Every year there are many more children who qualify for the citywide gifted and talented kindergarten than the Department of Education has seats. Converting STEM into a stand-alone citywide G&T K-8 school will benefit all the STEM children citywide who currently do not have a middle school, and also help resolve the serious mismatch between supply and demand of Citywide G&T seats. Western Queens is an ideal location for a Citywide G&T K-8 school.
Chancellor Dennis Walcott
New York City Department of Education
52 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007
Re: Citywide Gifted and Talented School – Western Queens
Dear Chancellor Walcott:
We are writing to bring to your attention to a serious problem facing the STEM Citywide Gifted and Talented program housed at PS85Q. The STEM program is currently slated to accommodate students in K-5th grade. There is no clear plan for a middle school for these students, unlike their counterparts at all the other Citywide G&T programs. Surely you will agree that this is not acceptable. We respectfully request that the Department of Education fulfill its obligations to the children in the STEM program and provide them with an appropriate Citywide G&T middle school.
We propose that the Department of Education provide a citywide K-8 gifted and talented school sited in western Queens. The STEM program at P.S. 85, with its wonderful, experienced G&T teachers, could grow into this new school.
The current STEM program has one class per grade. From our perspective, the ideal new STEM school would have 4 classes for each grade. Since the Citywide G&T kindergarten seats now number 300, the proposed school would increase available Citywide G&T kindergarten seats by 50%. As you know each year there are many more children who qualify for the citywide gifted and talented kindergarten than the Department of Education has seats. Converting STEM into a stand-alone citywide G&T K-8 school will benefit the STEM children who currently do not have a middle school, and also help resolve the serious mismatch between supply and demand of Citywide G&T seats.
Western Queens is an ideal location for a Citywide G&T K-8 school. It is easily accessible by subway, bus and car from all five boroughs. There are many large industrial sites that are currently available. A new school, in an accessible building, will provide access for children who are gifted and talented and have accessibility issues.
This approach--building a school out of a program--is one that has been followed by other citywide G&T programs, such as Anderson, with great success. The STEM community at PS 85 Q is prepared to assist in any way we can with this endeavor. We would appreciate a chance for a group of parents of STEM students to meet with you and discuss this further. Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Very truly yours,
cc: Michael Bloomberg, Mayor
Helen Marshall, Queens Borough President
Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President
Dmytro Fedkowskyj, Queens Member, Panel for Educational Policy
Peter Vallone, Jr., City Councilperson
Michael Gianaris, NY State Senator
Aravella Simotas, NY State Assemblyperson
Catherine Nolan, NY State Assemblyperson
Philip Composto, District 30 superintendent
Community District Education Council 30 Members