Parents Fight To Save Program
Parents and students of P.S./I.S. 119 in Glendale are rallying in support of the school’s Theatre Department after a member of the school community learned that the teacher who runs the program will no longer be there in September.
Darlene DiSanti, a member of the School Leadership Team, told the Times Newsweekly in an phone interview that the teacher in charge of the program, Evan Belhivanis, was “excessed” after over eight years as head of the Theatre Department.
DiSanti added that parents and students have been writing letters and are attempting to find grant funding to bring Belhivanis back by Sept. 4, when teachers are required to report to their schools.
“He brings so much out of these children,” said DiSanti, whose daughter is part of the student Theatre program at P.S./I.S. 119.
In her email, DiSanti cited statistics that claim that students involved in drama classes improve school attendance, communication skills and SAT scores.
The program puts on several programs every year, including winter and spring arts festivals. Throughout Belhivanis’ tenure, over 300 students have participated in the program, according to DiSanti.
Calls to P.S./I.S. 119 regarding Belhivanis’ status were unreturned as of press time; District 24 Community Education Council President Nick Comaianni stated that personnel decisions are up to the school.