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3 educators pitch for top spot at Woodhaven school

Three aspiring principals presented their plans to Community District Education Council 27 as to how they would run a new Woodhaven elementary school set to open in September.

One of the three, Diane Marino-Coleman, said she was an assistant principal for 10 years and an educator since 1981, teaching kindergarten through eighth-grade, ESL, general education and special education.

“I’m ready to become a school leader,” she told CDEC 27.

If she were to be selected as the new principal at the new PS 273 at 89th Avenue and 102nd Street in Woodhaven, Marino-Coleman said the mission of the school would be that the children will have “real life experiences.”

“They will be lifelong learners,” she said.

Marino-Coleman said she would use the core curriculum in line with New York state standards.

One idea she had was to conduct a food drive at the school, where children would hand out food to needy families and organizations. She said researching worthy organizations would constitute a learning experience.

“Technology will also be used as a tool,” she said, noting she would want the children to learn Web and video conferencing.

The second applicant, Tessa Alleyne, said she would use the core knowledge sequence, a type of curriculum she said helps students perform better in class.

“It meets the needs of the diverse learners,” she said.

Under her leadership, she said the school would expose students to science and math, which she said would give them a better chance at being lifelong learners.

Alleyne said she would also institute a six-day rotation of classes. For instance, if a child had gym on Monday, the next week they would have gym on Tuesday.

Nicole Reed-Christopher, the third aspiring principal, said she has worked within the city Department of Education for the past 11 years.

She said the theme of the school would be leadership and that the children would learn the skill starting at age 4 or 5.

“Our idea is our children will rise,” she told CDEC 27, which covers Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Howard Beach and the Rockaways. “It really is something that our children are not too young to learn.”

She said the school would focus on accountability and curriculum assessment and have a standards-based curriculum.

“We need to be able to synergize for success,” she said. “Our children need to be prepared to take over for us in the world.”

The next step for the applicants is for them to submit their proposals to the DOE and then they will be interviewed next month.

With the creation of the new school, zoning changes will be implemented.

Nick Boltz of the DOE’s Office of Portfolio and Development said its initial proposal will alleviate overcrowding in the four most overcrowded schools in the district: PS 97, which is at 146 percent capacity, PS 60 (128 percent), PS 64 (147 percent) and PS 65 (134 percent).

The zoning changes affect incoming kindergarten classes, not every grade, he said. A younger sibling can enroll at a school they are not zoned for if their sibling is enrolled in that school at fifth-grade or below, he said.

Under the initial zoning proposal, PS 97 will go from having 748 students to 624 after six years, PS 64 will go from 684 students to 632 students, PS 60 would go from 1,202 students to 1,140 and PS 65 will go from 526 current students to 430.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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