2004-06-04 / Front Page

BEEP: MS 180 To Become ‘Lab School’

By Howard Schwach

BEEP: MS 180 To Become ‘Lab School’

By Howard Schwach

For the past ten years, many west end parents have voted against Middle School 180 for their children by moving them from PS 114 to parochial schools, private schools and even to magnet schools in Brooklyn’s School District 21.

District administrators and school board members spent thousands of hours over that time trying to come up with a plan that would bring those students back to Rockaway.

A plan developed by the new Region Five Superintendent Kathleen Cashin was announced early this school year to turn the troubled middle school into a school for gifted students from throughout the district.

Now, Borough President Helen Marshall wants to take the school one step further by turning it into a "laboratory school" that would train teacher-interns and provide a local venue for teachers who seek higher degrees to access the City University system.

"Right now, teachers in Rockaway schools have to travel to either Brooklyn or Queens to get their graduate credits," says Cashin. "They would be able to do that in the afternoons at MS 180 under the Borough President’s plan."

The plan envisions that interns and students preparing to be teachers would work with MS 180 students during the school day, under the supervision of both region staff development staff and City University of New York (CUNY) professors.

After school is over for the day, the school would morph into a full-scale CUNY unit, working with teachers and others who wish to achieve either bachelors or advanced degrees.

Cashin said that the institution of the magnet program, coupled with Marshall’s lab school proposal, will bring the Rockaway students home to the peninsula for middle school.

"We want MS 180 to become a magnet for people who live in the Rockaways," says Cashin. "We want young teachers working with and learning with the students who will be drawn to the school for the gifted program."

"Too many young teachers come to Rockaway schools and run away screaming," she added. "We want to stop that by nurturing the young teachers while they learn their craft."

In addition to the MS 180 program, Marshall wants to renovate the old Rockaway Courthouse on Beach 92 Street and Beach Channel Drive for use as a full-blown CUNY unit.

The district’s gifted program will operate at both PS 114 and PS 105 next school year.

In September of 2005, however, the program will be consolidated at MS 180.

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