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Forum Post: Destruction of a Queens School

Posted 1 year ago on Feb. 24, 2013, 12:18 p.m. EST by prometheus (0)
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For about 30 years now The Academy for the Intellectually Gifted, which is located inside P.S. 122 (21-21 Ditmars Blvd), has produced some of New York's brightest minds. The numbers speak for themselves. Over 90% of these kids attend schools such as Stuyvesant H.S., Bronx H.S. of Science, Hunter College H.S., Townsend Harris, and Bard H.S Early College. Almost all get into screened program. It is important to note that the vast majority of these students come from immigrant families that are either low or lower middle income households.

Much can be said about The Academy's track record. However, in our times, the city loves to talk about "data", so we'll share a couple of hard data points so you can get an even better picture. If you look at the top ten middle schools in NYC, The Academy at 122 is the only one where 100% of the students meet or exceed the standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics. Also, it is the only school where 100% of the kids get to take high school courses and 100% of them actually receive credit for those courses. In other words, when it comes to high school readiness, The Academy is doing an amazing job.

As a result of the aforementioned successes, the Department of Education has decided on phasing out this outstanding and time tested school. Starting next year, any incoming kindergarten student will be allowed to stay through grade 8 despite the fact that the building at 21-21 Ditmars Blvd has never been a K-8 school. At the same time, the number of Academy classes will have to shrink from 11 to 3! Additionally, the building's population will increase by at least 50% which will have a severe impact on programs such as Art, Health, Dance, etc. As one member of the Community Education Council 30 pointed out, this will also mean that kids at 122 will have to start eating lunch at around 9:30 A.M. due to the scheduling nightmare that will be created. In other words, this will be a disaster for all children, whether they are in the gifted program or not.

We need everyone's help with trying to stop this monstrosity. This is bad for our community in so many ways. However, another Community Education Council member made a great point. By forcibly converting the 122 building into a K-8, and ostensibly killing the gifted program there, the local Junior H.S., 141 on 23rd avenue, will lose a great number of students. The extra space that will be created there is actually just the right amount for a charter school opening. What a surprise. This point is re-iterated by another gentleman, John Collins, who is a Queens College professor, on an online petition that is being circulated:

Name: John Collins on Feb 23, 2013 Comments: This is yet another example of NYC politicians closing off educational opportunities for middle class NYers by privatizing public education...they're trying to clear a space for a charter school at IS141...it's pretty obvious. As an educator and former 122 parent I can say clearly that right now 122 does perhaps the best job of preparing non-elite students for NYC's specialized high schools. By destroying our Academy they're simply reserving seats for Manhattan's elite...and they're doing it by hitting the kids early in life so they have no chance to catch up or learn what the masters of the universe have the $$ to buy. Sad. But that's our city today. No wonder middle class people leave Astoria/Jackson Heights/LIC for the suburbs...

Please consider helping us with this fight. To start with please call our local representatives (contact info below) and tell them that you are outraged at these actions of the Department of Education. Please tell them that you support The Academy at 122 and are against the opening of charter schools in our neighborhood. Also, contact the Office of Portfolio Planning at the DOE and deliver the same message. Lastly, please sign the attached petition so that the Department of Education and our representatives know there are many residents against this plan.

Thank you so much!

NYC Councilman and Queens Borough President Candidate Peter Vallone Jr. Emails: Vallone4NY@gmail.com http://council.nyc.gov/d22/html/members/contact.shtml Telephone Number: (718) 274-4500

Astoria District Leader and City Council Candidate Costas Constantinides Email: Costa4Astoria@gmail.com

NYS Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas Email: simotasa@assembly.state.ny.us Telephone Number: (718) 545-3889

NYS Senator Michael Gianaris Email: Gianaris@nysenate.gov Telephone Number: (718) 728-0960

Office of Portfolio Management at the Department of Education: opm@schools.nyc.gov

Petition Link : http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-the-academy-at-ps-122/

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