2004-02-06 / Front Page

Sweeping School Changes Coming

Sweeping School Changes Coming

Community School Board 27 will vote on Wednesday, February 11, on a resolution proposing sweeping chan ges for Rockaway’s public schools, in clud ing a much-discussed "Scholar’s Aca demy" Program for gifted students.

That sweeping plan impacts on almost every school in Rockaway, perhaps with the exception of some schools in the far eastern portion of the peninsula.

Under the proposed plan, a "Scholar’s Academy" would be set up this year at both PS 114 and PS 105 as an option for all sixth grade students in the district. The academy would have specific entrance requirements that have yet to be drawn. Effective in September of 2005, however, those two Scholar’s Academy units would be merged and relocated to MS 180 for the seventh grade. The academy would then transition in a grade five to grade 8 program. Eligible students will be able to apply for the program in Grade 4.

It is expected that Brian O’Connell, the principal of PS 114, would become the principal of the merged unit once it moves to MS 180.

The ALPS Program, which has run at MS 180 for the past several years, will morph to become the Channel View School of Environmental Research and will be housed at Beach Channel High School as a grades six to 12 program. The Channel View program will have specific entrance requirements as well. The program will be open to all Rockaway and Broad Channel students.

At the beginning of the 2004-2005 school year, PS 42, PS 105, PS 114, PS 183 and PS 225 would be changed to grades Kindergarten to five schools. A transition period would be used to gradually change the school’s organization.

Middle School 198 would transition from a zoned middle school to a Pre-Kindergarten to Grade eight school with an Astre gifted program added to the school’s organization. The Astre program, which has specific entrance requirements, will be open to all Rockaway elementary school students.

MS 180 would no longer be a zoned middle school. In 2004-2005 students at the school will be allowed to stay there until their terminal year. Beginning with 2005-2006, however, MS 180 will house only a Grade 8 unit and the Scholar’s Academy.

PS 47 would remain a Grade Kindergarten to eight school, but students would no longer have the option of going to MS 180 for the eighth grade.

The school board will attempt to change the Federal Magnet Grant Program that presently runs at MS 180 and two local elementary schools so that the money can be used at PS 183, PS 225, The Channel View Academy and Beach Channel High School.

Public hearings will be held on each of the changes.

CSB 27 President Steve Greenberg told The Wave at press time that the Department of Education had asked him not to allow the board to vote on the new resolutions.

Greenberg, however, says that he told them, "We have already gone to the community on this and we plan to vote on the changes."

"If the Department of Education does not like the changes," he added, "they can do what they have to do about it."

Any parent who wants to speak at the 8 p.m. meeting must call the board office at 718-642-5805 before noon on February 11.

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