2010-05-28 / Top Stories

PPA Officials: Wave Erred In Front Page Article

By Howard Schwach

The Peninsula Preparatory Academy will move during the summer from its trailers at Arverne By The Sea to the former Stella Maris building. The Peninsula Preparatory Academy will move during the summer from its trailers at Arverne By The Sea to the former Stella Maris building. The principal of the public charter school that will soon be moving to the abandoned Stella Maris High School building says that The Wave made two errors in its front page article in last week’s paper and asked that the misperceptions be corrected.

First of all, principal Ericka Walla said, The Wave wrote that the Peninsula Preparatory Academy (PPA) was operating “rent free” in its trailers at Arverne By The Sea.

Walla said that while the school pays Arverne By The Sea one dollar a year for the land on which the trailers are placed, it pays “thousands of dollars a month” to Vanguard for the rental of the trailer modules themselves.

Secondly, Walla said, some of the present academic numbers presented in the article were “not up to date,” and came from before she took over the school in July of 2009.

The Wave reported that the school received a grade of C on its latest city progress report, with 51 points out of 100. Ninety-eight percent of the elementary and middle schools in the city received either an A or B. Only 1.4 percent of the city’s schools received a C.

In addition, we wrote, 12 percent of the school’s 18 teachers are not certified and a full one-third have been teaching fewer than three years.

The teacher turnover rate at the school, according to the latest state statistics, is 39 percent, meaning that more than a third of the teachers leave the school each year, to be replaced by new staff.

Walla did not dispute the statistics, but rather explained them away.

“There were a number of transitional areas where I am not sure if the information you presented is correct,” Walla said. “Some of the updated information was never submitted to the Department of Education and might not represent the reality of the situation.”

Walla added that the Department of Education does not monitor charter schools as closely as it does public schools and that some updated information does not make the DOE’s website.

“Some of our students had problems with the English Language Arts test, but they all did well in mathematics,” Walla said. We are moving forward in a new administration with a renewal of our goals.”

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