Category Archives: Education

De Blasio Administration, Principals Union Reach Contract Agreement

A little more than seven months after striking a pact with the city’s largest teachers’ union, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina last Saturday announced a tentative contract agreement with the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, the union that represents over 6,000 public school principals, assistant principals, supervisors and education administrators. The proposed nine-year, one-month, 15-day contract would begin, retroactively, on March 6, 2010 and expire on April 20, 2019, and include an average of 2 percent per … Continue reading

Civic Leader Retires From DOE District 27 Post

    Margaret Finnerty may be retiring at the end of the month, but she’s not going anywhere. The stalwart civic leader, married mother of two and grandmother of three has decided to hang up one of the myriad hats she dons every day, stepping down from her position as parent coordinator for District 27 after nearly 12 years. While she’s moving on from her city Department of Education gig, Finnerty made it clear that she has no plans to … Continue reading

DOT Repairs Conduit Fences Near School

  The Department of Transportation has begun work to repair gaps in the fences along North and South Conduit Avenues near Middle School 202 in Ozone Park, after Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park) wrote a letter calling on the agency to do something about the problem. Students were using the fence holes as shortcuts to cross dangerous highways, and in his letter, Goldfeder stressed that the situation was an accident waiting to happen. “No parent should have to send their … Continue reading

DOE Fires Back at Comptroller After Scathing Inventory Audit

The city Department of Education this week indicated that it strongly disagreed with an audit conducted by city Comptroller Scott Stringer which revealed “thousands of computers and tablets lost and unused,” at the agency, including devices that were supposed to be delivered and in use at four borough schools. More than 1,800 computers were unaccounted for or missing entirely, and nearly 400 laptops and tablets were found unpacked and unused in 10 DOE locations, raising concerns that millions in computer … Continue reading

Elected Officials Defeat Young Dems in Charity Basketball Game

It would seem that wisdom and experience last weekend won the day over youthful exuberance as a team of borough elected officials narrowly defeated the Queens County Young Democrats, 27-25, in a charity basketball game in Rego Park. The event, held at the Resurrection Ascension school gym, raised more than $1,200 for the RA Church Food Pantry. Participating elected officials included City Councilmembers Costa Constantinides, Elizabeth Crowley and Mark Weprin; Assemblymembers Michael DenDekker, Jeff Aubry and Ron Kim; and State … Continue reading

Queens College Marks “Kristallnacht” with Personal Stories

Hundreds gathered at Queens College on Sunday to commemorate “Kristallnacht,” or Night of Broken Glass, which was a series of coordinated attacks against Jews, Jewish-owned businesses, and synagogues in Germany and Austria in November 1938. The attacks, carried out by Nazi paramilitary officers as well as civilians, resulted in hundreds of deaths; 1,000 synagogues burned, 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged, and at least 30,000 people arrested and sent to concentration camps, where later many would be killed as the … Continue reading

Jamaica Basketball Coach Charged with Possession of Child Porn

A Jamaica basketball coach this week was awaiting arraignment on charges of possessing child pornography after a 15-year-old boy he coached told his parents about his alleged video chats with the man, said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Robert Walker, 42, faces a criminal complaint charging him with use of a child in a sexual performance, first-degree disseminating indecent material to minors, possessing a sexual performance by a child and endangering the welfare of a child. According to the complaint, … Continue reading

Study Proves Area Needs Rockaway Beach Rail Line: Advocates

The defunct Rockaway Beach Rail Line could generate a half a million subway rides per day, and many residents in the communities through which the line runs favor reactivation over transforming it into a park, according to the highly anticipated findings of a Queens College study that were released this week. The student-led Department of Urban Studies analysis, “A Community Impact Study of Proposed Uses of the Rockaway Beach Branch Right of Way,” surveyed thousands of residents and researched available census … Continue reading

Twenty-Five Years Later, ‘Big Buddies’ Still Mentoring

A little more than 25 years ago, approximately 5,700 miles from Kissena Boulevard, Arty Salz was inspired to take action. The Queens College professor was on sabbatical in Jerusalem in the late 1980s, and what he absorbed in the holy city would change the lives of thousands of Big Apple families. “[I] learned about their program for children of indigent families,” said Salz, now professor emeritus in the school’s Department of Elementary Education. “When I returned to QC in 1989, … Continue reading

Free Tablets Available for Lease at Several Borough Library Branches

Google tablets are available for loan at 10 borough library branches, including Broad Channel, Forest Hills, Howard Beach, Jamaica, Rockaway Beach and Rockaway Park. Loans are free with a Queens Library card. Customers may borrow them for a month, with three possible renewals (four months total). First-time borrowers must sign a borrower’s agreement and show photo identification. Queens Library began lending customers Google tablets on their library cards in November 2013. Through the efforts of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the … Continue reading

L.I. School Computer Technician Cops to Child Porn Charge

A Queens Village man, who worked as a computer technician for a Long Island school district, last week pleaded guilty to promoting a sexual performance by a child. According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Ryan Ramdass, 28, “admitted that he shared very disturbing pictures and videos of children being sexually abused by way of his computer on the Internet.” A forensic search of Ramdass’ external hard drive revealed seven images and 28 videos of children being sexually abused, according to … Continue reading

Vaughn College to Install First Female President

Call her the Pioneer President. Flushing’s Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology is set this Friday to install Dr. Sharon DeVivo as its seventh president—the first female to hold the office in the history of the 82-year-old institution. DeVivo, who succeeds Dr. John Fitzpatrick and has been serving in the role of president since July 1, has been with the school since 1996, most recently as its senior vice president. According to Vaughn, during DeVivo’s 18-year tenure she has been … Continue reading

Mayor’s School Space Task Force Weighs-in on Overcrowding

Space issues such as chronic overcrowding, the use of mobile classrooms and problems with co-located schools, whereby charter and public schools occupy the same building, have long plagued schools across the city. So, in an effort to tackle these problems, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s School Space Working Group, formed earlier this year to address space issues, recently released a set of guidelines and recommendations to help make space decisions both more equitable and transparent. The group, co-chaired by Schools Chancellor … Continue reading

City Investing $150 Million in Struggling Schools

In a move that seems to further establish an educational policy philosophy that is in sharp contrast to that of the 108th mayor of the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday unveiled the School Renewal Program, a new strategy aimed at turning around the Big Apple’s most challenged public schools. Unlike his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, who sought to cut the city’s losses by phasing out or shuttering failing institutions, de Blasio said the SRP will invest $150 million into changing … Continue reading

Beating Death of 3-Year-Old Girl Spurs Domestic Violence Bill

The death of a 3-year-old girl in a Brooklyn shelter at the hands of her stepfather has prompted one borough elected official to take legislative action. City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale) announced last week that she is drafting legislation mandating domestic violence education in city shelters. The bill would require the city Department of Homeless Services to provide persons entering the shelter system information on domestic violence and violence against children. The law would mandate families to watch an educational … Continue reading