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DOE wants parents’ say on courses for new Maspeth school

The city Department of Education is asking for community input as it plans the curriculum for its new high school at 54-40 74th St. in Maspeth.

Construction has already begun on the new school, which will seat 1,100 students — 100 of whom will be special education students — and is located in School District 24, which encompasses Maspeth, Glendale, Ridgewood and Middle Village.

While what the building will look like and its features have been decided, what the students will learn has not, said DOE spokesman Jack Zarin-Rosenfeld.

“This summer has sort of kicked off the planning around this high school,” he said.

Last month, the DOE’s Division of Portfolio Planning held a public meeting to discuss with parents what kind of school they would like to see, Zarin-Rosenfeld said. The division also handed out a survey to the parents, asking them what type of additional programs should be offered at the school — such as college prep, foreign language or advanced placement classes; if they preferred students to wear uniforms; what school-based programs at other districts have been most beneficial; and what organizations should the new school partner with.

Although the survey was originally handed out at the meeting, Zarin-Rosenfeld said the DOE has put the survey on its website for more respondents. So far, the DOE has received 400 surveys. The department will continue collecting them until the fall and will hold a meeting, yet to be determined, about the survey results, Zarin-Rosenfeld said.

“Just continue that engagement of what people want to see in that building,” he said.

The school’s construction is expected to be finished early, in September 2012. For its first year, the high school may be incubated at the Metropolitan Avenue school campus, but as of now that plan is only in the preliminary stages.

Zarin-Rosenfeld said students from the district will get priority.

“That will ensure that we’re getting a lot of Queens residents from the neighborhood who can attend the high school.”

Nick Comaianni, president of Community Education Council 24, said he would have preferred kids from the immediate neighborhood had priority.

“We felt it should have been a locally zoned school,” he said. “As a local school it would have had less traffic.”

He also said he thinks the surveys are good, but would rather see more meetings in areas across the district.

“I still don’t feel there’s a lot of community and parental input into this school,” he said.

To participate in the survey, go to schools.nyc.gov/community/planning/changes/queens/District24.htm. The survey is available in English and Spanish.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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