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Volume XVIII • Number 44 • October 27 - November 2, 2011 •
For local schools: A long way to the top
By MIAWLING LAM It's a long way to the top for Riverdale’s public schools. New data reveals local schools have fallen out of the top 15 percent and are struggling to match the academic achievements of their counterparts in Manhattan and Queens. As part of a special investigation last week, the Riverdale Review sorted through countless pages of standardized test results to create a table of all New York City schools ranked according to performance. Using raw aggregates supplied by the NYC Department of Education, two ranking ladders were created—one, which sorted schools by the percentage of students performing at grade level, and another based on a school’s scaled mean scores. This year, P.S. 24 was ranked 94th in English Language Arts and 113th in math out of 711 elementary schools. Meanwhile, P.S. 81 was ranked 299th in math and 152nd in English. The latest rankings represent a fall from grace for Riverdale’s elementary schools, especially for P.S. 24, which was once declared the seventh-best-performing school in the city. According to the New York Times, P.S. 24 had the top reading scores in The Bronx in 1993, with 89 percent of its students performing at or above grade level.
This year, however, only 71 percent of pupils at the Spuyten Duyvil school were deemed proﬁcient in English, while 81 percent met the state’s bar for math proﬁciency. At P.S. 81, 64 percent met the state’s bar for math proﬁciency, and 64 percent of children were deemed to be performing at grade level for English. Figures also show P.S. 24 may no longer represent one of the crown jewels of The Bronx’s public schools. While it still boasts the best English scores in the borough, P.S. 307 in Kingsbridge Heights emerged as the top-performing Bronx school in math. A total of 86 percent of its students were deemed to be performing at or above grade level. Pupils need to achieve a score that falls within Levels 3 and 4 to be considered proﬁcient. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said he was saddened to hear of P.S. 24’s decline. “Hearing those numbers is very disappointing,” he said. “I remember when P.S. 24 was in the top 10, so not being in the top 100 is certainly disappointing. “Clearly they are above more schools than they are behind, but I would hope that our schools would be in the very top tier and they’re not, so I think we have to work harder to make sure they get back into the top tier.” Dinowitz said although curriculum was a major factor in determining a school’s test scores, the number of
experienced teachers in classrooms and the percentage of students with special needs also inﬂuenced results. “I’m sure that we can do better, and there are a lot of good people in the schools, so we need to acknowledge their efforts,” he said. Meanwhile, the rankings reveal that the Riverdale/ Kingsbridge Academy’s middle school is ranked in the top 30 percent in the city across both subjects. The school placed 77th in ELA and 97th in math out of a total of 331 schools. Despite cracking into the top 100, the school recorded a pass rate of just 45 percent for English and 62 percent on the math exam. In fact, The Bronx’s performance as a whole trails behind the rest of the city by so much that RKA is the sixth-best school in the borough for English and ninthbest for math. Among District 10 schools, it’s only second to J.H.S. 118 in Tremont. Elementary schools in Manhattan and Queens dominated the top 20 for both subjects, accounting for a whopping 16 of the 20 highest ranks. The Anderson School, otherwise known as P.S. 334, a highly competitive gifted and talented school on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, topped the English rankings, with more than 99 percent of its students scoring Continued on Page 2
RKA’s high school gets an ‘A’ By MIAWLING LAM The Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy deﬁed tougher graduation requirements and earned an A on this year’s progress report card. The annual evaluations, released by the Department of Education on Monday, reveals H.S. 141 was one of just 128 high schools to receive the top grade this year. It also secured an A in 2010 and 2009. The school racked up 73.9 points out of a possible 100— slightly down from its score of 75.3 in 2010—on the back of recent graduation rates and student performance on Regents exams. Schools that score 70 points and above are awarded an A. RKA's percentile ranking also rose slightly, with the school assessed as being better or equal to that of 77 percent of the city’s high schools. Calls to the school were not returned as of press time, but following the city’s announcement, RKA principal Lori O’Mara took to social media to share the school’s news. “RKA HS earns an A on the NYCDOE Progress Report! Con-
grats to our wonderful teachers, parents and students!” she posted on Twitter. A breakdown of the progress report shows the high school earned an A for student performance and a B for student progress, a category that accounts for 60 percent of a school’s grade. However, a poor showing in school environment dragged down its overall score. The school earned just 6.5 points out of a possible 15—a D grade—after parents, teachers and students criticized the administration on the latest school surveys. For the ﬁrst time ever, education authorities also included three new college-readiness measures on this year’s evaluations. The metrics detail the number of students who take on and excel in advanced courses, graduate ready for college and enroll in a college after high school. Data shows although 38 percent of RKA students graduate college-ready—nearly double the citywide average—the remaining 62 percent are likely to require remedial services. Citywide, only 22 percent Continued on Page 19
RKA Student Government members Rory Muldoon, Ashley Greaves, Evan Silverman and Ezel Peterson welcomed visitors and guided them around the school at last week’s open house for community leaders.
Thursday, October 27, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW
230th St. shopping plan delayed By BRENDAN McHUGH The future shopping center at West 230th Street and Broadway has gone through delay after delay over the past decade, and after being scrapped and restarted, has hit its ﬁrst delay this time around. The deadline for interested developers to submit proposals to the city’s Economic Development Corporation has been extended two weeks, from October 24, to November 7. However, this may be the ﬁrst good delay the project has ever seen. According to EDC representative Kyle Sklerov, "There is signiﬁcant interest in the Broadway Plaza site, and we have extended the deadline to allow respondents more time to ﬁnalize their proposals." Sklerov added that developers requested the additional time because they needed more time to ﬁnalize their proposals on the 80,000-square-foot lot that will include a pedestrian plaza in what is now Kimberly Place. "Dotting the t’s and crossing the i’s pretty much," joked one developer, who asked not to be named. Other developers also conﬁrmed that they were working on proposals, but only under the condition of anonymity because their companies try not to publicize their interest in sites. Local community leaders were pleased to hear that developers were using the extended time to enhance and ﬁnalize proposals. "We're happy the deadline has been extended," Community Board 8 chairman Robert Fanuzzi said. "Good proposals can get better and new proposals can come in. The community will come out the winner the more choices there are." Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, who has been following the site since the ﬁrst attempt at development, has high hopes that the delay will be positive. "I would like there to be as many good proposals as possible," he said. "I want to see a lot of good quality stores in our neighborhood. The site should be used to the max with commercial development. If there are more choices, that can’t be a bad thing." EDC has said the site is one of the last major commercial development opportunities in the city. "This site has the potential to generate substantial private investment, thereby stimulating economic activity and creating good jobs in The Bronx," they said. Earlier this year, Ceruzzi Holdings was set to purchase the land from the city after two years of delays, but they failed to close on the deal by a June 30 deadline and forfeited a $1 million purchasing price. They had agreed to pay $6.7 million total for the space after negotiating the city
Long way to the top
Continued from Page 1
in the top two bands. The prestigious school also boasted a more than 99 percent passing rate on the latest math exam but missed on the top honors after P.S. 172 in Brooklyn recorded a 100 percent pass rate. Under the methodology, schools that had fewer than 100 students or a single assessable grade were automatically eliminated, except those with classes with multiple grades and boasting at least 25 students in each grade. Elementary schools were also separated from middle schools, again with the exception of those that served kindergarten to eighth grade—which were ultimately counted as elementary schools.
