2005-04-15 / Community

PS 225 Teachers Out In Reorganization

By Howard Schwach

All the teachers at Public School 225 in Rockaway Beach have started a process that will end with either retention at the troubled school or reassignment to another city public school, according to a teacher, who asked not to be identified.

On March 28, the teachers at the school, which has been designated as a School Under Register Review (SURR) by the New York State Department of Education, were called to together and give the news that the city will reorganize the school for September of 2005.

Parents were advised on March 30, according to a source at the school.

A spokesperson for the New York City Department of Education (DOE) corroborated the teacher’s information.

“The school has been a SURR school for a number of years and under our rules and the UFT contract, all of the teachers presently at the school who want to stay have to submit an application and there will be a slection process later in the year.”

The rules for reorganizing a failing school mandate that up to fifty percent of the present staff may be retained. The other fifty percent will either have to find a new position for themselves through the transfer process or be reassigned by the DOE.

“Teachers are scrambling,” the school staffer said. “Anybody who can will probably retire. Some will look to the School-Based Option transfer program and others will look at the seniority transfer program when it becomes available in May or June.”

While it is believed that the present administration, led by school principal Matthew Melchiorre, will remain in place, a second assistant principal will be assigned under the reorganization process.

The school will also get a new curriculum and new books and equipment as part of the process.

Two years ago, as a last act prior to disbanding, Community School Board 27 attempted to rezone the school, which had some of the lowest standardized test scores in the district, to make the school into a true “community-based school.”

Many years ago, when the school first opened, the Board of Education, in an attempt to maintain a racial balance in a mostly-white neighborhood, zoned the children from Ocean Village to PS 225 rather than to their neighborhood schools – PS 42 and PS 183. That zoning anomaly, a source said, has been maintained until today even thought the area around the school changed over the years.

That rezoning plan was never carried out by the new Region Five administration, nor are their any plans on the part of the Department of Education, which replaced the Board of Education when Mayor Michael Bloomberg too responsibility for the school system, reportedly have any plans for such as rezoning as part of the reorganization.

The plan is expected to be in place for school opening in September.

Many other schools in New York City, Including Far Rockaway High School, are undergoing reoranizations as well.

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