise over 96 percent of the student body at each school and 90 percent of the students at P.S. 215 qualify for free lunch.

The schools each performed one grade worse than they did on last year’s progress report. P.S. 215 received a “D” on last year’s report, while P.S. 181 received a “C.”

Though the schools received low grades, parents do not agree they should close.

“[It] is a real good school, they learn a lot there and I don’t think they should close it,” said Mira Calbert, mother of three at P.S. 181.

“I hope they keep it open,” added Paul Munroe, father of two at P.S. 181.

The schools on the list are only in the first stage of evaluations. Any decisions on which schools will close will not come until mid-December at the earliest. An additional list with high schools will be released this month following their progress reports.

Each school on the list will be handled differently, depending on the needs of the school.

“The goal of these discussions is to gain a better understanding of where weaknesses in their educational strategy lie and why they are struggling,” Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg said in a statement.

Schools that are targeted for closure will be phased out and replaced, not closed down completely.

Last year’s list included 12 Queens schools – none of which were closed.

– Additional reporting by Ricky Casiano