down from $15 million in 2006. Debate over whether or not the site should include housing has been linked to the project for years. A handful of proposals included housing the ﬁrst time the city accepted bidders, though none of these proposals made it to the ﬁnal round. The community board has yet to take a position on whether they support housing with the new request for proposals, saying they shouldn’t take a position before seeing what is offered. Dinowitz has sparred with local groups on this issue because he has strongly opposed housing and would like to see the project be 100 percent commercial development. A local group, Kingsbridge Riverdale Van Cortlandt Development Corporation, submitted a proposal the ﬁrst time and it did include housing.
By BRENDAN McHUGH The United States Postal Service gave only four days' notice for a public hearing on the possible closing of the Fieldston post ofﬁce. A letter acquired through Community Board 8 dated October 22 announces a meeting on October 26 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at St. Gabriel’s School to discuss the possible closure of the 444 West 238th Street facility. The lack of notice has infuriated local elected ofﬁcials who have been ﬁghting the move. The USPS plans to examine 17 Bronx ofﬁces for possible closure. "I’m not sure how they expect to get reaction from the community when they don’t give enough notice," Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said. "That’s disgraceful." Dinowitz added that he believes the USPS is giving short notice on purpose so they can go ahead and point to a poor turnout when they choose to close the ofﬁce. "It’s outrageous," City Councilman G. Oliver Koppell said Tuesday. "I learned about it Monday, and Wednesday is the hearing. They’re being contemptuous of the public." A USPS spokeswoman said a notiﬁcation was posted in the Fieldston ofﬁce that was meant to alert "primary users." "Our focus as far as input goes is on the customers who use this ofﬁce on a regular basis. The customer notiﬁcation alerted the primary users," Connie Chirichello said. A number of residents who live along Waldo, Greystone, Riverdale and Oxford avenues all said they had no idea. "Knowing the typical post ofﬁce service in Riverdale, we’ll get a letter letting us
know about the meeting next week," Oxford Avenue resident Melissa Ward said. "Customers who are not able to be at the St. Gabriel’s School at 590 West 235th Street in The Bronx can still have their voice heard through the completion of questionnaires—upon request—at the Fieldston station. Customer comments do not have to be made in person at a public meeting to be part of the public record." Chuck Zlatkin, the legislative and political director for the New York Metro Area Postal Union, said the USPS is most certainly giving short notice on purpose and that the union has brought this up before. "If it happened once that way, OK, but this seems to be standard operating procedure," he said. "This is a typical procedure because they want to limit the participation of the local community." He said the public hearings are nothing more than "show trials" and that the USPS will have no audio or video record of the hearing, just someone lackadaisically taking notes. Rep. Eliot Engel, who actually informed Dinowitz of the meeting during an event Sunday, blasted the USPS, calling the meetings a sham. "I think it’s an outrage. Giving us four days is an insult," he exclaimed. "These hearings are really farces. They have to, by law, have them and go through them, but I have no expectation that anything good will come from them." Engel said there is current legislation he co-sponsors that could provide much needed relief to the USPS, allowing them to save money and save many of their ofﬁces. The USPS had a net loss of $3.1 billion in the third quarter this year, Chirichello
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said, and the service relies only on sales of postage, products and services to fund its operations. "Total mail volume declined to 39.8 billion pieces compared to the same time last year, which was 40.9 billion pieces, a decrease of 2.6 percent thus far." They are examining 3,000 offices throughout the country—34 are in the city, with half of those in The Bronx. The Bronx ofﬁces are: Botanical, Castle Hill, Clason Point, Cranford, Dreiser Loop, Einstein, Esplanade, Fieldston, Hillside, Hunts Point, Melcourt, Morrisania, Spuyten Duyvil, Stadium, University Heights, Van Cott and West Farms. In Westchester, Yonkers South and Sandford Sta in Mount Vernon will be studied.
3 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, October 27, 2011
Short notice on P.O. closure hearing criticized
The bill, H.R. 1351, would use the surpluses in its pension accounts to cover the costs of prefunding its retiree health beneﬁts. In 2006, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, a law that, among other things requires the Postal Service to prefund its retirees’ health beneﬁts, a requirement that no other independent government agency or private company needs to fulﬁll. This prefunding requirement alone costs the Postal Service approximately $5.6 billion per year over ten years. The bill would allow the Postal Service to use the $6.9 billion surplus paid into the Federal Employees Retirement System and the additional billions of excess dollars the Postal Service contributed to the Civil Service Retirement System to help pay for the prefunding requirement.
Thursday, October 27, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW
Around the schools... Gifted and Talented Programs
The DOE reminds parents that this Friday, October 28, is the deadline for submitting test request forms for G&T programs in the city schools. To submit the form online, go to schools.nyc.gov/ ChoicesEnrollment/ApplyOnline. An informational handbook is available at that website. For more information, call 718-935-2009.
The legendary Boo Bash is this Saturday, October 29, from 5 to around 9 p.m. at the school. Costumes are optional but encouraged. If possible, families with children in kindergarten through grade 2 are asked to attend between 5 and 7 p.m., but no one will be turned away from the music, dancing, games, Spooky Spuyten Duyvil Graveyard, Mad Science Laboratory, Tunnel of Terror or bouncy castles. Admission fees, which support the school, are $12 per adult, $6 per child or $30 per family. Event tickets are $1 each. The Riverdale Y is starting Glee Club, a new after-school class on Thursdays from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. P.S. 24 former music teacher Joan Schwartz will teach show tunes and folk songs, and students will give a performance at the end of the session. For more information, call the Y and ask for Jacob at 718-548-8200.
The Halloween parade is next Monday, October 31. Students in kindergarten through second grade get to wear their costumes to school and parade around the building. Following the procession, second-graders will present a fall show including autumn-themed songs. Parents are welcome to attend.
