2017-03-10 / Front Page

Community Slams DOE Proposal for New Charter School

By Angelica Katz


Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (center) holds a protest with students, parents and community activists, District Leader Lew Simon and John Cori, President of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association, to reject the NYC Department of Education’s proposal to place an additional charter school at Channel View School for Research in Rockaway Park. Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (center) holds a protest with students, parents and community activists, District Leader Lew Simon and John Cori, President of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association, to reject the NYC Department of Education’s proposal to place an additional charter school at Channel View School for Research in Rockaway Park. The NYC Department of Education’s proposal to add a new charter school in Rockaway Park is being met with stiff opposition from residents.

During a lively public hearing, on March 8, in the auditorium of Channel View School for Research, opponents expressed dismay at plans announced last week that would add a new charter school inside the Q410 building.

“There’s just not enough space,” said Brianna Santiago, a current student at Channel View who spoke at the hearing. “We have to already share our gym, our field and our electronics. We don’t need another school to cut our resources and limit our space even more.”


Brianna Santiago, a current student at Channel View testifies at the public hearing held by the NYC Department of Education claiming the new charter school will stretch resources too thin and overcrowd her school’s building. 
Photo By Angelica Katz Brianna Santiago, a current student at Channel View testifies at the public hearing held by the NYC Department of Education claiming the new charter school will stretch resources too thin and overcrowd her school’s building. Photo By Angelica Katz In 2014, after Beach Channel High School graduated it’s last class, it became Q410 which now houses many other schools and community programs including Channel View School for Research (27Q262), Rockaway Park High School for Environmental Sustainability (27Q324), Rockaway Collegiate High School (27Q351), P.S. Q256 (75Q256), Alternate Learning Center - Beach Channel Educational Complex (88Q996), and the District 79 programs, LYFE and Restart Academy as well as two community based organizations, Millennium and Partnership with Children.

At the hearing, many local community members and parents as well as students claimed the co-location of an additional school would overcrowd an already packed building.

“Co-locations work, but not when you’re co-locating in a building that already houses six other schools,” said Khaleel Anderson, member of Community Board 14.

Prior to the public hearing, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato held a protest outside on the steps of Channel View School with parents, students and local activists rallying against the NYC Department of Education’s proposal.

“The idea of wedging another school in here is ridiculous,” said Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato. “Co-location will create more competition and limit our resources for the other existing schools. Let’s concontinued tinue the success that we already have, nurture it and let it grow back into the school and out into our community.”

Parents and students at the hearing voiced their concerns over the new changes that would be necessary to accommodate the new school. One would be pushing the student’s arrival time to 7:50 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m.

“Many Channel View parents depend on our 7:30 a.m. arrival times in order to commute into the city and be on time for work at 9 a.m. Those 20 minutes are crucial for commuters in the morning,” said Alison Kase, a parent of two students at Channel View. “Pushing back the school’s arrival time would add additional unnecessary stress for parents who are trying to get to work on time and support their family.”

Also, lunch would be scheduled as early as 10 a.m., which could be especially disruptive for children with special needs, claimed one parent with an autistic son who attends the school.

“We have a large cluster of children in the Rockaways with autism who need extra services,” said District Leader Lew Simon. “Putting another school here would disrupt those services and children’s lives who cannot afford it.”

Channel View School is also one of the few schools in School District 27 that offers an ASD NEST program for elementary school students which incorporates the Integrated Co- Teaching (ICT) model that requires — at minimum — one special education teacher and one general education teacher in the classroom.

Finally, the additional enrollment would take away free space in the school that students utilize, according to parents and students.

“You have to think like the students, not the like the bureaucrats,” said John Cori, President of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association at the public hearing.

If approved, the new charter school, Humanities IV, is projected to serve 118-128 ninth grade students in its first 2017-2018 school year. In its final implementation, Humanities IV is expected to enroll, 472-512 students from grades nine through 12 by 2020-2021, according to the Department of Education’s proposal statement.

A DOE spokesperson told The Wave, “We value community feedback and we’ll continue to work with families and school staff to ensure the needs of every student in the building are met.”

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