March 18, 2016 By Jackie Strawbridge
The threat of middle school truncation that has been looming over many Long Island City families since last year has been staved off so far.
DOE spokesman Harry Hartfield confirmed Friday that there will be no truncation of the middle school for the 2016/2017 school year.
As for following years, he said, “There is currently no proposal to truncate PS/IS 78, but the DOE continues to monitor enrollment growth in the area.”
The school community has been bracing itself for truncation since last May, when superintendent Philip Composto announced that high kindergarten enrollment levels might cause 6th, 7th and 8th grade students to be phased out.
However, as DNA Info recently reported, kindergarten enrollment for the upcoming year did not overwhelm capacity; there was no waitlist for 2016 admission.
“It’s wonderful for our community. Obviously our kids go through elementary and middle school and it’s just one last school we would have if they truncated it,” Gantry Parent Association President Jen Theien said. “We have a lot of happy families in this community.”
Patrick Smith, whose son is in seventh grade at the school, said he was “extremely relieved.”
“It would have been traumatic to transfer my son to a different school to complete middle school,” he said. “That you’re able, in New York City, to put [students] in pre-k and have them [enrolled] through eighth grade – we should be fighting for this.”
“I think the parents in the school who organized into various groups to advocate to avoid truncation were a big reason why it didn’t happen,” he added. Smith also credited Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who has prioritized increasing school capacity especially since truncation was deemed a possibility.
He could not immediately be reached for comment on this story.
State Sen. Gianaris has also been searching for ways to stave off PS/IS 78 truncation.
“I am glad to see PS/IS 78 found a way to accommodate students in our community and is working to keep pace with the ongoing growth of western Queens,” Gianaris said. “With this hurdle cleared for kindergarten admissions and the advancement of middle school students, I am pleased more parents will have the opportunity to give their kids a quality education right here in our own neighborhood.”