Archive for the 'Education' Category

Source: Old Shoe Woman/Flickr

The Community Education Council of School District 21 (CEC21) is challenging the state’s testing and educational policies, voting this week to request the Department of Education “re-evaluate and slow the implementation” of Common Core testing standards.

The council’s resolution argues that the tougher standardized testing requirements of the Common Core curriculum do not meet the individualized needs of students, and leave many students – especially those with special needs – in the dust.

“Each child is different and this approach is very cookie-cutter like,” said Heather Ann Fiorica, the president of CEC21.

They also say that the state bungled implementation, pushing it through too quickly without soliciting feedback or providing training.

Find out more about the issue, and read the resolution.


Lincoln High School’s football team, the Railsplitters (an awesome name, by the way), snagged their second title in three years with a 28 to 27 win at the PSAL City Conference championship at Yankee Stadium last week.

The team bested Tottenville Pirates for the title, despite suffering its own setback: senior quarterback Javon Moore sprained his ankle during their first offensive play. He muscled through the game before heading to the hospital after the match.

“He was a warrior and battled through and made a play when he had to,” Lincoln coach Shawn O’Connor told the Daily News.

It was a tight game, in which Lincoln pulled ahead by one point with less than five minutes on the clock. We urge you to check out the Daily News article for the dramatic play by play.

Congratulations to Lincoln High School (2800 Ocean Parkway) and the Railsplitters!

Andre Civil

Andre Civil (Source:

Way, way back in the halycon days of May 2008, when Sheepshead Bites had just launched, the fourth story ever published on this site was about the recruitment of Sheepshead Bay High School (3000 Avenue X) football’s defensive end Andre Civil to Rutgers University‘s Scarlet Knights (also, my alma mater.)

Back then, the team was just beginning to rise after years of pitiful performance, and started making a name for itself. Fast forward three and a half years, and Rutgers University joined the Big Ten Conference, helping solidify its athletic excellence.

Civil, who took on the role of right-tackle after the NFL picked off a few of his colleagues, played a prominent role in the team’s surge in rankings, and he’s been embraced by the students and alumni, who’ve started packing the football stadium (during my years there, the school literally bribed students to go to games. On some days, it was the only place you could get a meal using the meal plan).

That spirit is a whole lot different than Civil is used to. A native of the Sheepshead Bay – Nostrand Houses, Civil notes that New York City dwellers’ indifference towards high school and college football spurred him to work harder.

The Trentonian profiled Civil, writing:

“First off, I think a lot of people don’t look at New York high school football as much,” said Civil, who mostly ran a Wing-T offense in high school. “You just kind of have a chip on your shoulder and want to show people you can play ball and compete with other states, especially New Jersey because New Jersey is known for football.”

Civil grew up right across the street from Sheepshead Bay and played football at the adjoining field. Some schools, like Flatbush’s Erasmus Hall, would have to commute through the borough just to get to practice.

He played games at noon every Saturday, like clockwork. Sheepshead Bay never played night games, despite having lights. Civil did not need them to turn on.

Check out the full profile here.

From a rally to save the school when it faced closure in 2010.

Sheepshead Bay High School, which the city decided to “phase out” at the end of last semester due to poor performance, had the deck stacked against them by Department of Education policies that overloaded them with difficult students.

A new study by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform confirms the departments policies of dumping high-needs kids in struggling schools, worsening their chances at success.

The New York Post reports:

The students who don’t participate in the regular high-school selection process — known as “over the counter,” or OTC, students — are likelier to be new immigrants, have special needs, be homeless or have a prior history of behavioral issues.

Yet the DOE knowingly assigned huge numbers of them to dozens of schools that were either already being shuttered for poor performance or that were subsequently approved for closure, the study found.

“Compelling evidence suggests that the DOE’s inequitable assignment of OTC students to struggling high schools reduces the opportunities for success for both the students and their schools,” said Norm Fruchter, an Annenberg associate and one of the study’s authors.

