Today’s news:

Forest Hills school ready for new class: City set to give assignments for seats at former PS 3 bldg

Forest Hills's little red schoolhouse, formerly known as PS 3 at 108-55 69th Ave., will begin accepting students next month, the city Department of Education said.

The building is to house the new Academy for Excellence Through the Arts and be known as PS 303 when it opens its doors in September to students in pre-kindergarten through first-grade, the DOE said. It will eventually enroll students through grade three, as per plans the city announced in 2006.

"The school gives priority to students zoned for PS 196 and PS 206. These schools are distributing the application to their parents, but any parent who does not have an application and wants to apply can visit the borough enrollment office at 90-27 Sutphin Blvd. to pick up an application," DOE spokesman Andrew Jacob wrote in an e-mail.

In 2006, the school building was eyed by City Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills) and the local community as a site for a locally zoned new middle school for grades six through eight to alleviate some of the crowding at the nearby Stephen Halsey (JHS 157) and Russell Sage (JHS 190) schools, but the city nixed the plan and instead offered an elementary school.

Jacob said the DOE is to begin assigning students to classes at PS 303 sometime in the next month. There are to be two full-day pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes, and one first grade class in the building in September, Katz's office said.

Any parent can apply for his or her child to enroll at PS 303, but if there are more applicants than seats, local children who are zoned for PS 196 or PS 206 in Forest Hills are to take priority, Jacob said.

Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at achristodoulides@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

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