89 boro schools named to list of most improved

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A Jamaica school Monday was named Queens’ most improved school for the second year running when the state Education Department released its list of the best schools in the state in English and math.

PS 82 at 88-02 144th St. in Jamaica reported a 58 percentage point increase in English test scores from 2003 when compared with the scores from 1999, according to the state results.

“There’s no big secret,” said Jane Ginsberg, who took over as principal at PS 82 about seven years ago. “It would be nice if people could name a magic ingredient, but like every good cake we have a lot of ingredients.”

The school joins 88 other elementary and middle schools in Queens in making the list, based on state tests in English and math given to fourth- and eighth-graders, according to the state Education Department release.

In compiling the list, the Education Department includes schools that report an improvement of more than 20 percentage points on the tests since 1999, the news release said. Queens had a total of 86 elementary schools on the list, with many facilities showing improvements on both the English and math tests.

Two borough middle schools recorded improvements in math, while no Queens junior highs appeared on the English improvement list, the state results showed.

“The achievement gap is closing slowly statewide,” said state Regents Chancellor Robert Bennett, referring to the difference between successful and unsuccessful schools. “These results are the product of hard work and dedication. What these schools have done should be inspiring to all of us.”

At PS 82, a kindergarten through fifth-grade school with about 700 students, Ginsberg and her staff were able to transform the facility from a failing school into the most improved in the borough. About four years ago, the school was marked for corrective action, meaning the state might have intervened to improve test scores, Ginsberg said. She blamed the situation on staff instability, overcrowding and a lack of appropriate materials.

But things started to improve once the school got an off-site annex, allowing students and teachers more room for classes, Ginsberg said. The staff also studied the state standards and purchased materials that would help students meet those standards, she said.

“This school has developed a certain culture of setting expectations that are high,” Ginsberg said. “We try very hard not to let the kids fall through the cracks and give them the support they need as early as possible.”

Last year PS 82 was also named one of the most improved schools in the state and was honored by the state Business Council with a $1,000 check and a laptop computer.

The following schools also made the list of most improved schools.

Fourth-grade English:

District 24 in Glendale — PS 87, PS 68, PS 49, PS 19, PS 199, PS 13, PS 153, PS 88, PS 7 and PS 14.

District 25 in Flushing — PS 184, PS 214, PS 154, PS 201, PS 24, PS 165, PS 29, PS 219, PS 21, PS 22, PS 107, PS 79, PS 120, PS 20, PS 32 and PS 193.

District 26 in Bayside — PS 18 and PS 159.

District 27 in Ozone Park — PS 47, PS 60, PS 124, PS 97, PS 100, PS 62, PS 106, PS 90, PS 232, PS 66, PS 207, PS 108, PS 64 and PS 63.

District 28 in Jamaica — PS 82, PS 206, PS 99, PS 80, PS 121, PS 86, PS 50, PS 117, PS 54, PS 144, PS 55 and PS 101.

District 29 in Laurelton — PS 181, PS 132, PS 131, PS 118, PS 36, PS 195, PS 135, PS 38 and PS 156.

District 30 in Long Island City — PS 149, PS 152, PS 127, PS 122 and PS 166.

Fourth-grade math:

District 24 — PS 87, PS 153, PS 143, PS 13, PS 14, PS 68, PS 49, PS 7, PS 89 and PS 19.

District 25 — PS 154, PS 201, PS 22, PS 165, PS 21 and PS 219.

District 26 — none.

District 27 — PS 105, PS 123, PS 43, PS 96, PS 65, PS 106, PS 60, PS 146, PS 124 and PS 63.

District 28 — PS 50, PS 80, PS 140, PS 99, PS 86, PS 117, PS 82, PS 48, PS 121 and PS 54.

District 29 — PS 181, PS 36, PS 35, PS 95, PS 118, PS 37, PS 131, PS 38, PS 195, PS 132, PS 176, PS 15 and PS 135.

District 30 — PS 149, PS 92, PS 171 and PS 166.

Eighth-grade math:

District 25 — IS 237 (the Rachel Carson School).

District 28 — MS 72 (the Catherine and Count Basie School).

    Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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