M.S./H.S. 141—Riverdale/ Kingsbridge Academy
RKA hosted an open house for community leaders last week. Representatives from the ofﬁces of Councilman G. Oliver Koppell and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz were there, as were members of Community Board 8 and state Senator Jeffrey Klein, who visited several classrooms. Community Superintendent Sonia Menendez, School Network Leader Bob Cohen, local principals and representatives from area cultural institutions also attended. Eleanor Edelstein from Councilman Koppell's ofﬁce joined Principal Lori O'Mara in a ribbon-cutting to dedicate the school’s new Mac Lab, which was made possible by funds secured by the councilman. Friday morning tours are available through December 16 for parents of prospective middle school students who live within the RKA school zone. The starting time is 8:30 a.m. To register, contact parent coordinator Julie Prince at JPrince4@schools.nyc.gov. High school open house events for eighth-graders and their families are scheduled for Tuesday, November 15, and Wednesday, November 16, at 8:30 a.m. To register, contact parent coordinator Julie Prince at JPrince4@schools.nyc. gov starting the ﬁrst week of November.
Horace Mann School
An admissions open house is scheduled for Sunday, October 30, at 1 p.m. Potential Middle Division families will meet in the Recital Hall and potential Upper Division families will meet at Gross Theatre. The USC Shoah Foundation Institute has certiﬁed Sandy Rubenstein, a Lower Division faculty member, as a specialist in testimonybased education. Rubenstein attended a three-day workshop last summer as part of a Master Teacher Program geared toward Holocaust and tolerance education. The institute trains secondary school teachers in the use of nearly 52,000 video testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses. Upper Division science teachers Dr. Jeff Weitz—a Riverdale resident—and Dr. Stephen Palfrey presented a workshop called Social Media and School at “edcampnyc,” part of Columbia University’s School@Columbia conference.
College Of Mt. St. Vincent
Dr. Rob Jacklosky, chair and professor of English, was recently named as one of ten ﬁnalists in the Aspen Writers’ Foundation and Esquire Magazine 2011 Short Short Fiction contest. Dr. Jacklosky’s story, “Baby Envy,” will be performed at an Esquire Magazine party for a live audience of contest judges and literati next week. He and the other ﬁnalists will participate in a writing workshop taught by Colum McCann, bestselling author of “Let the Great World Spin.” The contest winner will be awarded a full scholarship to an advanced summer ﬁction workshop during Aspen Summer Words this June.
The college was chosen for a Good Neighbor Award by the Methodist Home for Nursing and Rehabilitation at the home’s 160th anniversary gala held at the New York Botanical Garden last week. Manhattan was recognized for enriching the lives of Methodist Home residents by helping to develop a variety of programs throughout the years. In one program, mechanical engineering students in a senior design course created customized products to aid mobility for the home’s residents. Recent creations include a pump that enables residents to ﬁll a glass of water from their bedside pitcher and an indoor gardening table.
By MIAWLING LAM The city will conduct a comprehensive trafﬁc study outside two of Riverdale’s public schools in a bid to combat congestion around the area’s gridlocked streets. The Riverdale Review can reveal the Department of Transportation last week kicked off a 12-week study of roads surrounding P.S. 24 and M.S/H.S. 141 amid growing trafﬁc concerns. Signal timing, signage, road markings and loading zones will be analyzed in the hope of improving trafﬁc ﬂow and children’s safety. Locals claim trafﬁc-calming measures are desperately needed along the ﬁveblock stretch of Independence Avenue between West 232nd and West 237th streets because student lives are being put at risk. Department of Transportation spokesman Montgomery Dean said the study was launched after the agency received a letter from local elected ofﬁcials. “DOT has initiated a study of signal timing, signage, markings and loading zones along this corridor at the request of Assembly Member [Jeffrey] Dinowitz,”
he said. “Once those studies are completed in the next 12 weeks, we will inform the Assembly Member’s ofﬁce of our ﬁndings and work on any changes that may be needed.” Community Board 8 member Robert Press ﬁrst raised the issue at last month’s general board meeting when he revealed that motorists were double-parking, triple-parking, blocking trafﬁc and recklessly darting in and out of the four-way stop sign intersection outside the two schools. He said while trafﬁc conditions have always been hazardous, the situation was exacerbated after Riverdale Kingsbridge Academy changed their arrival and dismissal times. Under the changes, which came into effect in September, all RKA students now start and ﬁnish school within 10 minutes of their younger counterparts. This year, RKA students attend school from 8:20 a.m. to 2:40 p.m., while P.S. 24’s school day runs from 8:10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Kindergarteners are dismissed at 2:20 p.m. Last year, middle school students at-
Street renaming sought for Frank Durkan
By BRENDAN McHUGH An Irish name may be added to Tibbett Avenue. The trafﬁc and transportation committee of Community Board 8 unanimously voted in favor of adding "Frank Durkan Way" to Tibbett Avenue between West 240th and West 238th streets, adjacent to Gaelic Park. More than a dozen people came to last week’s meeting to share an anecdote about Durkan’s sincerity and commitment to Gaelic Park and to the Irish community, and dozens of other people and organizations sent letters. "He died a rich man in his heart," said Martin Lyons, a longtime friend of Durkan’s and the organizer of the effort. Frank Durkan Way wouldn’t become the actual name of the street—it would be an honorary distinction only, marked by a second street sign above the Tibbett Avenue sign. Community board rules indicate that for the name addition to succeed, the full board must vote in favor of the resolution in two consecutive months. After that, the City Council member must introduce the resolution in the Council, and the resolution must pass there as well. The City Council votes on name issues in batches, so the next vote may not take place until
the spring of 2012. Manhattan College, the Gaelic Athletic Association, Riverdale Steakhouse and dozens of other local and citywide organizations have lent their support for the change, many of them citing Durkan as the voice for the Irish community for the past 50 years. Durkan, an attorney, died in 2006. According to his obituary in the New York Times, he was a "ﬁerce and clever defender of Irish nationalists." A scion of the O’Dwyer political dynasty, he was the nephew of William O’Dwyer, the mayor of New York in the late 1940s. The main support for Frank Durkan Way came not from his courtroom heroics, but from his unwavering support for the Bronx Irish community and Gaelic Park. "There is no other person I could think of that should have his name near Gaelic Park," said Tony Creaney, a community board member. When asked why the group of supporters did not want to rename West 240th Street instead of Tibbett Avenue, Lyons said they wanted to save 240th Street for someone else of even greater importance, though who that may be is still unknown—even to them.
Meanwhile, parents from P.S. 24 and M.S./H.S. 141 called for the creation of a Children’s Safety Zone,while Press recommended that West 235th Street be converted into a one-way street. CB8 trafﬁc and transportation committee chair Daniel Padernacht said his group would submit their own recommendations within the next few weeks. “I think the 20-mile-per-hour zone is a good idea with all the schoolchildren that go through there,” he said. “I support extending the bus zone, but I’m personally not in favor of a one-way on that street. I don’t think there’s strong enough evidence to support that that action will correct the problem.” The Department of Transportation conducted a trafﬁc study of the area last year but concluded that trafﬁc-calming measures were not necessary.
