By Rich Bockmann
The U.S. Department of Education recently recognized three northeast Queens elementary schools as among the most successful in the nation.
Both the Early Childhood School for Science and Technology (PS 130) and PS 159 in Bayside as well as PS 173 in Fresh Meadows received the 2011 National Blue Ribbon Schools award in the high-performing schools category, which measures performances in English language arts and mathematics, especially at schools with disadvantaged students.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recognized 305 schools across the country with the award. The three Queens schools were among seven to receive the award in the city.
Aba Kumi, director of the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program, said PS 130, 2001-01 42nd Ave., has both a diverse student population and a record of consistently high performance.
“As an early childhood school catering to K-3 students, the teaching practices at the school focus the emotional, academic and social needs of the whole child during their critical developmental years,” she said.
Kumi said PS 159, 205-01 33rd Ave., with its economically and ethnically diverse student body, has forged strong partnerships with its entire school community.
“Administrators, teachers, parents and students all work together on their ongoing pursuit of academic excellence,” she said.
The school’s new principal, Paul DiDio, said the student body’s makeup is predominantly Asian and Caucasian coming from working and middle-class families. He said 33 percent of his students receive free lunches and credited the work of his predecessor for the award.
“The school has built relationships with not only staff members here, but at the Lowell Schools as well. This honor is really attributed to former Principal Maureen Zucker, her staff, parents and students,” he said.
Middle school students from the Lowell School, a private school adjacent to PS 159, volunteered to tutor students after class, DiDo said.
PS 173, 174-10 67th Ave., was recognized for its diversity, consistently high performance and providing students with a well-rounded education.
“The school offers a dual language [English/Mandarin] program and have enriched their curriculum by infusing music, the arts and physical education programs,” said Kumi. “Parents, teachers and administrators work collaboratively to meet the needs of all their students.”
All three schools also received “A” grades for the 2010-11 school year from the city Department of Education.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.