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Flushing schools doing well with Common Core standards

By Madina Toure

Students in School District 25 have been faring well since the new Common Core Learning standards launched, according to the district’s superintendent.

Fewer than 1 percent of parents in District 25, which covers Whitestone, Flushing, College Point, Malba and Beechhurst, have selected the opt-out clause for tests since the Common Core launched in 2010, Danielle Dimango, the superintendent. She spoke during the Northeast Queens Multicultural Democratic Club’s monthly meeting at a co-op at 43-10 Kissena Blvd. in downtown Flushing last week.

Dimango attributes the low opt-out rate to the heightened preparedness of students in the district.

“I can say as the superintendent going to visit different schools that our students are absolutely ready to explore a lot of the content and what we call rigor of the Common Core Learning Standards,” she said. “They’re able to talk about them. Just the level of work that’s been happening in our schools just blows me away.”

District 25 contains 44 schools — 22 elementary, seven middle/junior high, four K-8, three 6-12 and nine high schools — serving 35,420 students. Dimango represents 33 pre-K-8 schools.

She gave the example of a fourth-grade class at one of the schools in the district that had to create an invention that would relieve back pressure from backpacks.

Using pool noodles as a model, the students developed the process utilizing a combination of writing, mathematics and science.

“That’s a little bit different in terms of expectations around the Common Core, but our kids are rising to the challenge and they’re doing amazing things,” she said.

In February, Carol Whiting, 72, a community activist and retired teacher who heads the education committee for the nonprofit National Congress of Black Women, announced her proposal to create a more comprehensive African-American history curriculum in Flushing’s public schools.

Dimango said the proposal could not necessarily be done at the elementary and middle school levels but that it could work at the high school level.

“It’s slow moving, but we’re working on it and eventually we want to be able to provide our teachers with additional resources to support teachers, especially in the K-8 schools because that’s aligned to the Common Core,” she said. “It’s about going deeper and learning more and being able to explore things.”

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

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