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City May Send Some PS78-Bound Kindergarteners to Separate Site That Will Form Basis For New Hunters Point School

PS 78 (NYC DOE)

Jan. 25, 2018  By Nathaly Pesantez

The city is proposing to send some would-be P.S. 78 kindergarteners to a separate “incubator school” for several years to simultaneously end overcrowding at the Hunters Point School while building up a student body that will eventually move into the new elementary school opening in the neighborhood in 2021.

P.S. 375, a 612-seat elementary school planned for soon-to-be 57th Avenue, is set to open in three years from now, but the DOE is already pushing for a plan that tries to close the gap between the new school’s opening and accommodating students there from P.S. 78, which has faced overcrowding since it added more kindergarten classes than it could hold years ago to satisfy community demand.

Under the DOE’s plan, some students that applied to kindergarten at P.S.78 for the 2018-2019 school year could be selected to go to a small school building at St. Teresa’s in Woodside instead, which would effectively be an incubation site for P.S.375 until the actual building opens in Sept. 2021, according to Deborah Alexander, co-president of the Community Education Council for District 30.

Three kindergarten classes would be moved to St. Teresa’s in Sept. 2018, and students will attend classes there up until the second grade. And just like a regular school, new students will continue to move in as the original class moves ahead in grade level.

By Sept. 2021, all of the students at the St. Teresa school will then move to the newly built P.S.375 school.

It is unclear how the DOE will determine which students will head to St. Teresa for the 2018-2019 school year, and how the enrollment process will work for subsequent years at the proposed incubation site.

Other proposals include sending students to a site in Astoria, the same distance that St. Teresa’s is from P.S. 78, or truncating P.S. 78 so that it goes up to grade five instead of grade eight. The DOE, however, thinks the St. Teresa plan is best, according to Alexander.

The three proposals will be presented during a community meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. on Jan. 30 at P.S. 78, located at 46-08 5th St. The meeting, organized by the DOE and the District 30 superintendent, will be a chance for residents and parents to learn about the impacts of the proposals, and to offer feedback on them.

Some parents have already started to express concerns over the proposals and the prospect of sending their children to a location more than two miles away from Hunters Point.

“Parents have told me they’re concerned about transportation,” said Kadie Black, board chair of the Gantry Parent Association. “They’re concerned about after school options, and they’re concerned about the proximity if there’s an emergency.”

“We hope that there will be several opportunities for families to have their voices heard or to give their input, not just this one meeting,” Black added.

Alexander said that the DOE is pushing for a solution to come about before Sept. 2018, and that the proposals are only step one in coming up with a plan that works for everyone. “It’s absolutely not a done deal,” she said.

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23 Comments

LIC Neighbor

The problem with the public schools in NYC is a substandard education and the dumbing down of our children. Friend had her daughter transferred to the middle school in LIC from OWNS Charter School, not only did her child get pounced on and bullied by a group of girls from the NYCHA projects but the curriculum was substandard, it’s like she took a step back three years — this was at Hunter Point Community Middle School, a new building does not make a good school — she transferred back to OWNS to a safe/learning environment where she continues to thrive. Something is terribly wrong when the city and DOE pats itself on the back when kids are reading at 49% and 46% in math and they think they are doing a good job. Give parents more choices, Charter schools/vouchers so we can send our kids to independent schools where parents will have more of a say in their children’s education in a safe environment.




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Don't agree

If you want to view this as being against incoming parents then that’s a selfish statement unto itself. This is about the overall good of the community. I can’t see why we would make this one vs. the other argument. The post above was making this about people who plan to stay in the community vs. those who plan to leave. I don’t know that that’s a good approach either, but clearly placing priority for incoming parents over existing is no better. People are trying to find solutions for everyone without harming the long-term viability of the community. You can choose to blow hot air and talk about taking the path of least resistance, leave or join people who are actually trying to make a difference in the neighborhood.




