Vol. 12, No. 5 March 11 - 24, 1999


School Board Votes to Cancel 650 Seats


In a classic Man-Bites-Dog scenario, after years of demanding the New York City Board of Education provide overcrowded District 10 with more seats, Community School Board 10 has voted to turn down a new school. At an emergency meeting held Monday, March 8, the board voted 5-4 to cancel Middle School 368, a 650-seat school the Board of Ed sought to build in Marble Hill near PS 37 and Kennedy High School.

Boardmembers opposing MS 368 feared the school had been sited on contaminated ground.

"There is a potential for significant adverse impact," said facilities chair Tom Murray at the board's February meeting. "Would you send your children to such a school?"

Members voting to scrap MS 368 were resolution author and Board President Charles Williams, Murray, Melvina VanDross, Myrna Calderon, and Carlos Cortes.

The wing of the board calling for a 6-12th grade Riverdale-Kingsbridge Academy -- Dianna Pelaez Tabacco, Ted Weinstein, Eleanor McGrath, and Estelle Levine -- reacted critically to the resolution and voted against it.

"The one thing I thought we all agreed on was the need to find more seats for this district," Tabacco said. "And tonight, I hear, 'Gee, I guess we're not that overcrowded after all.'"

The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) also opposed the removal of MS 368.

"Any plan that eliminates seats instead of adding them is unacceptable," said Marsha Silberman, who represents UFT in District 10.

A motion to codify the Riverdalian's 10-Point Plan for a Riverdale-Kingsbridge Academy failed 4-5 along the same factional lines.

PS 8 Celebrates 100th Day of School


In the adult world, the number 100 has always been a benchmark of longevity. But for students at PS 8 elementary school with no concept of the significance of 100, their orientation to the century mark started on their first day of school.

From the first day of class in September to the 100th in February, kindergarten to fifth grade students alike have been working on variations on the theme, "100th Day of School". Students and faculty members at PS 8 recently celebrated the 100th day of school by adorning their hallways with mathematical and poetic posters dealing with the number 100. Using the number 100 as a point of reference, students created such works as "100 Things We Learn In School," "100 Favorite Words," and "100 Great Lines In Literature".

In addition, students had the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities in the school's lobby by listing their favorite foods and countries on erected easel pads. They also learned the process of estimation by guessing the number of jelly beans or blocks in a jar.

"Kids don't have any idea of the significance of the number 100," said Joyce Kleman, math staff developer and the architect of the 100th Day program. "We try to make the kids more mathematically and literally conscious." She gave an example of teaching the kids how to integrate mathematics and English by drawing a Venn diagram and listing two authors whose works overlapped dealing with certain topics. "This program builds confidence and self esteem within the kids, because other kids and parents see their work and compliment them."

The program seems to be a big hit with some fifth graders at PS 8.

"I like this because you get to celebrate with each other like a family and also learn new things from each other," said Emina Kukic.

"I like the fact that we can work as a team," said Tyrone Carter, whose fifth grade class worked on 100 possible future careers. Carter said he wants to be an astronaut when he grows up.

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