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The bell has tolled for PS 114.
The Remsen Avenue school fell under the city’s performance ax this week, with the Department of Education announcing the school will be phased out over the next four years, and a yet-to be numbered elementary school begin replacing it next September.
During the changeover period, two administration will work side-by-side in the building, with the new guard managing current kindergarten and first grade students, who will automatically be given a seat in the new school’s first and second grades. The old guard will manage the remaining 800 third, fourth and fifth grade students, seeing them through to graduation. Teachers in PS 114’s upper grades will remain in place until they’re no longer needed and then reassigned to other schools, the DOE spokesman said, adding that its possible that the principal of the new school may bring some of these teachers back. The conversion should be completed by 2014.
“We’re taking this action because we think it’s the right thing for current and future students in this community,” a DOE spokesman told us Tuesday. “PS 114 is a zoned elementary school, something we’re not going to leave the community without.”
PS 114 was put on the chopping block after state wide tests showed that only 34 percent of student were doing math at grade level. Just 35 percent were achieving grade-level English.
The DOE gave the school a D on its overall yearly progress report and an F when it came to school environment and student performance.
Investigators also found “problems in the way that the school is organized to support student learning,” according to the report.
If the city’s Panel for Education Policy — a group of Mayoral and Borough President appointees — approves the DOE recommendations next February, PS 114’s phase out will begin next September.
According to the plan,
But current and former school parents are not happy with PS 114’s closure because they think the city is responsible for the school’s problems, claiming that former administrators failed the school by poorly managing personnel and budgets.
“This was once a model school in Canarsie and now, because of the mess one of our principals left behind, we’re left with an administration which doesn’t support the teachers when they need help and our children suffer as a result,” said Parents Association President Crystal King.
Community Board 18 District Manager Dorothy Turano, who’s two children attended PS 114, agreed.
“There were a lot of problems with the principals, but the DOE never gave it a chance,” Turano said. “This is an absolute shock because it was such a wonderful school.”
Councilman Lew Fidler (D-Canarsie) said he considers PS 114 “the gateway for the rest of Canarsie.”
If that gateway’s closed, so will the rest of the neighborhood, he fears.
“It’s an unfortunate decision not just for the kids, but for the whole community,” he said. “The DOE is completely complicate in creating the problems with this school, they shouldn’t turn its back on it.”
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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