2012-09-07 / Top Stories

Martin De Porres Responds To Goldfeder

By Nicholas Briano

Martin De Porres is set to open on September 10 at the former Stella Maris High School building located at 140 Beach 112 Street. Martin De Porres is set to open on September 10 at the former Stella Maris High School building located at 140 Beach 112 Street. The Executive Director of Martin De Porres School responded in writing to Phillip Goldfeder’s letter sent to them last week upon news that they will be relocating a special education high school to the former site of Stella Maris High School in Rockaway Park.

Martin De Porres, which was founded in 1972, also serves elementary and middle school kids throughout Queens. The letter was written by their Executive Director Edward C. Dana, in hopes that it would “dispel any such concerns” of troubled teens causing a disturbance in quality of life throughout the area that already has its share of SROs, drug rehabilitation facilities and St. John’s Residence for Boys.

The school, as reported last week by The Wave, will be a high school only, with zero residential programs. Martin De Porres is consolidating their Academy for Career Development located in Elmont with Martin De Porres High School, which was previously located in Rosedale.

“Consolidation of these educational programs at one location on the Stella Maris property will result in significant cost savings and more importantly create better educational programs and opportunities for our students,” Dana wrote in the letter to Goldfeder. “To be clear, Martin De Porres will not be moving any residential programs to the Stella Maris Campus. Instead we will be providing only high school educational programs to our students on that campus.”

Dana hopes the letter will clear up any confusion that somehow links them to St. John’s Residence for Boys which will soon be operating a non-secure detention facility on the premises just an earshot away from Stella Maris. As reported last week, principal Jo’Anne Brancato was open to the possibility of hosting an information session at the school where residents can ask questions about the school and its intentions in Rockaway. No word as of press time if that forum is still planned.

The length of time the Sisters of St. Joseph have leased the property to Martin De Porres is undisclosed. Dana says, however, that the “educational programs that will operate on this site will be substantially the same as the high school programs run by the Sisters of St. Joseph since 1943. As with other locations where Martin De Porres has operated, we will become a valued and respected member of the Rockaway Park Community.”

The official headcount of the school, according to Dana, will be 276 special education students who will be served in a “highly structured and supportive environment.” The letter went on to invite Goldfeder to tour the school once it opens on September 10, for the first day of school and noted that Martin De Porres had received permission from the New York State Education Department to combine the two programs into one high school at Stella Maris.

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