At Sheepshead Bay HS in Brooklyn, the percentage of OTC kids assigned each year grew from 18 percent in 2008 to 25 percent in 2011 — well above the average for large high schools. After the school’s performance began to suffer, it was approved for closure earlier this year.

The report confirms claims made by Sheepshead Bay High School (3000 Avenue X) supporters that gains they had made in recent years were rapidly undermined by a growing student body of high-needs students, a claim the fell on deaf ears at public hearings over the school closure.

Even with the high rate of OTC students, Sheepshead Bay High School administrators had claimed they had a tremendous success rate at converting those low-performers into achievers, through less traditional means like extra-curricular activities and special programs.

Still, their graduation rates weighed on the rest of the student body, leading to the closure of Sheepshead Bay High School.

Photo by Erica Sherman

Photo by Erica Sherman

Kingsborough Community College (2001 Oriental Boulevard) was rewarded with millions of federal dollars today thanks to the efforts of Senator Charles Schumer. According to a press release, Schumer secured $3.8 million for the award-winning institution for the purposes of helping the college continue its mission to train students for the jobs of tomorrow.

This isn’t the first time that KCC has been on the winning end of a financial windfall. In March, we reported that the college was awarded $100,000 by the Aspen Institute after being named the one of the top three community colleges in the nation. The praise also came from the 2012 Digital Community Colleges Survey, which in October, named KCC as one of the top community colleges to implement technology.

Schumer’s release described where the grant money came from:

The grants are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant Program, which promotes skills development and employment opportunities in fields such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and healthcare as well as science, technology, engineering and math careers through partnerships between training providers and local employers.

In his comments, Schumer reflected on the importance of funding institutions like KCC and Laguardia Community College, which also received $3.1 million:

“Training our young people today for the jobs of tomorrow will pave the path to keeping New York City at the top of the heap for generations to come. These grants are a game-changer for Kingsborough Community College and LaGuardia Community College because the funds will now provide much-needed career training programs for our New York City students,” said Schumer. “New York City’s Silicon Alley is in need of individuals who excel in math, science, engineering and technology and I am confident that this $7 million investment will be beneficial to New York’s economy and the future of these students.”


Some of Amity’s champions, posing with their sensei. (Source: Brooklyn Amity School)

They’ve done it again!

Students from the after-school karate program at Brooklyn Amity School (3867 Shore Parkway) traversed the nation to compete in America’s largest karate championship, and returned with 21 medals – nearly double the amount they brought home last year.

The team racked up eight gold medals, four silver and nine bronze at the 2013 USA National Karate Championships and U.S. Team Trials, held in Greenville, South Carolina from July 10 to July 14. It’s the biggest organized championship in the country, with more than 1,200 competitors from more than 40 states competing.

“The number of medals earned in this national championship is two times more in comparison to total medals that were earned in the last year’s national championship. As a very young karate school, the success is extraordinary and huge,” said the students’ teacher, Sensei Meral Olmez, a two-time world champion. “I developed a very demanding program and literally pushed athletes throughout the whole duration of the one month-long training camp, which was in addition to the training that they got throughout the year.”

Last year was the first time the school competed at the tournament, and they racked up an impressive 13 medals.

The students are beaming with pride over their victory, but acknowledged the hard work it took to get there.

“It was tough but at the end it all paid off because we won medals … It was very nerve wrecking but [during the competition] you have to keep your composure and act as if you perform everything great and show the judges that you won. You have to concentrate on what you have to accomplish,” said Farzana Ruzehaji, a senior at Brooklyn Amity School who earned two gold medals this year. “When you walk in and you see this giant arena filled with people and they are all looking at you. It feels like you are a celebrity.”

Keep reading for more photos and a list of the winning students.