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5 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, October 27, 2011
DOT studies schools’ trafﬁc woes
tended school from 8:41 a.m. to 3:31 p.m., while hours for high school pupils ran from 7:50 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. The changes were designed to beef up RKA’s extended-day program, principal Lori O’Mara said. Parents, residents and members of Community Board 8 have spent the past month thrashing out possible solutions to the trafﬁc chaos. In a letter to the city, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, along with Councilman G. Oliver Koppell and state Senator Adriano Espaillat suggested a list of seven trafﬁc-calming measures. Among the recommendations were the installation of stop signs, the creation of a 20-mile-per-hour speed limit, yet another change in arrival times, an extended school-bus loading area and new pavement markings.
Thursday, October 27, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW
RMHA to hold annual meeting The Riverdale Mental Health Association's annual meeting, Thu., Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m., 5676 Riverdale Ave., Second Floor, Bronx, will present compelling ﬁrsthand accounts of RMHA's groundbreaking Riverdale PROS/Personalized RecoveryOriented Services program. Riverdale PROS was launched in January to help participants overcome barriers posed by mental illness and to identify and reach life goals in employment, education, socialization and personal relationships. Director Rita Liegner, vocational specialist Susan Herschaft and clients of the program will discuss an innovative approach geared to increasing independence, reducing the need for emergency and inpatient psychiatric services, improving employment and housing prospects and enabling participants to develop speciﬁc learning skills and strategies. 'Riverdale Pros is among the newest of RMHA's unique approaches to increasing the esteem, productivity and self-sufﬁciency of people we treat,' said RMHA Executive Director Robert Brewster. 'We are very proud of PROS and look forward to sharing with the community several compelling examples of the achievements of individuals in the program and the importance to everyone who lives and works in the community we serve.' Riverdale PROS (http://rmha.org/ programs-and-services/pros/) is staffed
by psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, mental health counselors, employment specialists, career counselors, peer specialists and volunteers. Its services include clinic treatment such as counseling and therapy, medication management and symptom monitoring, and comprehensive rehabilitation, support, education, mentoring and advocacy programs. The public is welcome to attend this free RMHA event and refreshments will be served. For more information, please contact Nadia Chaudhury, nchaudhury@rmha. org, (718) 796-5300 x 106.
Thursday discussions with Rabbi Steven Burton
The Thursday discussions with Rabbi Steven Burton will begin on October 27, 2011 at 10:30 A.M. at Congregation Shaarei Shalom's conference room at 5919 Riverdale Avenue. Enjoy intelligent, probing conversation with your neighbors about politics, religion and whatever else is on the agenda. Rabbi Burton is an exciting discussion leader and these meetings have been a mainstay of the community intellectual life. Conversations with Rabbi Burton are open to the entire Riverdale community and all are welcome. Congregation Shaarei Shalom is a Reform Jewish synagogue. It offers a contemporary and participatory worship experience and prides itself on its inclu-
siveness of all members of the Riverdale community, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, race, age or creed. It is dedicated to embracing the diversity within the Reform Jewish movement. For further information about the congregation, services, membership, its Religious School, or any of the many adult program offerings, please contact the congregation at: (718) 798-0305, e-mail the Congregation at: shaareishalomrive email@example.com or visit its website at: www.shaareishalomriverdale.org.
Upcoming activites at Marble Hill Senior Center
The following programs are scheduled at the Marble Hill Senior Center in the upcoming week: On Thursday October 27th Barbara Denson will conduct a Botanical Craft class beginning at 1:45 PM. On Friday October 28th at 1:00 PM multi-instrumentalist Paul Phillips will perform at the Center's monthly birthday party. All programs are free and open to those aged sixty and older. The Marble Hill Senior Center is located at 5365 Broadway between West 228th and West 230th Streets. A hot lunch is offered at noon Monday through Friday for adults aged 60 and older. For more information call 718-562-8551.
ARC to hold seminar
ARC is very pleased to remind you of our ﬁrst seminar of the season and to invite all member buildings to send representatives of their Boards of Directors to attend. As part of their paid annual membership, directors representing member cooperatives are all welcomed and encouraged to attend. We very much look forward to seeing you at this special event, which will be held on Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 7:30 P.M. in the meeting room of St. Gabriel's Church(on Netherland Avenue, just south of 235th Street; free parking available in lot) Our invited speakers are: Congressman Eliot Engel, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, State Senator Jeffrey Klein, State Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and Councilman G. Oliver Koppell This combination of voices from our legislative representatives should offer a rare opportunity for members of co-op boards to hear at one time, under one roof the latest information on the cur-
rent and future state of cooperatives in New York. Questions about co-op issues will be taken from the ﬂoor. If your building is not a paid member at this time, nonmembers are welcome to attend at the rate of $25.00 per person. Checks should be made out to 'Association of Riverdale Cooperatives' and brought with you on October 27th.
Riv. Temple to honor the memory of Fred Jones
Come honor the memory of Fred Jones during a special service at Riverdale Temple on Friday night, October 28, at 6:45 p.m. Fred was a long time Music Director and Cantorial Soloist at the Temple from the early 1960's to 1993. Sadly, he passed away on October 2nd. Please join us at Riverdale Temple 4545 Independence Avenue Riverdale, NY 10471 for this service in memory of Fred.
Elder George's storytelling at Kingsbridge library
Join Elder George as he examines through storytelling the experiences of individuals and groups and the principals that enable survival in various environments. Featured will be a story about Teenagers Camping Out in February. The storytelling will be held on Friday, Oct. 28, 1 p.m., at the Kingsbridge Branch Library, 291 West 231st Street. Elder George is a former members of The Pearls of Wisdom, a touring ensemble of Elders Share the Arts (ESTA) that shared stories of their life experiences, and former president of a New Jersey chapter of Toastmasters International. He has a broad range of life experiences to draw from as a former Merchant and Naval ofﬁcers, entrepreneur, husband and father, and other areas of experience that accrue to senior citizens. For more information, call the library at 718-548-5656.
Lecture for seniors on preventing falls
On Friday, October 28, the Simon Senior Center will have a lecture at 10:30 a.m. on 'Falls are Preventable: Tips and techniques to help prevent the risk of falls, how to stay strong, achieve better balance, and remain independent.' Free Balance Screening Assessment provided by Fox Rehabilitation. The entire community is invited to attend. For more information, contact Toby at 718-548-8200 ext 223. The Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue.
RSS announces Real Life Solutions Classes!
