Astoria parents win fight with DOE
by Andrew Pavia
Apr 18, 2013 | 622 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Department of Education (DOE) has abandoned a proposal to add middle-school students to P.S. 122 Astoria and make change to the gifted and talented (G&T) program after parents and teachers opposed the plan.

DOE proposed add three more grades for general education students, as well as cutting seats in the successful and popular G&T program.

Parents made their opposition to the plan known at a large public hearing in the school's auditorium, and later at a rally outside DOE headquarters in Manhattan.

Convinced that if Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott could see the school in action he would change his mind, Parent-Teacher Association president Claudia Lieto-McKenna and other parents met with Walcott in the school's library on April 8.

One week later the department agreed to drop the proposal.

Lieto-McKenna said Walcott listened to the parents and even apologized for the lack of community outreach.

“Walcott was impressed with the room,” she said.

“We’ve listen, and we know what an exceptional job P.S. 122 is doing with its G&T students,” said DOE spokesperson Devon Puglia. “We’re going to take more time to think through the challenge, consider ways to ensure equality and excellence for all families, and reengage with the community in the future.”

There are other changes coming for District 30, though. A new G&T program is in the works for 60 student at I.S. 126 in Long Island City. According to DOE, it will actually be modeled after the program at P.S. 122.

Lieto-McKenna said she was glad that Walcott was willing to listen. “We felt like our voices were being lost,” she said.

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