Tag Archives: Richmond Hill High School

Report: Five Queens schools falling apart


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of SEIU Local 32BJ

Some city schools need a major makeover, according to a building inspections report released by the school cleaners’ union.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ issued a report on the 20 schools in the worst condition after tallying scores from the city’s annual school inspections. Out of about 1,500 schools citywide, five Queens schools made the list of top offenders.

In all five schools, SEIU 32BJ found crumbling interiors as well as toxins on tiles and in the air.

“It’s hazardous material that we’re talking about removing from our schools immediately,” said Gene Syzmanski, the union’s schools division director.

I.S. 238 in Hollis climbed the charts to second worst on the list. One school cleaner said the building needs wide-ranging fixes.

“The water valves need to be repaired,” he said. “Every classroom has a stain from leaks. I feel bad when I see the building like this.”

The cleaner, who withheld his name from publication, said he wants to fix everything in a state of disrepair.

But he added that the head custodian will not cooperate.

“When I tell him something is broken, he says leave it,” the cleaner explained. “He said to me, ‘Don’t worry about it, it’s not your problem.’”

The man said roughly 2,000 lights throughout the building are not working, many door handles are broken and bathrooms are “falling apart.”

I.S. 72 in Jamaica came in as the seventh worst school. Other Queens schools on the list included the Cynthia Jenkins School in Jamaica, P.S. 86, also in Jamaica, and Richmond Hill High School.

The report also said schools in the city’s poorest neighborhoods were in the worst condition.

“I’ve visited many schools,” Syzmanski said. “In the more affluent neighborhoods, the schools were immaculate.”

The Department of Education (DOE) said it spends more than $3 billion in building improvements under its capital plan and any serious maintenance-related complaints are “addressed immediately, as are simple, easy fixes.”

“We consistently provide a clean, safe and healthy learning and working environment in our 1,260 school buildings every day,” a DOE spokesperson said.

Local 32BJ said the priority was to remove everything containing hazardous material, such as asbestos on tiles.

“This stuff needs to be removed as soon as possible for the benefit of the children and everybody who works for the schools,” said Syzmanski.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Mostly cloudy. High of 43. Breezy. Winds from the WNW at 15 to 20 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 32. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Felice Lesser Dance Theater

On Friday, March 22, at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, the Felice Lesser Dance Theater presents a performance of new and old works, original dances to music by contemporary composers, and excerpts from several living movies, combining live dance with theater, video, animation and music. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Canadian cops help bust Queens teen who allegedly made Facebook threat against Richmond Hill High School dean

An angry 14-year-old Queens boy triggered an international police probe when Canadian cops spotted his Facebook threat to shoot his school’s dean — and then alerted the NYPD. Read more: New York Daily News

Pit Bulls attack people in Queens

Police are investigating a dog attack that left a couple of people injured in the St. Albans section of Queens. Read more: ABC New York

Queens immigrant awarded $59G after brutal beating by cops while walking dog

A Queens woman was awarded $59,000 in damages by a federal jury that found NYPD cops used excessive force in arresting her in November 2010 for not cleaning up after her dog in Rockaway. Read more: New York Daily News

Taxi credit-card system crashes

Cash-strapped taxi passengers were out of luck yesterday after the system that wirelessly links to credit-card fare machines in thousand of cabs went down for hours. Read more: New York Post

Met Museum to open 7 days a week

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be open seven days a week beginning July 1, the institution’s director and chief executive Thomas Campbell announced on Thursday. Read more: Crains New York

Commuter Cycling Stays Flat in ’12

After years of growth in bike ridership, commuter cycling in New York remained flat in 2012 during the typical riding season, according to counts conducted by the city at six commuter locations last year. Read more: New York Times

Alleged al-Qaida operative due in New York City court

An alleged al-Qaida operative fought with the terror group in Afghanistan and later plotted to bomb American diplomatic facilities in Africa, according to federal prosecutors. Read more: ABC New York/AP

 

 

Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

identify

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken?

Guess by commenting below!

The answer will be revealed on Friday.

