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Photo by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS
Photo by Suzanne Monteverdi/QNS

The city is clearing house at a Flushing school in an effort to “turnaround” conditions at the struggling institution.

Flushing High School will be completely re-staffed, according to a city Department of Education (DOE) spokesperson. Teachers and staff must begin re-applying for their positions and will be interviewed by city-designated staffing committees “over the next several months.”

The entire process is expected to be completed by the end of this school calendar year. The DOE will also conduct recruitment events in the spring and summer for new applicants. The number of hires will be determined based on the number of students attending the school.

In an initial change, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña decided to remove Flushing High School Principal, Tyee Chin, from his position, effective in late October. He was the first principal to stay on for a second year since 2011.

Chin has since been replaced by Ignazio Accardi: an educator who has worked for the DOE for more than 20 years. He serves as interim acting principal.

The school at 35th Avenue and Union Street will not close during the process in an effort to create a seamless transition for its near 2,000 students, according to the DOE. Veritas Academy and Queens High School for Language Studies, which are also housed in the same building, will not be impacted.

District 25’s Flushing High School was designated a Renewal School by the DOE in 2014 as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s initiative to give a $150 million boost to 86 of the city’s struggling public education institutions. Schools received curriculum overhauls, leadership support and training programs and other resources to support their reversal, according to the DOE.

In a 2015-2016 DOE school quality snapshot, Flushing High School ranked “poor” in effective school leadership, strong family-community ties and trust between community members. It ranked “fair” in student achievement.

“Having a strong leader and the right team of teachers is essential to a successful school, and this re-staffing process is the necessary next step in the work to turnaround these schools,” Fariña said.

Bronx’s DeWitt Clinton High School will undergo a similar process, according to the DOE.

Upon informing attendees at the November Community Board 7 meeting about the changes at Flushing High School, board member Arlene Fleishman added that the assistant principal of the school was also recently removed.

“[The school] has fallen far below expectations,” Fleishman said.

New College Point public school

Fleishman also gave an update on JHS 336Q, which is slated to open up at the former site of St. Fidelis School in 2018. The 507-seat school have a maritime studies theme, allowing students in the waterfront community to engage in science, engineering and other studies in the field.

JHS 336 will be a lottery school, with priority given to residents of College Point. If seats are filled by College Point children, no seats will be offered to children from other neighborhoods, Fleishman said.

Renee Klager has been chosen as the school’s interim acting principal. She currently serves as assistant principal at P.S. 24 in Flushing.

A committee consisting of administrators, teachers, parents and community members will begin meeting in January to discuss school-related updates and concerns. Fleishman said she will serve on the committee.

“To me, this is a great step forward, and an opportunity to again be part of the schools in our district,” the board member said. “The way a school goes is the way a community goes. We all know that.”

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