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LIC Parent

D30 – let’s be crystal clear. PS78 is and always was intended to be a K-8 program. There was a temporary accommodation to allow for some extra Kindergarten classes due to bad planning by the city. It was a bandaid and everyone knew that there would come a time when those classes would have to be re-accommodated. This is not about who gets bussed where – it’s about the right long-term decision for the neighborhood and the community. A brand new school is being built for K-5 right down the block. Are you suggesting that it is better in the long-term to kill the neighborhoods K-8 program to essentially create a massive supply of early education in the neighborhood? There is a need for a K-8 program for current kids (and future). It’s the program that was already in place. If you are advocating to have the neighborhood filled with younger kids and to do that at the expense of longer-term education, then yes, you are advocating for a more transient community. Further to your point, yes, younger parents are currently taxpayers. If they leave for the suburbs (most do) then they no longer are. Building that population at the EXPENSE of the long-term community is essentially guaranteeing a shift of the long-term tax base and community to the suburbs. This is not a new NYC problem, and it’s not something that people will stand for in this community. And PLEASE, note that those same people you are referencing are the ones advocating for new schools to be built. They are and always have been. It’s the reason we even have one underway right now. You can make this an “us vs. them” argument or you can join in trying to find the right solutions based on the problem(s) that we are faced with. I don’t know about the person above but most people are not advocating that it is better to send incoming children away, just recognizing that the current accommodations were not sustainable. Let’s work together to figure out the best outcome for incoming Kindergarten and make sure that it doesn’t come at the expense of those who are actually planning to stay here over the long run (including new parents – hypothetically).




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Anonymous

Too many people have an enormous sense of entitlement in Long Island City. There has never been a guarantee or even an expectation that your kids, even if they are of kindergarten age, will go to a school within a short walk of your home. Never. Now, it might be hard to hear this simple fact, but that is how school districts work. Plenty of kids in LIC, throughout the city, state, country have taken a bus to go to school, even kindergarten age kids. They have lived. It’s not a big deal in the scheme of things. You certainly can fight this reality, but maybe you should just accept the fact that public schooling in NYC works a certain way. Adapt to it, and plan for it. Save your rage for something that matters.




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MurrayparkNorthparent

The people that moved away didn’t move because the schools could not accommodate them. They moved because their apartments could not accommodate them. The fact is there are more residents with pre-k to K-1 children here than ever before. This needs to be reflected in the school capacity




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Anonymous

What a mess. So glad my child is older; I would also be nervous sending a 5 year old out of the area…though at that age, some kids see the bus as part of an adventure,or otherwise adjust. Has anyone actually checked out St. Teresa’s? If they will be altogether, that is a positive thing. I hope some mega developers get involved…They should come to these meetings.All these towers going up and there really is NO space locally? Then you hear MORE buildings going up.How will the DOE possibly catch up?




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GP

Are you kidding me? You are now be sending a 5 year old to Woodside location? Completely unacceptable. Find something in the neighborhood, within walking distance of PS78!




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PS78 parent

Agreed – but the other alternatives would be worse and cold have a real long-term impact on education in the community. This was poor planning on the DOE’s part, but something needs to be done or we’re risking the future education of this community. Losing a strong K-8 program and displacing / neglecting the longer-term education of current students is not an option.




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Anonymous

if you are all concerned about this go to the board of education and the mayor and then to the news and stop posting on here because nothing will ever get done —




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LICparent

Many parents have worked very hard and for many years for there to be our wonderful, highly regarded and ranked middle school. One cannot even describe just how much work, love and commitment has gone into creating our middle school. To destroy that because of poor planning by the DoE is not even worth discussing.




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Kate

There are more places to rent for a child’s birthday party than to send your child to kindergarten in the neighborhood, so clearly there was some faulty math when the neighborhood was planned. The interim solution should absolutely be IN the neighborhood.
Otherwise, this will guarantee more flight to other schools not the foundation of a strong second neighborhood elementary. So so disappointing.




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LICparent

Why not reduce the number of existing UPK classes now located in PS 78? The school was designed to accommodate 2 UPK classes. Are there 5 or 6 now?




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LIC mom

That is an inaccurate statement. The school was opened to be a community K – 8 school with upper classes being phased in year over year. There are currently a number of kids in grades 2, 3, 4 and 5 who went to the school planning on it as a K-8 school. Those kids are in a similar situation where they have been committed to the neighborhood for the past 6+ years and risk finding out that they have to be displaced application period. There was a clear meeting 3 years ago where there was an accommodation made for kids in the lower grades to wait for the new schools to open (because of short-sighted planning). That meeting was on the record and the new elementary school that is being built was a result of that. It is unfortunate that the DOE had poor planning into how to best incubate the new elementary school but let’s be clear about the issue here. This is not something that should come at the expense of upper grades that were always intended to be phased in as the community grew and people stayed over the years.