Fall season begins November with: Therapeutic Yoga for chronic pain, disability, sleeplessness or stress. taught by Nancy O'Brien, a therapeutic yoga instructor. Zumba, simple to follow dance movements done to Latin and International music, Rhea Linda, certiﬁed instructor. Class schedule: • Therapeutic Yoga: 6 Tuesdays, November 8th -December13th, 3 p.m.-4 p.m. Fee $35.00 • Zumba: 6 Mondays, November 7thDecember 12th, 10:30-11:30 a.m. Fee: $35.00 Registration Required. Call 718-8845900 and bring or mail check made out to Riverdale Senior Services. Validated parking available
The Riverdale Y's Riverdale Repertory Company will present a number or two from their upcoming production of CURTAINS. This Tony-award winning musical "whodunnit" boasts colorful characters, a zany script and memorable songs and dances. This show will be featuring 35 adult members from Riverdale, Yonkers, Manhattan, New Rochelle, White Plains and more. Show dates and times are: Saturdays October 29 & November 5 at 8PM, Sundays October 30 & November 6 at 3PM & 7PM, Wednesday, November 2 and Thursday, November 3 at 7:30PM. Tickets are $18 online, $20 at the door and $12 for Students and Seniors at all times. The Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue. For more information go to our website at www.RiverdaleY.org or call 718-548-8200 ext 200.
Local composer and performers at HIR concert
The community is invited to hear the music of Riverdale composer Stephen R. Cohen in a chamber concert at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale on Sunday, October 30, at 7:30 p.m. in the social hall. Light refreshments will follow. The varied program includes solos and duos for clarinet, piano and voice. Clarinetist Harvey Bien will perform three spiritual melodies-'nigunim'-in contrasting moods. Pianist Jonathan Dzik will accompany three vocalists-tenor Michael Abelson, soprano Nancy
Samotin and soprano Lianne Aharoni-performing Cohen's settings of poems by John Donne, Robert Browning and others. Pieces for solo piano are a passacaglia-a form of variation-performed by pianist Daphne Palka and several works including Homage to Ives performed by pianist Bernard Katzman. Dzik will accompany clarinetist Angela Occhionero in a sonata for clarinet and piano. Bien, Dzik, Katzman, Palka and Samotin hail from Riverdale, and all but Katzman are members of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale Community Choir, led by Maestro Dzik. The suggested donation for admission is some multiple of $18. The artists have donated their talent for this performance, so all proceeds will help defray the cost of an upgraded security system for the synagogue.
Generico's Pizzeria and Cafe to open
Generico's Pizzeria and Café, the former Jasper's, announces their ofﬁcial grand opening and ribbon cutting for November 5. According to owner Luigi Marcoccia, 'This is a day we have waited for with great expectation. Ribbon cutting ceremonies are slated for 4:00 p.m. followed by music and menu specials to commemorate the event.' A special performance will include acclaimed entertainer Pat Farenga, known for his Frank Sinatra renditions. Farenga's musical tribute, 'Old Green Eyes Pays Tribute to Old Blue Eyes,' will highlight a planned 'Evening of Nostalgic Songs and Laughs.' Generico's which opened
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mid-May, took over the legendary Jaspers. As owner Luigi Marcoccia stresses, 'The sign on the door may have changed but the legendary Jasper's pizza hasn't changed! We invite our neighbors in the Riverdale community to join us on this special day.' Marcoccia and co-owner Alex Shkreli, both have roots in the neighborhood. Shkreli, is the for-
Halloween Party at Amalgamated Nursery School
A Halloween Party will be held at the Amalgamated Nursery
School on Sunday, October 30, 2011, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The party will be held in Vladeck Hall, 74 Van Cortlandt Park South (corner of Hillman Ave. and Van Cortlandt Park South). Fun for the whole family! This annual party will feature arts and crafts such as decorating pumpkins, photo frames and cookies. Activities include Creepy Crawly Maze, Bone Dig and more. Food and beverages will be for sale. $8 children's activity fee; adults accompanying children are free. For more information, please call 718-543-8688.
For people who can’t wait to get to NYC, there’s a faster way.
Take the Hudson Rail Link and Metro-North to Grand Central Terminal. You’ll save up to 20 minutes each way over other bus services, while relaxing in new, clean and comfortable buses and train cars. And there’s frequent service, with trains every 30 minutes during the morning rush. Hudson Rail Link buses accept both MetroCard and a discounted bus/rail UniTicket. For more information, call 511, or visit mta.info. Ride the Link.
Night Service (Saturday)
Riverdale & Yonkers: Day Service (7 Days a Week)
©2011 Metropolitan Transportation Authority
7 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, October 27, 2011
'Curtains' to be shown at Riverdale Y
mer owner of Aria Hair and Beauty Spa on 235th Street and Johnson Avenue. Marcoccia spent four years at Manhattan College, graduating with a degree in ﬁnance. Generico's is located at 3535 Riverdale Avenue. For more information on the special ceremonies contact Alex at 914621-6290 .
Thursday, October 27, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW
Thursday, October 27 Riverdale
THURSDAY DISCUSSIONS 10:30 a.m. Congregation Shaarei Shalom 5919 Riverdale Avenue Enjoy intelligent, probing conversation with your neighbors about politics, religion and whatever else is on the agenda. Rabbi Burton is an exciting discussion leader and these meetings have been a mainstay of the community intellectual life. Conversations with Rabbi Burton are open to the entire Riverdale community and all are welcome. For info, call 718-798-0305.
OPEN COMPUTER LAB 11 a.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Do you want to learn how to open a new e-mail account? Do you need help opening or sending attachments? Do you want to practice your typing skills or need assistance in applying to a job online? Come to the Riverdale Library and get assistance on the computers. Practice your new skills at your own pace. Ask questions and learn from doing. For info, call 718-549-1212.
Advisory Group! TAG meetings will be held on Friday afternoons from 4-5 pm. If you are a 7th -12th grade student, you are eligible to join. For more information, call 718-548-5656.
Sunday, October 30 Van Cortlandt
HALLOWEEN PARTY 11 a.m. Amalgamated Nursery School 74 Van Cortlandt Park South Fun for the whole family! This annual party will feature arts and crafts such as decorating pumpkins, photo frames and cookies. For more information, please call 718-543-8688.
HALLOWEEN FESTIVAL 4 p.m. Van Cortlandt Park Broadway and West 246th Street Take a haunted tour the passageways of the pool’s old bathhouse and get the scare of your life! Admission is free. For more information please visit www.nyc.gov/parks/rangers or call 311 and ask for the Urban Park Rangers.
CRAFT CLASS 1:45 p.m. Marble Hill Senior Center 5365 Broadway Barbara Denson will conduct a Botanical Craft class. A hot lunch is offered at noon Monday through Friday for adults aged 60 and older. For more information call 718-562-8551.
CONCERT 7:30 p.m. Hebrew Institute of Riverdale 3700 Henry Hudson Parkway The community is invited to hear the music of Riverdale composer Stephen R. Cohen in a chamber concert. The varied program includes solos and duos for clarinet, piano and voice. For more information, call 718-796-4730.
