By Alex Christodoulides
In September, JHS 157 Stephen A. Halsey, located at 63-55 102nd St. in Rego Park, will be home to a “school within a school” called Civic Leadership Academy. Halsey has grades six to nine already, and the DOE said that in September the Civic Leadership Academy will accept its first sixth-grade class and then add another grade level each year until there are classes through grade 12.The Civic Leadership Academy will have a separate principal, administration and academic mission from Halsey's, a DOE spokeswoman said.Of the other schools, Bell Academy will be a new 6-12 school located within PS 169 at 18-25 212th St. in Bayside. North Queens Community High School has not yet been sited but will accept transfer students with rolling admissions. Scholars' Academy, located at 320 Beach 104th Street in Rockaway Park, currently accepts students in grades six through eight and will expand to accommodate ninth grade beginning in September.Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein said, “I am gratified to offer our middle-school students and their parents so many promising new schools for these critical transitional years.”The Civic Leadership Academy is expected to enroll 560 students, said a spokesman for City Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills). Halsey's student capacity is 1,500, but its current enrollment is only 1,100, according to DOE data. Katz's office said the numbers are misleading because seven of the school's classrooms that once housed shop classes have not been converted for normal classroom use and are not used. Thus classes at Halsey are 30 to 33 students instead of the desired 20.Katz has urged the DOE to reopen the defunct PS 3 at 108-55 69th Ave. as a middle school and said the decision to make the Halsey building two schools was an unpleasant surprise to her.”I would've appreciated the DOE discussing it with me and the community before making such a drastic decision that affects the community. We found out Friday. I have not had the courtesy of a phone call [from anyone at the DOE], and I think it is a grave disservice to the community,” she said.”We have requested that PS 3 be a middle school. If there are middle school seats needed, why not put them at PS 3? They could make this junior high school much more livable for people in the area, but they didn't do so,” Katz said.Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.