Archive for the tag 'schools'

Photo by Erica Sherman

Three major Southern Brooklyn high schools are banding together to hold the first-ever inter-SING! competition, called Brooklyn Sings!, to benefit the American Cancer Society.

As any Brooklyn public high school graduate knows, SING! competitions can dominate school culture, bringing in students at every level to plan and produce a musical-production based on a different theme each year. The grades compete against each other for bragging rights.

What many may not know is that SING!, now a phenomenon at high schools across the greater New York City area, is a distinctly Southern Brooklyn creation, first established at Midwood High School in 1947 by music teacher Bella Tillis. The 1989 film Sing is based on the Brooklyn traditions, and SING! alumni include Barbra Streisand, Paul Simon, Tim Robbins, Paul Reiser and Neil Diamond.

Midwood, Madison and Murrow are all well-known for their grandiose productions that can involve hundreds of students.

Brooklyn Sings!, the inter-school event, is being created to benefit the American Cancer Society. It was conceived by the Bergen Beach, Mill Basin and Marine Park Relay for Life team and one of its organizers, Joe Gillette.

“Our Relay for Life team is so thankful to each of these amazing schools for taking on BROOKLYN SINGS!  We know this event will be great for all the talented students, the schools and the community as a whole as we all unite and give of ourselves for a worthy cause,” Gillete said in a press release. “We encourage anyone who wants to get involved with our Relay for Life organization to join us as we strive to make a difference in our schools and community.”

“SING began in Midwood in 1947.  Mrs. Belle Tillis (who passed away last year 15 days shy of her 100th birthday) is credited with bringing SING to Midwood,” said Midwood Principal Michael McDonnell. “For the last 60 + years, our student body has sung, danced and acted their way towards winning the annual SING competition.  In fact the organizers of all the schools’ SINGs were Midwood students who had participated in Midwood SING.  So it is with great honor and responsibility that along with the help of Relay for Life, we get to “throw down the gauntlet” to our neighboring schools.”

Anyone interested in supporting one of the school’s fundraising efforts for the ACS can make a tax deductible donation by visiting the team page of their favorite school.

For Midwood visit http://main.acsevents.org/goto/midwoodsings;
For Madison visit http://main.acsevents.org/goto/madisonsings
For Murrow visit http://main.acsevents.org/goto/murrowsings

The event will be held March 8 at 6 p.m. at Edward R. Murrow High School (1600 Avenue L). Tickets will be sold through each school, and go one sale February 24.

Source: Old Shoe Woman/Flickr

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this week that he hopes to create an advisory board for the implementation of the controversial Common Core curriculum and stop standardized testing for children below third grade, drawing sighs of relief from local education activists who have been critical of the rollout.

“Any progress is great progress,” said Heather Ann Fiorica, the president of the District 21′s Community Education Council. “Now more people are talking about it because of Cuomo.”

Fiorica and CEC21 challenged the curriculum’s implementation during a meeting last week, passing a resolution asking the state to slow down the rollout, relieve the testing burden on special needs students and provide more training to teachers and faculty.

In response to the news, Fiorica, who is a parent herself, also said the idea of an advisory panel was promising since it would “bring more awareness” to legislators and politicians and convince them that Common Core needs a few speed bumps.

Common Core is a new curriculum being adopted across the nation, drawing criticism from parents and teachers. It relies on more rigorous standardized testing, and teachers in New York say they have not received proper training or been informed of materials on the test.

“I support the Common Core agenda,” Cuomo said during his budget presentation on Tuesday. “But the way the Common Core has been managed by the Board of Regents is flawed. There’s too much uncertainty, confusion and anxiety.”

A panel of advisers as Cuomo is now promoting would, presumably, take these things into consideration and recommend “corrective action,” as Cuomo put it, for the new curriculum.

State Senator Marty Golden is also applauding the governor’s plan to change the way Common Core is implemented, and adds that he wants to see an end to standardized testing of children below the third grade.

“I applaud and agree with the Governor’s decision to suspend testing from Kindergarten to 2nd grade, and I am glad to see the Board of Regents concurs,” Golden said in a press release. “The entirety of the Common Core Curriculum must be reviewed, but nevertheless, standardized testing for Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd graders is unnecessary.”

Cuomo said the advisory panel will issue a report before the end of Albany’s legislative session in June.

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.

I bet Obama hates this painting, which hangs in an Indian art gallery, as much as he hates our children. (Source: ssquah.blogspot.com)

I bet Obama hates this painting, which hangs in an Indian art gallery, as much as he hates our children. (Source: ssquah.blogspot.com)

It might be the worst thing President Barack Obama has ever done.

The commander-in-chief is neglecting to make time for teenagers from Edward R. Murrow High School (1600 Avenue L), who were crowned national student chess champions, winning the title for the eighth time this April.

While Barry Obama has made time for the San Francisco Giants, the Indiana Fever, and even the 1972 Miami Dolphins, he’s got no time for pawn-pushers – even if his predecessor did meet with the team in 2004.

New York Daily News has got the scoop:

[Coach Eliot] Weiss has made numerous requests of the White House via email and post, but has been rejected each time — and each time, the White House suggests that the leader of the free world is just too busy.

“Due to the volume of inquiries and the time constraints of his schedule, the President must decline the majority of meeting requests he receives,” the White House wrote to Weiss in October. “We have reviewed your invitation, and unfortunately, President Obama will be unable to accommodate your request for a meeting.”