Monday, October 31
GAME ON 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Come have some fun playing the latest XBox 360 games with Kinect at the Kingsbridge Library! For ages 12-18. For more information, call 718-548-5656.
HALLOWEEN ARTS & CRAFTS 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Arts & Crafts for 5-12 year olds. For more information, call 718-548-5656.
HALLOWEEN STORIES 4 p.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street Presented by the children's librarian. For ages 6 to 12 years old. For more information, call 718-796-1202.
ANIME NIGHT 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Want to see the hottest new anime? Come check out what's on screen at the library. Bring your friends, your pocky, and your anime and manga fandom! For ages 12-18. For more information, call 718-548-5656.
Tuesday, November 1 Riverdale
TODDLER STORY TIME 11:30 a.m. Riverdale Branch Library 5540 Mosholu Avenue Toddlers from 18 months to 3 years old and their parents/caregivers can enjoy interactive stories, action songs, and ﬁngerplays, and spend time with other toddlers in the neighborhood. For more information, call 718-549-1212.
Wednesday, November 2
RMHA ANNUAL MEETING 19:30:00 Riverdale Mental Health Association 5676 Riverdale Avenue RMHA's annual meeting will present compelling ﬁrsthand accounts of RMHA’s groundbreaking Riverdale PROS/Personalized Recovery-Oriented Services program. The public is welcome to attend this free RMHA event and refreshments will be served. For more information, please contact Nadia Chaudhury, firstname.lastname@example.org, (718) 796-5300 x 106.
EXERCISE PROGRAM 10 a.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street This exercise program based upon the Arthritis Exercise Program previously given at the library uses gentle movements to help increase joint ﬂexibility, range of motion & maintenance of muscle strength. The class meets for eight weeks, one hour per session, Wednesdays from October 5 through November 23, 2011. Registration is required as space is limited. For more information, call 718-796-1202.
Friday, October 28
BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION 1 p.m. Marble Hill Senior Center 5365 Broadway Multi-instrumentalist Paul Phillips will perform at the Center’s monthly birthday party. A hot lunch is offered at noon Monday through Friday for adults aged 60 and older. For more information call 718-562-8551.
Saturday, November 5
STORYTELLING 1 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Join Elder George as he examines life through storytelling. He will tell stories of life experiences of individuals and groups and the principals that enabled survival in various environments. Featured will be a story about camping out in February. Adults, teens and children are welcome. For more information, call 718-548-5656.
TEEN ADVISORY GROUP 4 p.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Let your voice be heard in the Kingsbridge Library's Teen
TODDLER STORY TIME 11:30 a.m. Kingsbridge Branch Library 291 West 231st Street Stories, Songs, Fingerplays, Flannelboard Illustrations for toddlers ages 18-36 months for parents/caregivers. For more information, call 718-548-5656.
CONCERT 2 p.m. Spuyten Duyvil Branch Library 650 West 235th Street Michael Dale, a Riverdale resident and a French teacher at the Horace Mann School, will sing original compositions to his own mountain dulcimer and guitar accompaniment. For more information, call 718-796-1202.
GRAND OPENING 4 p.m. Generico's Pizzeria & Cafe 3535 Riverdale Avenue The Riverdale community is invited to the ofﬁcial ribbon cutting. There will be a night of nostalgic songs and laughs featuring acclaimed performer Pat Farenga, in his fabulous musical tribute to Frank Sinatra. For info, call 718-601-9000.
NEWS FROM TOUCHSTONE HEALTH Touchstone Health is committed to providing our members with access to quality care through our network of participating providers. We work hard to maintain these important and valued provider relationships. However, there are times an agreement cannot be reached and the provider terminates their participation in our network. Recently, Touchstone Health received a termination notice from Montefiore Medical Center effective, Jan 1, 2012. Although extensive efforts were made to salvage the relationship, we were unable to reach an agreement. We’d like to remind Medicare Beneficiaries that Touchstone Health has a robust network of other providers in the Bronx and we’d be happy to help you find a provider in your area.
And with up to 24% more in monthly health benefits than Original Medicare, Touchstone Health may be your best choice.* Find out more about Touchstone Health and our network in the Bronx.
CALL US NOW! Available 24/7 at 877-215-3354 (TTY 711) Y0064_H3327_THPSMK_1583 File & Use 10262011 *Actuarial analysis of the 2012 bid reviewed by Oliver Wyman Consulting Actuaries, September 2011. Benefits, premiums and/or copays may change on January 1, 2013 Touchstone Health HMO, Inc. is a Medicare-approved Health Maintenance Organization with a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug contract with the federal government.
The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, October 27, 2011
ATTENTION Medicare Beneficiaries In The Bronx!
Thursday, October 27, 2011 â€˘ The RIVERDALE REVIEW
The Riverdale Repertory Company Presents
A Musical Comedy WhoDunIt Directed by Laurie Walton Performances are: Saturdays, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5 at 8:00 pm Sundays, Oct. 30 and Nov. 6 at 3:00 pm & 7:00 pm Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 7:30pm Thursday, Nov. 3 at 7:30pm Purchase Tickets online at www.RiverdaleY.org Tickets at the door: $20 Online: $18 Seniors & Students: $12
5625 Arlington Avenue Bronx, NY 10471 718-548-8200 www.Riverdale.org
11 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, October 27, 2011
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Thursday, October 27, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW
Let’s Get Personal Now for the month of November when you join the Y*, you will get 3 FREE personal training sessions besides all the Y can offer you! �Fully
equipped fitness facility �Group fitness classes including yoga �Massage therapy �New synergy salt pool with UV light �T’ai Chi & Martial Arts �Full basketball court �Babysitting It’s your community – It’s your Y! 5625 Arlington Avenue, Bronx, NY 10471 718-548-8200 *Offer is for new members only. Not to be combined with any other offer. Offer good until Nov. 30, 2011 www.RiverdaleY.org
By PAULETTE SCHNEIDER LaGuardia Arts high school is a 45minute subway commute for Jharrel Jerome. The Norwood freshman says it’s well worth the trip, but he hasn’t found any schoolmate neighbors to share his daily journey to the special public high school right near Lincoln Center. Sophomore Kaitlyn Sheehan was lucky to ﬁnd a fellow LaGuardia student living right in her Riverdale building. While the girls are a duo on the bus and subway in the morning, they solo on the way home because of different class schedules. “When I take the 1 train, everyone lives in Brooklyn and Queens, so they take the downtown train—I’m all alone,” Sheehan lamented. But a Riverdale Children’s Theatre initiative is adding more diverse Bronx voices to the city’s competitive arts high
schools—they’re offering a free audition seminar at Hunts Point Middle School for students hoping to attend Professional Performing Arts High School, Talent Unlimited High School, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School or Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. This year, out of 9,000 applicants, 664 students were selected for admission to LaGuardia after getting through a rigorous audition. Requirements may be somewhat less demanding at the other schools, but every applicant should come prepared— there’s plenty of competition. Youngsters who grew up with neighborhood children’s theater programs are a step ahead when they audition, so RCT is reaching out to those who yearn to be performers but have never been
