2015-10-07 / Front Page

Nolan Testifies At PS 111 Receivership Hearing

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan with Dr. Philip Composto, Dionne Jaggon, Principal, PS 111, Anju Rupchandani, Zone 126, Deria Matthews, Community School Coordinator, PS 111, Franz Loza, New York City Department of Education, and parents and students from the school.Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan with Dr. Philip Composto, Dionne Jaggon, Principal, PS 111, Anju Rupchandani, Zone 126, Deria Matthews, Community School Coordinator, PS 111, Franz Loza, New York City Department of Education, and parents and students from the school.Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan testified at the PS 111 School Receivership Hearing on September 29. The following is her testimony.

As the elected representative for the 37th Assembly district I am here to advocate on behalf of PS 111.  

PS 111 is one of the local elementary schools for this area, which includes the surrounding neighborhood and the Queensbridge, Astoria, and Ravenswood housing complexes.  During my tenure, the school has had a host of challenges, most recently seeing nearly yearly turnover in its principals.  The school’s principal, Principal Jaggon, is in her second year and is only the second principal in recent memory to stay past the first year.

Last year, I pushed very hard for PS 111 to be made one of the city’s community schools, and was extremely disappointed when it was not chosen in the first round.  Fortunately, the city did include the school in the second round of the program, and the school began this year as a renewal school and a community school.  I was honored to visit the school last week and see all the hard work that is going on there to improve the school, observing well-run classrooms, meeting teachers and staff, and hearing from the principal, the DOE (Department of Education), and the community partner, Zone 126, about what steps they will take to transform the school.  I feel confident that their response and actions will lead to positive results for the school.

In my opinion, the most important change that can be made is that the school be given a new, upgraded kitchen. The current kitchen is very old and does not have the equipment or capability to prepare hot meals.  Instead, outside meals are brought in and simply warmed up. 

This is a community that deserves decent school meals.  If the kitchen were upgraded, the school could also serve as a summer feeding site, which would serve the dual purpose of offering a much-needed service to the families and children who live near the school and bring the community into the school to see what it has to offer.

I continue to urge DOE to give this school the support and resources it deserves, and to support the community school model it has put in place here to its full extent.  I congratulate Dr. Phil Composto, Principal Jaggon and all our community partners for working to improve PS 111.  It is my hope that they will do that with the voice and involvement of those who live in the neighborhood, which is an established and long standing community.

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