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LIC mom

Sorry — re-reading to see you are referencing Universal Pre-K. They have already removed UPK starting next year and relocated to Court Square. This problem persists even after moving those classes. The truth is that there are too many K classes relative to the upper grades and kids have stayed and want to keep going to the school Some of the upper classes only have 1 class. K has 7 or 8. The school is mot a Kindergarten, it is a K-8 program. They should have never made a short-term accommodation in the first place if they didn’t have the right long-term plan in place.




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Community memeber

That’s a terrible idea. You can make this an issue about individual interests or you can try to figure out what’s best for the school and the community. Either you’re not looking past Kindergarten or you don’t plan to stay in the neighborhood. That’s not a very good argument.




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Parent

There should absolutely be a reallocation of Kindergarten classes. When parents pushed to open more Kindergarten classes it came at the expense of the upper grades. Many of those same parents who pushed for it have since moved away. There needs to be more of an emphasis on grades 3 and above if the DOE wants to help foster a long-term / sustainable school community. I’m sure it’s frustrating to some, but it’s the right thing for the people who actually plan to remain in the community for the longer-term, which should ultimately be in the interest of the DOE and the community.




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D30

How is it a better idea to send vulnerable 5 yr olds to commute to Woodside than have older, 5th graders make that commute? Sounds like a huge future law suit when the first kindergartner gets hurt or lost.

And as a PP said, how can District 30 announce this after parents already made school plans? They should have said something a year ago. The assistant principal of PS78 never mentioned this possibility on school tours for incoming kindergarteners.




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78parent

D3o, PS78 covers Court Square, which is good 20-30minute commute with children’s legs (depending on how old they are). Some uses 7 train from Court Square to Vernon-Jackson, making children’s commute essentially the same as going to Astoria or Woodside. Children will receive bus service as well, just like some of current PS78 children do. I think it is unfair and dangerous to suggest possibility of “future lawsuit” when chance of that happening is essentially the same as current situation. I understand you want your child(ren) to go to neighborhood school, but do understand that the current parents of PS/IS 78 would like to see their children stay until 8th grade also. There’s no need for the use of sensational (and unsubstantiated) phrases to tip the scale in your favor.




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D30

I hardly think it is “sensational “ to suggest making a 5 yr old commute is more risky than making a 12 yr old commute. Do you?




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PS78 parent

There are many rational unbiased points being brought up here but this is not one of them. People are trying to look at the good of the community and the long-term viability of education in the neighborhood. It is self-serving to look at the issue as it affects your own situation. I have a child in the school and another potentially going into K but I understand that my K student shouldn’t come at the expense of the rest of the school. Maybe that’s because I intend to stay here, and vote, and pay taxes.




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D30

What makes you assume people sending their kids to K next year are transient and don’t pay taxes? You haven’t established how sending 5 yr olds to Woodside is better for “good of the community” than making 10 yr olds make that same commute. You are arbitrarily declaring that sending incoming families to Woodside is objectively better for the community. And discriminating against those who pay less in taxes (hint, I pay more).

I think the DoE and 78 administration decided it would face fewer angry parents by alienating one class year (incoming Kindergarteners) than alienating all existing families. The other families that will be affected are in 3’s and 4’s pre-K and won’t be as organized. But objectively, sending 5 year olds to Woodside is not the safest move.




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Anna

This is completely unacceptable. Not to mention this is announced conveniently just after the deadline to apply for Kindergarten this year. This is a terrible “solution”. And if this was what was in the works it should have been announced a year ago to give families time to make informed decisions for their children.




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PS78 parent

Agreed – but the other alternatives would be worse and cold have a real long-term impact on education in the community. This was poor planning on the DOE’s part, but something needs to be done or we’re risking the future education of this community. Losing a strong K-8 program and displacing / neglecting the longer-term education of current students is not an option.




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