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PS 11 Might Bus Kindergarten Kids to New Sunnyside School in Sept.

 

Jan. 23, 2014 By Christian Murray

The construction of several new school buildings in the Sunnyside/Woodside area is likely to help alleviate overcrowding problems in the long term—but it is creating many short term concerns for parents.

This summer, the School Construction Authority will be developing an 850 seat building at PS 11 (54-25 Skillman Avenue), which will begin with the demolition of an outdated mini building that caters to more than 200 students.

The whole process to construct the building is expected to take two years, which will mean that there will be 200 fewer seats in the interim.

Currently, education officials plan to bus all in-coming kindergarten children to PS 171 in Astoria during the first year of construction given the shortage of seats. During the second year, these children will then be sent to a new Woodside school that opens in 2015 (PS 339), which will be a ¼ mile away from PS 11.

However, in recent weeks as word of the plan has spread, several parents have spoken out against it. Politicians are now discussing whether the children should be sent to a Sunnyside school that is opening this fall.

Edna and Luke Connolly

Martin Connolly, a parent whose son Edna will be entering kindergarten at PS 11 in September, said last month that the plan to send the children to Astoria “makes no sense.” He said that he will have children that will be going to the Woodside location while his son Edna will bused 2.5 miles to Astoria.

This week several politicians came forward and are putting pressure on Department of Education to reconsider the plan.  They wrote a letter to School Chancellor Carmen Farina asking her to rethink the plan.

“We want the Department of Education to reconsider how they accommodate the new students while the expansion takes place,” said State Sen. Mike Gianaris. “We all agree that we need more space…but current students and parents must not be forced to suffer in the meantime.”

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that plan is to bus the children to PS 171 is far from a done deal.

“I’m hopeful that they will keep the children as close to home as possible… and the option of sending the children to PS313 (the new school opening in Sunnyside this September) is very much under consideration,” Van Bramer said.

PS313 is located at 45-46 42nd Street.

“There will certainly be enough space at PS 313,” Van Bramer said, since the Department of Education does not fill up new schools when they open. For instance, during the first year, only kindergarten children will attend PS 313—and the school will not be fully utilized until those kindergarten children reach 5th grade.

The final decision as to where the income PS 11 kindergarten children will ultimately be made in by the Panel for Education Policy in the next two months.

However, this will be the first of several school relocations that are anticipated in the neighborhood.

IS 125, located at 46-02 47th Avenue, is also getting a new building—which will lead to the demolition of its mini-building—and officials will have to determine where many of those students will go too.

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18 Comments

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Pat

It is all a matter of budgets, soooooooo the buildings will go forward, as planned, because if they don’t spend the budget money in the time allotted they will lose it and get doors slammed in their faces when their request goes forth again ..

Don’t spend what your given in the year given you won’t get it again …

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South Side Johnny

The reason these Catholic schools closed was because there’s s shortage of qualified nuns available to teach. When lay people are brought in to teach, they want a decent salary and benefits, and they deserve it. The nuns barely made a living when it was their job. There are far fewer Catholics living around here, too. Not sure if religious groups should be invloved in schooling anyway; I prefer to keep church & state separate.

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liz

I do believe in pre-k at the public school, because I know they read and have little homework and projects, but UPK… please! That is just a waste of 2 hours and free snacks. I’ve seen both sides of it.

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M

Anonymous — they don’t make kids sit in a seat for hours in a prek class. There are activities and lessons allowing the kids to move around the classroom. Songs, worksheets, mini projects, centers, dance. Many social activities.

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woodside_mom

Anonymous: The childhood poverty rate in Finland is 5.3%, while in the U.S. that number is 22%. Study after study shows a direct correlation between poverty and poor school performance. Also, re pre-k, I don’t think either our Governor or Mayor is suggesting that pre-k be mandated, simply that full-day pre-k be AVAILABLE. Therefore, parents who are willing and able to keep their kids home until kindergarten will, I believe, be able to do so. But if the choice is between day care where not much learning takes place and an educationally appropriate full-day pre-k program, I think most parents would prefer pre-K. Two of my three kids attended half-day pre-k and it was a very good experience for them.

