Tag Archives: school progress reports

Jamaica school wins fight to stay open

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of P.S. 140

The Department of Education (DOE) has taken Jamaica’s Public School 140 off the chopping block.

“There are a lot of good things happening here,” said Principal David Norment.

Since taking over as principal last school year, Norment has made significant changes to the K-5 school, changes that were not evident on the latest DOE progress report.

First, he implemented a system that would hold teachers, students and parents accountable.

Students are now assessed every six weeks, which allows teachers and parents to identify in which area each individual student needs help. The teachers are able to alter their lesson plans, and parents receive information regularly about their child’s progress.

“We really looked at creating a [system to] measure students’ progress and growth aside from city tests,” said Norment.

The DOE threatened the ax last October, and since then, P.S. 140 parents, teachers and students fought actively to stay open. They held meetings, attended rallies and spoke with local elected officials. At a joint public hearing on Friday, February 22, the DOE decided to withdraw its phase-out proposal and leave P.S. 140 open.

“Students, parents and community leaders pointed to promising quantitative and qualitative signs that suggest this school can get on the right track quickly,” said the DOE.

“We’re making school not just testing and testing, but the whole child experience,” Norment said. “You don’t just make sudden changes, it takes time.”



Four schools in Queens on the chopping block

| mhayes@queenscourier.com


Four Queens schools are on the chopping block after receiving poor marks on the Department of Education’s (DOE) progress reports.

The four — I.S. 59, J.H.S 8, P.S. 140 and P.S./M.S. 156 — are from a list of roughly 40 borough schools that received low grades. Their fate was finalized after the department reviewed grades; past performance; quality reviews; plans already underway to improve the school; leadership performance and district and community needs. The four are part of a group of 36 schools citywide.

“We have begun conversations with 36 schools that we have identified as struggling. These are difficult conversations, but it’s important to have this dialogue and hold our schools to the highest of standards,” said DOE Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg. “The goal of these discussions is to gain a better understanding of what’s happening at these schools and give them the opportunity to talk about the challenges they face, the strategies and interventions already underway, and what strategies or interventions will be most meaningful to the school as they move forward.”

Conversations between the struggling schools and the DOE will continue, and within the coming weeks will be set for closure, or given a chance at redemption.

41 Queens schools could face closure

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

It could be final bell for 217 city schools whose progress reports showed dismal grades.

The progress reports include “A” through “F” grades of 1,193 elementary and middle schools. The schools who scored a “D” or an “F,” or no higher than a “C” for three years, could be on the chopping block, with this year’s citywide number up from last year’s report of 116.

Among those in Queens could be the 31 schools who have scored three consecutive “Cs” or below, nine schools with a “D,” and the one Jamaica school with an “F,” P.S. 140 Edward K. Ellington.

“It’s the staff,” said Nikieva Millian, mother of two students at the elementary school, who shook her head when she heard the grade.

Out of a total score of 100, the school scored a 21 based on the Department of Education (DOE) standards.

According to a DOE statistical breakdown, grades are based on a compilation of student progress, performance and school environment. Progress and performance mainly come from standardized test scores, and English and Math scores at P.S. 140 are down.

“The teacher [my son] had wasn’t teaching him anything. They like to argue with the kids,” said Millian. “Call the parents, don’t argue with students.”

Since 2010, a study indicates that performance at the school, that recently added a pre-kindergarten, has decreased.

Principal David Norment did not return calls or emails for comment.

“The principal doesn’t like to talk to anybody,” said Millian. “If you have a complaint, you have to deal with the people in the office.”

It is not yet confirmed whether P.S. 140, among other schools with bad marks, will indeed face closure. The DOE will be releasing a list of schools on notice within the week, though they did not respond to repeated calls for comment.

This year, school standards have expanded and coursework has become more demanding so as to build a more solid foundation for students who continue to higher education.

“Our elementary and middle schools build on the foundation of early learning to set our students on a path for college and career readiness,” said DOE Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

Elementary and middle school curriculum now has higher standards, including good performance in critical thinking, defending arguments and executing experiments.

In Queens, which is home to school districts 24 through 30, school progress reports overall surpassed those of any other borough. District 26 came out as the highest performing district.

Millian, a concerned parent, does not wish for P.S. 140 to close, but believes there is a need for a more adequate staff.

“They should have more monitors,” she said. “As an adult, you’re supposed to take care of the kids.”