onstage—teens who’ve had “a love of it or a dream of it, but never an opportunity to prepare for it.” “Kids come in and they say, ‘This is my dream. This is where I want to go to school,’” said Becky Lillie Woods, RCT’s artistic director. “We get a lot of that. They’re laying everything on the line for these auditions, and they may have never done a show before,” added Derek Woods, the group’s executive director. Sheehan recalls that her elementary school, St. Gabriel’s, did put on school plays at one point. “I did their plays from kindergarten through ﬁfth grade. Then, they cut it because of the budget cuts. And that’s when I turned to the Y.” Between her roles in Riverdale Rising Stars Junior productions and some preaudition coaching from Becky Woods, she was in good shape for her auditions. Jerome, a student at St. Brendan’s through eighth grade, had no performance opportunities at his school and no neighborhood after-school programs to develop his dramatic talent. So when the school told students about the audition seminar last year, Jerome jumped at the opportunity. “I’ve been aspiring to be an actor since I was seven,” he said. “I just hadn’t really worked on being one, and I knew this was it.” Jerome promptly made up for lost time. With some coaching from Derek Woods on the tough monologue he chose, he acted his way into LaGuardia’s drama program. Seasoned, attentive professionals welcome students to the RCT seminar, this year geared primarily for those planning
to major in drama, musical theater or vocal studies. The cast of coaches features Tony Award-winning actress Michele Pawk, Emmy Award-winning actress Alison Bartlett, P.S. 7 music teacher Linda LoPresti, dancer and choreographer Krystal Hall-Glass and consummate theater professionals Becky and Derek Woods. Sheehan joined the team last year to describe the nuts and bolts of the audition process and to answer questions. She and Jerome may be on hand this year to give ﬁrst-hand descriptions and to calm and inspire participants. “Just being able to work a monologue with someone who understands the different parts of it who can give a little feedback—that’s going to help,” said Derek Woods, who insists that the help is not presented as a “critique” but rather as a “tip”—perhaps to select a different monologue or song or to suggest a deeper understanding of the material, empowering the applicant to give a more meaningful performance. “They’re already nervous,” Becky Woods said. “We want to take what they’re showing us and make it better…. Just the opportunity to get up and try it out is going to give them so much of a better feeling.” But Derek Woods puts the matter into perspective. “The audition doesn’t deﬁne you,” he said. “If they don’t get into these high schools, it doesn’t mean they’re not going to be an actor. It just means they’re not ready or at that level at this point.” The upcoming RCT audition seminars for Bronx eighth- and ninth-graders are on Monday, November 7, and Monday, November 14, from 5 to 7 p.m. at M.S. 424—the Hunts Point Middle School, 730 Bryant Avenue. To register, visit riverdaletheatre.org.
13 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, October 27, 2011
RCT holds arts high school audition seminar for Bronx kids
Thursday, October 27, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW
The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, October 27, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW
The Fall Classic concert will be held at Church of the Mediator this coming Saturday October 29. The concert will feature performances by: Conﬂitti Di Voci, Monica Niemi, Tili Mahanor, and Anthony Purdy. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Admission is $10.00. Church of the Mediator is located at 260 West 231 Street, Bronx 10463 at Kingsbridge Avenue. For information call 718.548.3312 All are welcome.
Halloween festival at Van Cortlandt Park
Halloween Festival: Ghoul Pool will be held on Sunday, October 30, from 4 to 7 p.m. in Van Cortlandt Park. Meet at Van Cortlandt Pool (Enter the park at W. 246th St. and Broadway). Take a haunted tour the passageways of the pool's old bathhouse and get the scare of your life! Admission is free. Public transportation: Take the 1 train to the 242ndStreet. Walk north on Broadway. Enter the park at W.246th Street and follow the signs to the Pook. Take the Bx9 bus to the 242nd Street. Walk north on Broadway. Enter the park
at W.246th Street and follow the signs to the center. For more information please visit www. nyc.gov/parks/rangers or call 311 and ask for the Urban Park Rangers.
Simon Senior Center to hold open Sunday
On Sunday, October 30 the Simon Senior Center will have an Open Sunday. Please join us for a morning activity with lunch to follow at 11:45 am. Then we will see the Riverdale Reps' Y show of Curtains. For more information regarding this event, please contact Toby at 718-548-8200 ext 223. The Riverdale Y is located at 5625 Arlington Avenue. The entire community is welcome.
Seniors ﬁnally to get Social Security COLA increase
Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) welcomed the announcement that seniors will get their ﬁrst cost-of-living increase in Social Security beneﬁts since 2009. The 3.6 percent raise will help about 55 million beneﬁciaries during these difﬁcult ﬁnancial days. Rep. Engel is the author of the Guaranteed 3% Cost Of Living for Seniors Act which would guarantee a minimum three percent increase annually in COLA
for Social Security recipients. 'It is good news for seniors around the country to be able to see an uptick in their Social Security beneﬁts. Seniors need to keep up with the growing cost-of-living, especially in New York, and not having a COLA increase can be devastating,' said Rep. Engel. Due to the way the COLA is calculated, seniors did not receive a COLA increase in their monthly beneﬁts during 2010 or 2011. There previously had never been a year without an increase, since automatic adjustments for inﬂation was installed in 1975 and responsibility for the COLA was taken away from the Congress. The Social Security Act of 1973 speciﬁes the formula to determine the COLA. (http://www.ssa. gov/oact/cola/latestCOLA.html) The COLA formula is currently based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPIW), which reﬂects the purchasing patterns of people who earn at least half of their income from wages. Rep. Engel's legislation would mandate using another index of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). This is geared towards capturing inﬂation among those over 62, and is a better indication of seniors' spending habits. The CPI-E would have provided seniors a COLA in both 2010 and 2011.
The Senior Citizens League supports legislation that would base the Social Security COLA on a consumer price index that uses the CPI-E. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has tracked the CPI-E since the early 1980's. For example, a senior who retired with an average monthly beneﬁt of $460 in 1984 would have received almost $12,856 more over the past 27 years with the CPI-E.
Boro Pres. Diaz conducts 'Well Being' Survey
If you live or work in the Bronx, the Borough President's ofﬁce wants to hear from you. The ofﬁce of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. is conducting a 'well being' survey, which aims to hear from Bronx residents and those who work in our borough on a variety of topics important to the Bronx. The survey takes only a few minutes, and the ofﬁce is giving away a prize to one individual who completes the survey. You can take the survey, in English, at this link: https://www.surveymonkey. com/s/BronxBP2011 The survey is also available in Spanish at this link: https://www.surveymonkey. com/s/BronxBienestarYVida The survey closes on October 31.