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I forgot

Anonymous
It is all about interaction. I think it makes a bit of a difference, especially for single kids, but I do agree that most parents just want to get rid of their kids so they can go to work. Actually in some cases both parents have to work so they have no choice, so don’t blame them for having to go to work and leave kids with Pre-K.

What would you prefer? Taking your kids to Pre-K where they can get some education, play time, interaction or take them to the park where homeless people bathe in kids fountains & sprinklers, drunk people sit on benches, potheats smoke, and older kids at basketball court or bounce wall who like to curse and cuss? It sucks, but that’s the truth.

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Anonymous

I think parents are brainwashed how good it is for their kids to start schooling earlier and earlier. Once in the school kids are expected to start following rules and directions, sit in their seat for hours and do their schoolwork. There is no daily physical education kids need so badly. It is so sad that a childhood is so short in the USA. As for benefits of earlier start, it is a debate. By the time they are finishing primary school there is no difference between children who attended pre-K vs those who didn’t.

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CelticWarrior

@CelticBark: You took the words out of my mouth.

At that age, I think kids are better suited staying at home rather than being exposed to the hassle of a fixed schedule, commute, etc. The kid would learn so much more if a parent would just sit down with them for half an hour and read to them or go over some very basic math. But as Bark said, most parents are pretty lazy and desperately want to dump them on the system.
FYI: no, I don’t have kids (!!!) and I started my education in kindergarten, so I know from experience that nothing meaningful is taught in pre-k.

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woodside_mom

PS 313 (Sunnyside, south side of Queens Blvd and in School District 24) should be used to house the 5th graders from the PS 199 zone, who are currently forced into middle school at IS 125 and attend classes in the trailers. Then the trailers could be removed from IS 125 so the new wing could be built. As for PS 11, some parents there have asked for a delay in the construction of the new wing so instead of busing kindergarteners this coming Sept, they could wait a year until the new school opens near them (PS 339) and attend class there temporarily until their new wing is built. That seems like a sensible plan and I’m not sure why it’s not being considered.

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Just me

Celtic bark. Should you happen to read up on topics and actually do some research, you would find that Pre-k is a precursor for kindergarten. The aim of pre-k is to better ready and simulate the settings of elementary schools, not to mention help children who do not have English as a first language at home. Unfortunately, by NY state law the child MUST be aged 4 by December of the school year they are entering. They are also forced to have vaccinations whether they want them or not, Like so many other parents, I would love for the children not to start school until a later age. It’s been scientifically proven to benefit the child. But mainly, I would love the children to start at a later age, so they can learn how to have well informed discussions, so they don’t grow up to be a complete idiots, making totally irrelevant comments about something they nothing about.

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Webley

Wasn’t the new school supposed to be exclusive to kids within few blocks radius of the school? I remember there was a map somewhere.
Are they going to be sending teachers from there as well or actually rob sunnyside kids of their fine education and limit the number of sunnyside kids who could get into this school? If I remember correctly the school was going to start with Pre-K or K only on 1st year..

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Celtic Bark

@M

Baloney. Kids that young should be at home with their family regardless how good the teachers are. They might be wonderful teachers but being used as nannies. So, stop insulting nannies.

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M

Celtic bark – have you ever been to a prek class and actually sat there for a day? It’s far from a babysitting service. To even say that is insulting to the teachers.

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Celtic Bark

Kindergarten is young enough for kids to start school. Admit it, Pre-K is nothing but a government run babysitting service. It’s so sad that parents want to unload their kids on the system at younger and younger ages and sad that the government is so eager to get their hands on them. If you can’t manage to raise your kid full time for at least 6 years, don’t have one.

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vjo

Wow…. they will change schools 3 times in 3 years ……I’m not psychologist but for a child….sounds kind off traumatic to me …

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