Sunday, February 18, 2018

Farina Goes to Rockaway to Sell Replacment School; Most Parents Boycott Visit

Farina outside PS 42 - where did everybody go?

"Fariña’s 12-minute speech was followed by a QandA session during which the chancellor’s team of experts replied to issues including whether or not the incoming teachers would not only be qualified to succeed in their roles, but if they could also “relate” to the student population.

DOE representative Melissa Harris responded that an “exhaustive” round of interviews would take place. Earlier in the gathering, Fariña also maintained that all current PS/MS 42 teachers would be invited to reapply and that some would be afforded priority status..... Ralph Mancini, The WAVE
Priority status my ass. We know what this closing is all about -- dump the teachers.

When Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth Rose announced at the Feb. 13 public hearing that Farina would come to the school on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 4 PM as the school was closing down for the mid-winter break there was a bit of rolling of the eyes. Was she clueless or was this intentional to keep teachers away and avoid being questioned, knowing how quickly school evacuate on the eve of vacation?

I tipped the crew over at The WAVE that Farina was coming and that there won't be many, if any, parents there to hear her. Assistent Editor Ralph Mancini was in the building.

Sources say there was some pissed offtedness coming from her highness and her aides making some disparaging comments about parents not caring instead of facing the reality that they boycotted. If they didn't care, how come so many showed up at the hearing just 2 days before?

but then a two or three parents straggled in. Farina saw how small class sizes can be so convenient, as she was apparently able to sit at a table with the parents and explain her vision for the new schools replacing PS 42. That most parents did not show up indicates that they don't want their school to close and that they want to keep the teachers who their kids have gotten to know so well.

Did the strong UFT response at the hearing put pressure on Farina to drag her way to Rockaway on the eve of a vacation? (Video- PS 42 Hearing - UFT Puts Skin in the Game).

Lots more video to come.
Here is Ralph's story which appeared online. Also see his front-page piece on the Feb. 13 hearing - PS 42: “We Will Prevail! -The WAVE Front Page.

PS/MS 42 Reboot?

Schools Chancellor Unveils New Plans At Public Meet


Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña (at far left) was on hand at PS/MS 42 to share her vision for replacement schools being proposed at the site. Photo by Ralph Mancini

A variety of concerns regarding several aspects related to the potential replacement of PS/MS 42 were tackled at a last-minute hearing held Thursday, Feb. 15 in the school’s cafeteria.

The Arverne site was one of a few stops outgoing Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña made yesterday Feb. 15 in meeting with groups of teachers and parents in four of the five boroughs.
While at PS/MS 42, the Department of Education (DOE) leader spoke to a largely empty room with the exception of three parents, a handful of agency staff members and a spokesperson from Councilman Donovan Richards’ office.

She assured her miniscule crowd that no charter schools would be added to the current location if a proposal to shut down PS/MS 42 comes to fruition during an upcoming voting session on Feb. 28.
Fariña did confirm that separate elementary and middle schools would succeed the current K-8 institution with both having a heavy bent on technology.

Widespread trepidations about students being forced to attend schools on the mainland were also broached, as the guest speaker stated that parents would have “choice” in determining where their children would attend school in September.

On that note, it was noted that students from nearby MS 53 would also be welcomed to enroll at the new middle school if the Far Rockaway-based venue doesn’t survive in two weeks.

“I’m assuming that most parents will choose to stay in the building. But it will have two schools, two principals…they will be autonomous schools with two separate budgets,” reported Fariña.
The elementary school, she said, would be modeled after PS 62 in Richmond Hill and mentioned that the school’s principal, Angela O’Dowd, would serve as a mentor to the new staff.

The middle school, on the other hand, would follow in the footsteps of MS 137 in Ozone Park.

An additional area of focus that Fariña touched on was the DOE’s commitment to create more vibrant afterschool programs with the Rockaway YMCA on Beach 73rd Street being referenced as an ideal spot.

“One of the things I was telling my crew here is that The Y is underutilized. So, if any of you know why it’s not being utilized particularly by our teenagers, let me know so we can do something about it.”

In addition, Fariña communicated that additional space would be set aside at schools throughout District 27 to accommodate three year-olds in New York City Pre-K programs.

As for other reasons to morph the current K-8 setup into two different locations on the 488 Beach 66th Street footprint, the 74-year-old agency official explained that the city can’t afford to sit and wait for the state to step in and “tell us what we have to do.”
Fariña’s 12-minute speech was followed by a Q&A session during which the chancellor’s team of experts replied to issues including whether or not the incoming teachers would not only be qualified to succeed in their roles, but if they could also “relate” to the student population.

DOE representative Melissa Harris responded that an “exhaustive” round of interviews would take place. Earlier in the gathering, Fariña also maintained that all current PS/MS 42 teachers would be invited to reapply and that some would be afforded priority status.
Rhonda Williams was especially vocal about her worriment on whether performance levels would indeed surge as a result of new personnel and, quite possibly, a new curriculum.

Both Harris and District 27 Acting Superintendent Michael Dantona claimed that the DOE has garnered positive results in the past with these types of conversions.

New principals for the proposed schools may be announced in about a week, according to members of the DOE panel.


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