Three boro schools crack state’s top-25

City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott (l.) greets youngsters at PS 203 in Oakland Gardens during a visit to celebrate the school being named one of the best in New York state. Photo by Phil Corso
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A blue school rolled out the red carpet this week when city Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott made a pit stop in Oakland Gardens to congratulate its students and teachers as some of the best in the state.

A total of 22 schools throughout the city cracked the state’s Top 25 list, including Oakland Gardens’ 2012 National Blue Ribbon school at PS 203. Walcott teamed up with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other top DOE administrators Monday to visit some of the city’s best schools, giving thanks to their performance on new Common Core exams.

“The transition to Common Core learning standards has been years in the making, but as demonstrated by these 22 schools, New York City is adjusting to the higher standards as well as anyone could have hoped,” Walcott said. “I am extremely proud of the work being done in our schools to better prepare our students for life after graduation.”

Walcott said the more rigorous curriculum helped put the city on the map when compared to 2001, when none of its schools made the state’s Top 25 list. The chancellor popped his head into several classrooms up and down the halls of PS 203 in Oakland Gardens before sitting down for a school assembly dedicated in his name.

“You’re not just smart, you’re good students and great children,” Walcott told the crowded auditorium of PS 203 youngsters. “This school’s reputation is the best. Not just in New York City, but in New York state.”

PS 203 Principal Carole Nussbaum said her school was lucky to visit with the chancellor twice in the past year, with his most recent stop there coming on the heels of its prestigious 2012 National Ribbon declaration. Nussbaum, wearing all blue, touted the school’s arts and music programs before students put her words into action in the form of song and dance.

The Oakland Gardens school was one of three Queens schools to make up the 22 of the Top 25 throughout the state, including Baccalaureate School for Global Education in Long Island City and Scholars’ Academy in the Rockaways.

The other city schools making the state’s Top 25 list included the full range from traditional public schools to charter schools, all ranked in accordance with their performance on a exam standard known as Common Core, the DOE said. The department spent more than $100 million to train teachers on the new curriculum, and Bloomberg said the investment has been paying off.

“These schools’ success outperforming the best schools in the rest of the state represents the incredible transformation that has taken place in our city’s schools over the past 12 years,” Bloomberg said. “There was once a time when even the best New York City schools struggled to compete with other school districts in the state. Now, the opposite is true, and the best schools in the rest of the state are trying to keep up with New York City’s best schools.

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

Updated 12:51 am, September 20, 2013
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Reader feedback

Lou from Bayside says:
Did the chancellor notice the lack of African American students at ps 203? The principal rolls out the red carpet for Asian students but its not the case for African American students!
Sept. 19, 2013, 7:15 pm
bnc626 from bayside says:
Asians always want to "claim" that they made the school districts in Northeastern Queens, but in reality these schools were the best performing schools for many years before these asians moved into bayside and oakland gardens. These schools were filled with african american and white children at one point of time....and both of these races working together made this school district great!! Not the Asians!!
Sept. 23, 2013, 11:35 am

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