 

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Richmond Hill High School

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with a chance of rain. High of 63. Winds from the NE at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%. Tuesday night: Overcast. Low of 55. Winds from the NE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Meet the Candidates

St. John’s is holding a Meet the Candidates night from 7 p.m.to 9 p.m. at the Belson Moot Courtroom in the School of Law, where candidates for the New York State Legislature will take part in a public forum to discuss issues of importance to college students and the local community. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

 Grand jury probe likely in shooting

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly on Monday said a grand jury would have to decide whether criminal charges are warranted in the fatal shooting of an unarmed motorist in Queens last week by a detective. Read more: Wall Street Journal

Four teens killed in horrific car crash on Long Island; teen at wheel only had learner’s permit

They died on Dead Man’s Curve. Four Queens teenagers were killed Monday when their car — driven by a 17-year-old with only a learner’s permit — sped off a treacherous stretch of a Long Island highway and wrapped itself around a tree. Read more: New York Daily News

Churches battle liquor store next door

Two churches in Queens are now in the middle of a nasty battle because of what’s in the middle between them. Read more: ABC New York

Residents upset over calls that accuse State Senate candidate of supporting Muslim radicals

Joseph Concannon is a relatively unknown Republican State Senate candidate but he’s created an uproar in the 11th district. Bayside residents like Andy Rothman are crying foul over a Concannon robocall that accuses incumbent State Sen. Tony Avella of supporting Muslim radicals. Read more: NY1

U.S. meningitis cases mount from thousands of patients at risk

More cases of fungal meningitis tied to contaminated steroid shots are expected to be confirmed on Tuesday, U.S. health officials said, and some patients who received the injections may have to wait weeks to know if they are infected. Read more: Reuters

Sandusky to learn sentence in child sex abuse case

Jerry Sandusky will learn what penalty a judge considers appropriate for the 45 counts of child sexual abuse for which the former Penn State assistant football coach was convicted in June. Read more: AP

DOE’s ‘temporary’ fix to classroom overcrowding


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Sweetina Kakar

Freshmen at Richmond Hill High School may soon have to don their jackets just to get to class.

Across the borough, Temporary Classroom Units (TCUs) are used to supplement classroom space to accommodate the massive number of students coming in.

Richmond Hill High School, one of these schools, currently has 11 TCUs, a Department of Education (DOE) spokesperson said, and eight of those have recently been replaced due to wear and tear.

While students find only some problems with the units, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) says the trailers do not provide the right atmosphere for learning.

“The UFT has received numerous complaints about these trailers and their current conditions — most of them are over 10 years old,” a May report read. “Providing instruction under sub-standard conditions compromises children’s education. Parents need to know what is going on in their schools and the earlier in the school year, the better.”

The study concluded that the number of these temporary classrooms had dropped little over a 10-year period, from 2001 through 2011. Ten years ago 3.9 percent of permanent students — at elementary and high schools — were in temporary classrooms, according to the UFT report. Since then, the number has only dropped by about 1,000 students, to 2.9 percent.

Because of poor conditions in the trailers boroughwide, the facilities had been failing over time, affecting the quality of education.

James Vasquez, the Queens high school district representative for the UFT, said the problem with these trailers was the notion that they were a temporary correction to a larger problem. Although referred to as temporary, Vasquez said trailers have been at some high schools for up to 15 years.

“These trailers are not holding up well, so what do they do over the summer? They replace them with new trailers,” he said. “These temporary trailers have really become permanent fixtures in many of these schools.”

The DOE was not able to respond for comment regarding the department’s time frame on how long these classrooms would be there.

Students at the school don’t seem to mind the trailers, with the exception of a few complaints.

Suraia Munia, now a senior, said she had classes in these units as a freshman, and didn’t mind the conditions, only that transferring from place to place could be a hassle.

“I think the condition was not bad,” said Munia, 18. “It was kind of hard because afterward I had to go to the third floor and it takes time to go to the third floor from outside. [When it was winter] we had to get our jackets and everything when we were going to the trailers. Right now they’re making changes in the classrooms in the trailer. I think they’re trying to make it better.”

Other students, like Chris Leom, a sophomore who was in one of the units last year, said that while conditions are bad, the difference in education does not have much of a difference, possibly even better.

“[Teachers] will actually say ‘Chris why aren’t you doing your work.’ They actually care about their students,” he said. “You can actually learn something and have a teacher that makes you want to actually do work. The only downside about classes outside that it was cold, snowing or it’s a rainy day, but other than that I loved the trailers. The trailers were better in technology; they have air-conditioning and they had smart-boards and the same thing they have inside.”

