Oakland Gardens’ PS 203 earns Blue Ribbon honors

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Photo gallery

PS 203 students wave ribbons during a musical revue, entitied "There Ain't Nothin' Like Our School!", performed to celebrate the Oakland Gardens' school's designation as a National Blue Ribbon School. Photo by Christina Santucci
Teacher Joseph Seifers performs a dance during the musical revue, "There Ain't Nothin' Like Our School!" Photo by Christina Santucci
PS 203 Principal Carol Nussbaum (r.) introduces Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott. Photo by Christina Santucci
Students take the stage during the musical revue, "There Ain't Nothin' Like Our School!" Photo by Christina Santucci
Participants wave ribbons at the conclusion of the musical revue, "There Ain't Nothin' Like Our School!" Photo by Christina Santucci
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott smiles as PS 203 students perform a rendition of "We love you, Chancellor." Photo by Christina Santucci

On the wall inside the lobby of the Oakland Gardens School, a vibrant display of blue outlined why students at PS 203 think their school deserved its classification as a National Blue Ribbon School.

“Our teachers are very bestowed and dedicated to children’s education,” said fifth-grader Vishnu Kumar. “Being part of PS 203 makes me feel ebullient and jovial.”

Kumar’s advanced use of vocabulary offered a glimpse as to why the Oakland Gardens School filled up its auditorium last Thursday to celebrate its classification as one of the five Blue Ribbon schools in New York City. Students at the school put on an elaborate musical and theatrical performance, packed with blue-themed songs and dances to songs such as “Blue Moon” and “Blue Suede Shoes” to an audience full of school and city officials as well as their peers.

The National Blue Ribbon Award honors both public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at high levels or where significant improvements are made in student achievement. In the award’s 30-year history, the honor has been bestowed upon more than 7,000 schools throughout the country.

“This is a team effort,” city Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott told the packed room to open up the celebration ceremony. “It’s not just the principal, not just the teachers, not just the parent coordinators, not just the students and not just the parents. It’s all these people who helped win this prestigious award.”

The school’s dedication to the arts was on full display in the ceremony’s opening performance in which students and faculty members sang songs and acted out scenes to explain the significance of the award.

Principal Carole Nussbaum, who has led PS 203 for about two decades, said she could not be more proud to be at the helm of the school, which was one of only 269 schools nationwide to receive the Blue Ribbon distinction for overall excellence in 2012.

“Our school won this award because we performed at a very high level,” Nussbaum said. “We will continue to work hard to be a school of excellence.”

Only one other school in Queens received the distinction this year in nearby Floral Park, where small PS 191 also celebrated its new blue status,

Joining in on the celebrations were several political figures, including city Comptroller John Liu, City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) and state Sens. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) and Tony Avella (D-Bayside).

Liu, who also attended PS 203 as a boy and graduated as the school’s valedictorian, said it was a great day for the students, parents and staff.

“To be nationally recognized is no small feat and they deserve every ounce of congratula­tions,” Liu said. “This shows what our schools in New York City are capable of.”

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Posted 1:00 am, December 6, 2012
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Reader feedback

Lou from Bayside says:
How come the "Parent Coordinator" is not a parent but rather a friend of the Principal collecting approximately 45,000 a year for a part time job! Id there not one parent who is qualified and would be willing to take the postition! The Parent Co Ordinator is a huge scam!
Dec. 8, 2012, 10:40 am
Q27 rider from bayside says:
Many of these kids don't even live in district 26 and shouldn't be attending this school. Your reporter should get on the Q27 bus that stops near the school and goes to flushing and see all the elementary school kids riding the bus back to their real home addresses.
Dec. 13, 2012, 10:20 pm
Bob from Bayside says:
To Q27: Well, it's because P.S. 203 welcomes all students with their gifts, talents, and intelligence. I personally know from an anonymous source that more than 70% of the school lives in District 26.
Jan. 8, 2013, 6:38 pm
Bob from Bayside says:
To Lou: Well, the Parent Coordinator was most likely a parent of a student there years ago. She is one of the best coordinators I've ever met, and that's what made P.S. 203 a Blue Ribbon School! And I'll have you know that the whole entire PTA would be willing and qualified to become the Parent Coordinator!
Jan. 8, 2013, 6:41 pm
Human from Earth says:
I used to go to P.S. 203 :( I left last year
Jan. 25, 2013, 11:40 pm
Human from Earth says:
And I didn't live in District 26 >:C So what, huh? I got in cause I passed the Gifted and Talented test. Then we had to move to Long Island :'C
Jan. 25, 2013, 11:42 pm
Bob from Nowhere says:
Yea that's my school
Jan. 26, 2013, 7:44 am
Derpy Dude from Bayside says:
I go to P.S.203.t is a great school I'm a fifth grader there you will never know who I am laugh out loud.
Jan. 31, 2013, 7:34 pm
Derpy Dude from Bayside says:
Sorry i meant "It is a great school."
Jan. 31, 2013, 7:35 pm
Derpy Dude from Bayside says:
I have great friends at P.S.203,and i feel bad for you "human from Earth."
Jan. 31, 2013, 7:36 pm
Derpy Dude from Bayside says:
Anyone there????
Jan. 31, 2013, 7:37 pm
Friend from Friendlyland says:
Hello friends!!!!U guys are all great and P.S. 203 is a great school and intelligent kids they have!!!! :D
Feb. 1, 2013, 5:05 pm
JR from Bayside says:
Ms. Nussbaum kicked out Special Education to improve 203's scores on standardized tests.

The reporter should talk to some of her teachers off the record.
Sept. 20, 2013, 7:16 am
Layla from Bayside says:
July 15, 2015, 3:07 pm
Lolop from Long island says:
Hi good day!
July 17, 2015, 8:08 pm

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