Sheepshead Student Jihad Teeba (center) (Photo courtesy of Brian Scios)

Sheepshead Student Jihad Teeba (center) (Photo courtesy of Brian Scios)

A Sheepshead Bay High School (3000 Avenue X) took home top honors at the 18th annual Quality of Life INNOVATIONS (QLI) Awards Ceremony. The QLI program, which invites students to tackle and attempt to solve real world problems, honored Jihad Teeba for her work in studying the hazardous effects of batteries that aren’t properly disposed of.

In a press releaes, QLI documented Teeba’s impressive work and research:

Jihad confronted the improper disposal of batteries and the impact this has on the environment and public health. Her extensive research included the hazards associated with button-cell batteries that are swallowed by thousands, including children, each year. 180,000 tons of batteries are discarded every year in the US. 81 percent of respondents to her student survey noted they have thrown out batteries in a garbage bin rather than a recycling container. Jihad’s solutions include creating drop-off sites in residential areas, an awareness campaign, and greater enforcement of existing New York State laws requiring merchants to accept used rechargeable batteries for recycling.

“Too many people fail to recycle,” commented Jihad. “They need better access to recycling boxes and drop-off centers.”

Congratulations to Jihad for her accomplishment and for helping raise awareness over proper battery recycling.

Pictured In Photo: Annetta Lee, Natasha Naveed, Noel Aly, Lisa La Spina, Selma Albin, Janet Kennedy, Assistant Principal, Jeanne Fish, Principal, Cherie Lang, Hillary Stackpole, Dell Coe (Photo Courtesy of Hillary Stackpole)

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz awarded a special commendation to the staff of Gerritsen Beach’s P.S. 277 (2529 Gerritsen Avenue) in a ceremony last week.

According to a press release, the school’s Parent’s Association wanted to recognize the staff for their efforts in providing relief to the children and community of Gerritsen Beach following Superstorm Sandy. So they reached out to the beep and asked him to surprise the school’s team at a morning assembly, and he honored them for their terrific work providing comfort to the community kids.

Sheepshead Bites would also like to extend a salute and warm-hearted congratulations to the staff of P.S. 277 for all their excellent work throughout the trying days of Superstorm Sandy.

Peruggi (Source: KCC Digest)

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: After nine years of serving as the first female leader of Kingsborough Community College, Dr. Regina Peruggi will retire at the end of the summer.

Peruggi, 65, announced her retirement in an April 5 letter to the school’s staff and faculty, in which she reflected on her time at the Manhattan Beach-based institution.

“These past nine years have been extraordinary ones for me. They have been challenging, creative, exciting, productive, and a great deal of fun,” Peruggi wrote in the letter. “I have met incredible individuals who have taught me a great deal and whose memory will be with me for years to come. Kingsborough faculty, staff, and students are the best in the country, and it has been a true privilege to work with each of you.”

Peruggi is expected to hand over the reigns to the school in August, although the school’s press office could not provide an exact date. The school’s spokespeople declined to comment on Peruggi’s retirement, as there has not yet been a public announcement.

Keep reading and see the farewell letter Peruggi sent to staff and faculty.

Murrow High School (Photo: Erica Sherman)

Edward R. Murrow High School is continuing to mold an army of Garry Kasparovs with its latest victory, their eighth win at the National High School Chess Championship on Sunday, according to a report in the Daily News.

The tournament was held in Nashville, Tennessee, and had over 5,000 competitors from high schools across the nation going against one another from Friday to Sunday.

The team qualified for the tournament when they won the state championships for the 16th time in February. They also won the state championships last year, and took home the national title in 1992, 1993, 1994, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. The school’s team counts Olympic chess players and world title holders among its alumni, and an award-winning book has been written about the team’s formation.

Azeez Alade, a member of the current team who hails from Nigeria, told the Daily News that now that they have secured their victory – yet again – it’s time to declare check-and-mate on some burgers and video games.

“We’re all going to go to Dave and Busters! No more chess! We’re done with that — we’re celebrating,” said Alade.

Congrats to the Murrow team! We look forward to more victories in the future.



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