— With additional reporting by Sweetina Kakar

16 Queens schools face shutdown by state


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

After seven Queens high schools won a nearly yearlong battle with the city to remain open, the institutions — along with 10 other borough schools — find themselves on a state list of schools that need to shape up or shut down.

New York state education officials unveiled a list of 123 schools in the city that face closure by the 2014 school year if improvements are not made. The list is made of schools in the bottom 5 percent on test scores and graduation rates.

Twenty-two borough schools also made the state’s list of the best in New York.

Six Queens high school were marked for turnaround by the city — which would have closed and reopened the institutions under new names — before a judge overruled the decision. Now, the schools again find themselves on a list that might mean their closure.

“The state’s new system more closely resembles the city’s school Progress Reports by recognizing growth and measuring students’ college and career readiness. This year, 55 schools were recognized for their strong performance and fewer schools were identified as struggling,” Chancellor Dennis Walcott said.  “There is still more work to do, and we will continue to support our struggling schools while holding them accountable to the high standards our students deserve.”

The Queens schools include 12 high schools, three middle schools and an elementary school.

The schools are: Newtown High School, Grover Cleveland High School, Flushing High School, Martin Van Buren High School, Beach Channel High School, August Martin High School, Richmond Hill High School, John Adams High School, Excelsior Prep High School, Jamaica High School, Long Island City High School, William Cullen Bryant High School, M.S. 53, J.H.S. 8, I.S. 192 and P.S. 111.

 

 

Queens schools score on DOE progress reports


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Students at The Academy of Finance and Enterprise spend the last two periods of the day participating in a “virtual enterprise,” trading stocks and being the CEO of their own company.

Queens high schools can hang their good report cards on the fridge.

This year, according to the Department of Education’s (DOE) annual high school progress report, 19 high schools in Queens received the coveted “A” letter grade, and there were no failing schools in the borough.

The annual report awards public high schools letter grades from “A” to “F” based on student progress toward graduation, performance on standardized tests and coursework and student attendance. They also take into account surveys from parents, students and teachers about their schools and the academic progress made with students with disabilities.

New this year, the report measures how many students in each high school perform well in advanced courses and go on to enroll in college, as well as the progress and graduation rates of black and Latino male students.

The Academy of Finance and Enterprise in Long Island City scored the highest in the borough with a grade of 89.5 percent. The top scoring grade places the school in the top 98.5 percentile of all surveyed high schools in the city.

“This couldn’t have happened if the teachers, staff and students didn’t come together to make sure they succeed,” said Assistant Principal Victoria Armano. “We are a caring community who treats all our children with respect. We provide them with extra support. We want them to get their diploma and go beyond.”
Student Sylwia Baj is not surprised at her school’s success. The senior said her school has done a good job preparing her for the real world.

“For juniors specifically, the school strives to prepare us for the SATs. There are a lot of extra opportunities for us to get help in school,” she said.
Still, not all schools made the grade.

The Law, Government and Community Service High School in Cambria Heights was the lowest scoring school, with an overall total score of 40.9 percent. The school received a “D” and falls in the bottom 6.7 percentile of city high schools.

“It’s not really surprising,” said Malik, a senior who is transferring out of the school. “I feel like the teachers could work a little bit harder with the kids. I don’t think they show us enough attention. They let us do a lot of other stuff in class instead of work. I’m not coming back.”
Students from Humanities and the Arts High School — who share the same Campus Magnet High School building with students from Law and Government — said the score was expected.

“They don’t do any work. They don’t go to class. They stay in the hallway all the time,” said Malcolm, a senior at Humanities and the Arts. “There are also a lot of fights. It’s pretty obvious that it’s not a good school, and once you go to the school, you find out it’s horrible.”
Officials from the high school declined to comment.

Among the other five schools that received a “D” are Flushing High School, Richmond Hill High School, August Martin High School in Jamaica, Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village and Pan American International High School in Elmhurst.

According to data from the DOE, of the 54 high schools surveyed this year, 16 high schools in Queens earned a “B” and 13 received a “C.”
For more information or to find a specific school’s progress report, visit http://schools.nyc.gov/ProgressReport.