Two Far Rockaway renewal schools to be closed

PS/MS 42 Robert Vernam School (top); MS 53 Brian Piccolo Middle School (bottom)
TimesLedger Newspapers
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Two schools in the Rockaways are among the 14 New York City schools scheduled for closure, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced Monday. A Bronx school where one student was stabbed to death, and another injured was also to be terminated.

The Brian Piccolo Middle School (MS 53) and the Robert Vernam School (PS/MS 42) are the two renewal schools in Queens on the chopping block, according to the chancellor.

Piccolo is located at 10-45 Naemoke St. in Far Rockaway and Vernam is at 488 Beach 66th St. in Arverne.

Schools under the renewal program slated to be closed received funding to help them improve, but failed to show any sustainable progress, according to Farina.

The schools that were closed had a combination of poor test scores, enrollment, college readiness, attendance, and classroom instruction as well as school leadership, according to an analysis by the city’s Department of Education. Those schools’ also had chronic absenteeism.

Fariña determined students would be served better by attending a stronger or higher performing school.

The Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation in the Bronx, a school on the renewal list, which had a student who was fatally stabbed to death, another sent to the hospital and a third arrested, was among the 14 proposed to be shutdown.

City Council Education Committee Chairman Daniel Dromm’s office (D-Jackson Heights) cited reports from student witnesses that blamed the stabbing on anti-gay bullying episodes that were not addressed by the school administration.

Despite the closures, four schools in Queens that were on the renewal list and made small, but steady gains will be among the Rise School Program, according to the DOE. These schools met 67 percent of their benchmark in improving test scores, attendance, and college readiness, and will receive less renewal resources going forward.

The Pan American International High School (Elmhurst), Ocean School Elementary (Far Rockaway), Richard S. Grossley Junior High School (Jamaica) and John Adams High School (Ozone Park) are the four Rise schools in the borough, according to the DOE.

“We’re not giving up,” said Fariña. “We are just tweaking a little bit about where the support is needed.”

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

Posted 12:00 am, December 25, 2017
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Reader feedback

Deasia john from Arverne, New York says:
PS/MS 42 should have been closed down. There are a lot of reports on that school that was just pushed under the rug and not handled in the right way. Principal Patrica Finn needs to be fired because she does nothing to protect them kids. Shut the school down
Dec. 27, 2017, 7:38 pm
Ilyassha Shivers from Far Rockaway says:
I don't understand how things can get so far gone unless there is poor over sight and supervision. When it comes to Far Rockaway, education has been below standards for sometime. It seems that at this juncture there is more at play than just the education of our children. There was millions of dollars invested into P.S.42 . There has been a scramble by charter school to snatch up schools on the peninsula, I hope this is not another chapter. On another note community control needs to be revisited. Bringing in people who are just there to collect a check has been a failure . And as for IS 53 the charter school that is currently housed in that building has made it we'll know their intentions to expand .. what a coincidence
Dec. 29, 2017, 7:18 am
Cassandra Smothers from Far Rockaway says:
Irs very sad to see how bad things have gotten for our children here in the Rock. While I cant offer a solution to the problem of these failing schools I can offer a suggestion,see what the charter schools do didferent to have these children excell...try and not only hold the teachers responsible hold these parents accountable also because the consistency starts at home. I have my own experience. I sent mt child to a school on the Rock and before he was to enter Kindergarten I was going to find a better school and I did. They choose him by lottery CPCS and its been the best thing ever. Although it demands alot and sometimes I dont want to do somethings when i get off work but this school forces you to be apart of your childs learning foundation and experience. Maybe this is what these schools need.
Dec. 30, 2017, 12:30 am

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