Dist. 26 president planning for activism in new regions

By Ayala Ben-Yehuda

Sharon Maurer, president of Community School Board 26, isn’t about to put her feet up and relax once the district in which she has been president for 14 years is eliminated under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s restructuring of city schools.

Maurer, along with fellow board members Incha Kim, Yen Shia Chou and Pradeep Tandon plan to form a group that Maurer likens to “a PR (public relations) committee” for local schools.

The yet-to-be-named volunteer group will reach out, especially to immigrant parents, on behalf of schools holding parent engagement forums or workshops on everything from standardized testing to the high school entrance process.

“All you need are people who want to do it,” said Maurer. “The only challenge is making sure that translation services are available, and the schools have to be offering (parents) something that they feel is important to their child’s education. You’re talking about people who work very long hours, seven days a week.”

While the schools will hold the events, the committee will help bring in the parents through phone calls, visits to houses of worship and multilingual advertisements in local ethnic media, Maurer said.

Schools in need of translation services could also call upon the group, whose leadership will be composed of a Chinese, Korean and Indian member.

The committee will begin its outreach in District 2 since it is composed at the top of community school board members who have existing relationships with local schools.

District 26 covers Bayside, Oakland Gardens, Little Neck, Douglaston, Auburndale, Hollis Hills, Glen Oaks and parts of Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Bellerose and Floral Park.

The district will be combined with Districts 25, 28 and 29 into Region 3, one of 10 new instructional divisions in the city that will replace the 32 community districts.

Judith Chin, head of Region 3, has signed on to the idea of a community outreach group, Maurer said. “If we’re doing it well, we could expand it on a regional level,” she said.

Another person whose position is being eliminated under the mayor’s plan is Claire McIntee, the popular superintendent of District 26.

McIntee is leaving the district but will remain involved in education at the city level after her position ends June 30.

She will be vice president for leadership development at The Leadership Academy, a new training academy for principals that will act as a consultant to the city Department of Education.

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 1-718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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