MS 198 No More, Now 'The Goldie Maple School'
In late June, the oft-troubled school closed its doors to middle school students for the foreseeable future. In September, Department of Education (DOE) officials say, it will reopen as Public School 333, officially to be known as The Goldie Maple Academy.
The school is named for Goldie Maple, a long-time school activist and a former Community School Board 27 member.
"The school, located at Beach 56 Street in Arverne, has been on the SURR list [Schools Under Register Review] by the state for a number of years," a DOE spokesperson told The Wave last week. "The department and the region decided that it needed a new protocol, a new start."
The school will open as a kindergarten to grade four school in September and plans to add a grade each year until it becomes a K-8 school, officials say. While the school's administration, including its principal, Angela Logan, will remain in place in the academy's organization, on the last day of school, all of the teaching staff received excess notices from the school, which directs them to find positions at other schools. Logan told The Wave that she is excited about the changes. "This is the largest major change since the school's inception," she said. "We have had a lot of support from both the community and Region Five and we expect this to become a real hands-on school."
Local Instructional Superintendent Michelle Lloyd-Bay said that the school, which will be a "choice school" in that students will have to apply to the program, will have many features that the old school did not have.
For example, all of the students this year will have the use of their own Dell laptop computer. The entire school has been wired for the Internet and there is a new computer laboratory. Students in all grades will be required to wear the school uniform.
In addition, a new library, donated by rap mogul Sean Combs, will be open in September. Spanish will be taught to all of the students.
Lloyd-Bay said that the major change will be in curriculum. The school will utilize the interdisciplinary "Core Knowledge" program.
The Core Knowledge movement, according to its Website, is an educational reform based on the premise that a grade-by-grade core of common learning is necessary to ensure a sound and fair elementary education," that Website says.
Both the former staff and the school face some challenges this summer.
The teachers who were excessed will have to locate a new assignment through the department's Internal Hiring Support Center. While most of the work is done on-line, teachers who have been working in Rockaway for many years may well now end up in other parts of Region Five, which encompasses Rockaway, South Queens and parts of Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn.
A DOE spokesperson said that all of the teachers will be guaranteed jobs because excessed teachers have rights over new teachers coming into the system.
The school also faces challenges. "We have given the students in grades one to three at PS 105 and PS 42 incentives to apply to the Goldie Maple Academy," Lloyd-Bay said. "The number [of students] who have applied, however is low.
We have to get those student numbers up to keep our art [program], to keep the Broadway shows and to get the money to run the programs that we want to run."
While the school now counts 225 students, a register of approximately 280 is necessary for optimum funding, Region Five officials say.
"To honor Maple, we are looking for rigor," Lloyd-Bay said. "We are looking for students to be challenged, but also to have fun."