It’s particular distressing, Weiss said, because Murrow’s 2013 victory may have been its greatest, with the pride of Midwood besting 1,500 teams from 49 states at the tournament in Nashville, Tenn.

… As leaders themselves, Weiss’ team members know how important an Oval Office could be to their sport and their school.

“A meeting with President Obama could have a positive effect in this neighborhood and even the borough,” said Alexis Paredes, 17, a senior and star player who is originally from Moscow and ranks as an international master. “So many schools have great basketball teams or soccer teams, but not many schools can say they chess team that has won so many nationals.”

While the U.S. President isn’t saying much for himself, Brooklyn’s Borough President Marty Markowitz has a mouthful for him.

“Edward R. Murrow High School and the surrounding Midwood community are understandably proud to be home to America’s reigning ‘kings and queens’ of chess,” the borough president told the News. “Our borough has a growing tradition of excellence in ‘the royal game.’ which also includes the stars of ‘Brooklyn Castle’ in Bushwick. They are all stellar role models of mental mastery, and we here in Brooklyn celebrate their triumphs both day and ‘knight’!”

We have no idea what the president could be doing that’s more important than this.

Cleanup060

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz and Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey brought together more than 80 students and their parents from Manhattan Beach’s Mazel Day School for a cleanup of Holocaust Memorial Park.

Aside from tidying up the place, the event was held to commemorate the first anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, which left Mazel’s former Brighton Beach location in tatters.

“This was a great lesson for the children,” Cymbrowitz said of the event, via a press release. “After destruction, there can be new life.”

Supplies for the event were provided by the Parks Department, and the children planted tulip and daffodil bulbs, leaving the park free of litter and weeds.

Cleanup0144

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.

thief

He must have thought it was his lucky day.

After all, the school was unlocked, even though it was closed at the time, welcoming him to have free run of the place.

And so he did, and stumbled across $125, which he pocketed before going on his way.

Happy day, except he was caught on video entering the school building.

Police are hunting for a white male, between 17 and 22 years old, last seen wearing a black t-shirt with red and blue writing on it and blue jeans.

The suspect entered St. Columba School (2245 Kimball Street) in Marine Park on September 25. He entered through an open door at 6:30 p.m., hours after the school had closed for the day. It’s not clear why the door was open.

He then rummaged through the building, and stumbled across a cabinet that held the $125.

Police have released the photo above, taken from the surveillance video that captured the thief’s entry.

If you recognize the man above or have any more information regardng this incident, please contact (800) 577-TIPS (8477) or visit NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM.

[via ABC News]

PS 222, 3301 Quentin Road (Source: Google Maps)

PS 222, 3301 Quentin Road (Source: Google Maps)

State Senator Marty Golden honored P.S. 222 (3301 Quentin Road) for its recognition as a 2013 National Blue Ribbon School winner. Brooklyn News is reporting that the school won for “Exemplary High Performing.”

The award is presented by the US Department of Education and was given out to 236 other public schools across the country this year. Officials from P.S. 222, including Principal Theresa Oliveri and former Principal Louise Blake, will be on hand for the ceremony in Washington D.C. in November.

Golden said he was proud to honor the Marine Park school in his remarks.

“It is an honor to represent such an outstanding school and I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the entire Public School 222 community on this honor.  Together, students, parents, teachers and administrators, have made this great honor possible.  This is a great day for School District 22 and a great day for Marine Park,” Golden said.

US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan commented on prestigious nature of the award.

“National Blue Ribbon schools represent examples of educational excellence, and their work reflects the belief that every child in America deserves a world-class education,” Duncan said.

Congratulations to P.S. 222 on the impressive honor.

karate1

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.

The NYPD’s bomb squad has been called to Sheepshead Bay High School at 3000 Avenue X, after authorities may have found what’s believed to be an explosive device in the basement of the school.

A call came over police scanners at approximately 10:20 a.m., saying that police were on scene with what appeared to be a “military explosive device” found in the basement. The officers on scene requested the NYPD’s Emergency Services Unit.

Readers, like Lisa M., have told Sheepshead Bites that the police presence is heavy and that the school has been evacuated. Lisa wrote:

tons of cops over at Sheepshead High today…kids amassed outside…the police in front of my house (on Batchelder St. near Ave.Y) told me there was a “threat to the school”.

Sheepshead Bites has not been able to confirm with the NYPD if an actual explosive has been found and confirmed. We will update as more information becomes available.

UPDATE (11:14 a.m.): It appears that other schools in the area, including P.S. 52 on Nostrand Avenue and Avenue Z have also been evacuated.

UPDATE (11:30 a.m.): An aide in the principal’s office answered the phone and said that everyone has returned to the building and she believes, but was not sure, that the police have left. She declined to provide details about the cause of the evacuation.

Sheepshead Bites is still awaiting a response from the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information and the 61st Precinct.

UPDATE (2:50 p.m.): The “explosive” turned out to be an old science experiment left in the building’s basement. The Daily News reports:

The NYPD bomb squad determined the device was a harmless World War II-era depth gauge, school officials said.

“It is thought this suspicious package may be a World War II relic that may have once been used in a very old science project,” Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said in a statement.

Students were allowed back in the school within two hours, officials said.

This is a breaking news story and may contain inaccuracies. We will update it as more information becomes available. If anyone has more information or additional photos, please send them to tips (at) sheepsheadbites (dot) com.

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