Public Schools Open Doors
As with every year in recent memory, the public schools opened their doors to teachers the day after Labor Day. That has been the tradition for decades.
That is about the only tradition that will carry over into this school year, however. The governance of the schools in Community School District 27 has moved from a district model (although a District 27 superintendent still exists) to a Region model that brings together diverse districts under one head. In addition, this school year brings a new, standard curriculum in both reading and mathematics to all of our schools and a number of new principals to run those schools.
In fact, every teacher in the system has already undergone a three-day, intensive staff development process to learn about those new curricula and how to present that material to students.
"Teachers are on the front line of our effort to improve student achievement," Chancellor Joel Klein said of the intensive staff development program. "We are committed to supporting our teachers with the strong professional development they need to excel in the classroom and to fulfill their professional goals."
In addition, the Department of Education has provided each of the city’s 80,000 teachers with CD-Roms that present the new programs.
The staff development program in Region Five, which now includes all of the schools that were formerly in District 27, is headed by Roz German, who was introduced by Kathleen Cashin at the Town Hall Meeting at PS 114 last week.
The Rockaway and Broad Channel schools are now supervised by Kathleen Cashin, who is housed in the old district office at 82-01 Rockaway Boulevard in Ozone Park.
She is assisted by 11 Instructional Supervisors, each with a responsibility for a number of schools.
The majority of Rockaway schools will be supervised by Rita Geramita (who is also designated as district school superintendent) and Michelle Lloyd-Bay, who was formerly District 27 Superintendent.
In addition, there are a number of new principals in Rockaway schools this year.
The newly-appointed principal at Beach Channel High School is Barbara Pleener.
Riva Madden replaces Juanita Bass at PS 42 on Beach 66 Street.
Brian O’Connell begins his first full year at PS 114 after replacing that school’s principal late last year.
Michael Koss is the new principal at PS 197 in Far Rockaway.
Angela Logan replaces Beth Longo as principal of MS 198 in Arverne.
There are a number of other changes to this school year as well.
Classroom time will grow by 50 minutes per week, as will professional development time.
Ten new schools for disruptive students have been funded – one for each of the new regions. At press time, however, there was no comment from school officials on when the new school would open in Region Five.
Each school will have a parent coordinator who will be supplied with a cellular telephone and a personal number to call that will be provided to parents.
This year, seniors in high school must pass all five Regents tests in order to graduate.
"This is going to be an important year," one school administrator who asked to not be identified, told The Wave. "It will also be a contentious and confusing year."
"The question is," the administrator added, "is whether any of this new stuff will have an impact on classroom instruction and test scores."