Tag Archives: P.S. 221

Survey says overcrowding problem at Queens schools


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Queens schools are failing in at least one subject– classroom sizes.

Hillcrest High School in Jamaica ranked highest in the number of oversized classrooms, 400, and Bayside’s Benjamin Cardozo High School follows with 385, according to a recent United Federation of Teachers (UFT) survey.

More than 230,000 students citywide spent some of the first few weeks back to school in crowded classes, the study found. About 6,313 classes were overcrowded, up almost 200 from last year, but more than 1,000 of those classes were found in Queens high schools alone.

Overcrowding is a problem throughout the entire city school system, but “Queens high schools have been hit the worst,” the UFT said.

Class sizes around the city in grades 1 through 3 have now reached a 14-year high. Although they have not reached the classroom size limit of 32 seats, first and second grade has grown to an average of 24 seats per class, with 25 in third grade.

“It is time to take this issue seriously,” said Michael Mulgrew, UFT president. “All our students, especially our youngest children, desperately need smaller class sizes.”

Recently Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that under his administration New York City schools had improved outstandingly on the academic side.

During his time in office many schools were shuttered, but more than new 650 schools were created. Bloomberg said 22 of the top 25 schools in the state are from New York City, and none were on that list before his administration.

“After 12 years reforming our once-broken school system, it’s clear that our hard work has paid huge dividends for our students,” Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show.

In fact, three Queens elementary schools, P.S. 46 in Oakland Gardens, P.S. 66 in Richmond Hill and P.S. 221 in Little Neck,  Richmond Hillwere named to the prestigious national Blue Ribbon award for excellence in education on September 24.

Despite the academic improvements, the UFT said children shouldn’t have to try to learn in overcrowded classrooms.

“Twelve years of Michael Bloomberg, and hundreds of thousands of students start the school year in oversize classes,” Mulgrew said. “There is no excuse for letting students stay in an oversize class.”

 

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Three Queens elementary schools receive Blue Ribbon award


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The coveted federal Blue Ribbon award will go to three Queens elementary schools this year, U.S. education officials announced early this week.

P.S. 46 in Oakland Gardens, P.S. 66 in Richmond Hill and P.S. 221 in Little Neck earned their prestigious titles on September 24.

The honor is given to public and private schools that have demonstrated significant student achievement, education officials said. It is based on overall academic excellence or improvement.

“We’re pretty excited,” said Principal Marsha Goldberg of P.S. 46. “The students realize the impact as much as the adults do. This is their expectation. To them, it’s another day at school.”

Principal Patricia Bullard of P.S. 221 said her school’s award was achieved through “the hard work of our conscientious students, dedication of our talented staff and support of our parents.”

“I am extremely proud of our entire school community for achieving this national distinction,” she said in a statement. “P.S. 221 is truly a special place.”

Over in Richmond Hill, P.S. 66 was also beaming with pride.

“I’ve been in this community as a teacher since 1976,” said Principal Phyllis Leinwand. “On a personal level, I’m very proud, having been in this area for nearly four decades, that this amazing accolade is being shared by the south Queens community.”

The U.S. Department of Education named 286 schools in the country this year as Blue Ribbon institutions. Award recipients also include two schools in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan.

“Excellence in education matters and we should honor the schools that are leading the way to prepare students for success in college and careers,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

“National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education,” Duncan continued.

The Blue Ribbon honorees will be celebrated in November at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

 

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