The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, October 27, 2011
Classical concert at Church of the Mediator
Thursday, October 27, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW
High School Tragedy
The headlines over the past week tell a disturbing story: we are nine long years into Mayor Bloomberg’s control over our public schools and yet our schools are still failing – big time. Only a quarter of our high school graduates are prepared for either college (and we’re not talking about Harvard here, folks, but the community college level) or careers. But, we are told by the fraudsters running the Department of Education that 62% of high school seniors are graduating on time. Graduating from what? Here’s the truth of the matter. Mayor Bloomberg has turned our high schools into diploma mills, mass-producing worthless certiﬁcates. For The Bronx, the news is particularly bad. Here is where the Bloomberg strategy has really fallen down. By demolishing the network of neighborhood-based high schools, supplemented by the elite borough-wide programs at the legendary DeWitt Clinton and Walton High Schools, we are left with nothing. And the administration speciﬁcally set out to destroy these schools, manipulating their populations and deliberately overcrowding them in order to insure their failure. They did it at Walton, and Columbus, and at Lehman and Kennedy and now the crosshairs are on DeWitt Clinton, a school of historical greatness with thousands of loyal alumni. We recall interviewing the late Marty Richman, a well-known civic leader in the northwest Bronx. When we asked about his high school career, he spontaneously broke into song: “DE WITT C-L-I-N-T-O-N!” Other than his family, he loved his alma mater above all things. Who will sing of Clinton in the future when there is no Clinton? Last year, the Department of Education deliberately rigged the pupil population, sending over hundreds of “over-the-counter” enrollees for whom the school became the school of last resort, as the school was deliberately starved of resources. Predictably, scores fell. This was not a failure for lack of trying or expertise. The principal of the school, Geraldine Ambrosio, is considered one of the very ﬁnest in the system. One seasoned observer said she is “experienced, caring, knowledgeable, and guided by a drive to do what is best for her students and the school.” But she has been set up to fail by an administration that cares more about deceptively pumped-up numbers than actual learning. We know that the Clinton Alumni Association stands at the ready to roll up their sleeves and help. Clinton can be saved. But does Michael Bloomberg care? Regrettably, the answer is almost assuredly “no.” Even as you read this, bureaucrats from the Department of Education are busy measuring the space in the landmark building, chomping at the bit in their desire to turn the “Clinton Campus” into an inane collection of six or eight meaningless small high schools. Bloomberg has created hundreds of these, dozens have already failed, and scores more ready to join the list. But who will sing of their years at any of these forgettable mini-schools, the few good ones, or the many awful ones? Our high schools are failing for one reason and one reason only. Bloomberg’s stewardship of the elementary and middle schools (remembering that all of this year’s freshmen class were educated totally since Bloomberg assumed control of and responsibility for the schools) has left students ill-prepared to do high school level work. Failure feeds upon failure in an administration that mistakes test prep for learning, and so casually cheats by inﬂating the scores and deceiving parents and students by telling them that all is well. There is no easy road to a good education. We need high standards that begin in kindergarten. There is ample evidence that the die is cast by the time students are in the second or third grade. Our weak elementary schools, in almost every neighborhood, doom their students long before they ever even think of high school. But studies indicate that performance as early as just second or third grade is a highly accurate predictor of success in high school. We need to restore the historic ties between neighborhoods and their schools. But the Bloomberg administration having already destroyed all zoned local high schools, and is now working at eliminating zoned middle schools, even has the zoned elementary schools targeted as well. It is time for the legislature to do its job, the one they botched so totally in 2009, and begin to unravel mayoral control and put the public back into our public schools. Then maybe on some future day we can again have schools worth singing about.
No conﬁdence in Van Cortlandt Park leadership To The Editor: Memorial Grove Restoration — Start, Stop – Start, Stop – and Stop again! Despite recent progress, I am concerned that we are not making any positive headway with this project which is impacting the respect we owe our fallen heroes — the servicemen of WWII and the Korean War. It is going on six years since the deplorable and neglected condition of the Memorial Grove at Van Cortlandt Park (West 246th Street and Broadway) was brought to the attention of the NYC Parks Department. After years of wrangling with NY State politicians, NYC ofﬁcials, and local neighborhood nonproﬁt organizations to restore the memorial, funding was ﬁnally allocated four years ago through the dedicated support of Councilman Oliver Koppell and the tireless efforts of Bob Bender, Chairman of Community Board 8 Parks Committee. It has taken some two and a half years for the NYC Parks Department to select a contractor and establish a restoration start date of April 11, 2011 with a plan to complete restoration in January 2012.
Well, I am sad to report that April 2011 had come and gone, and restoration of the Memorial Grove was not begun in earnest and completion in January 2012 is merely a dream. The NYC Parks Department has provided numerous reasons for restoration delays, including a recent stop order issued over a half of a year after the planned start date due to the contractor’s sub-contractor not meeting certain requirements. Sounds like just more bureaucratic red tape! We need more public outcry to push these efforts along and inﬂuence our elected ofﬁcials to get involved and drive the Memorial Grove Restoration to completion. We, the Memorial Restoration Group, hold an annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the site of the Memo-
Bypassing real peace negotiations To The Editor: The Palestinians hope to have holy sites like the city of Bethlehem as well as Jewish holy places like the Cave of the Patriarch in Hebron declared as Palestinian heritage sites along borders that they will deﬁne.
ANDREW WOLF, Editor and Publisher
Note our New Address: 5752 Fieldston Road Bronx, New York 10471 (718) 543-5200 FAX: (718) 543-4206
JOEL PAL Production Manager ROBERT NILVA Marketing Director
rial Grove and this year’s ceremony will have a presentation to honor a very special person. The ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, November 13 at 12:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend and show your support. This year’s ceremony will feature ROTC Honor Guards from Manhattan College, Fordham University and SUNY Maritime College. In addition, the ceremony will include an annual planting of 39 American ﬂags by Boy Scout Troop 240 commemorating the 37 servicemen in the Grove. The memorial is located at Broadway and West 246th Street (opposite 6305 Broadway). We are looking forward to having you in attendance on Sunday, November 13, at 12:30 p.m. Herb Barret
CECILIA McNALLY Office Manager MIAWLING LAM Associate Editor
STAFF: Robert Lebowitz, Brendan McHugh, Richard Reay, Paulette Schneider, Lloyd Ultan, Daniel R. Wolf
U.S. withdrawal from UN agencies will hurt U.S. inﬂuence throughout the world. This bid at UNESCO is just another attempt by the Palestinians to bypass peace negotiations with Israel, to orchestrate international pressure against Israel and to isolate and delegitimize the Jewish state. Many nations are urging the Palestinians to pull back but President Mahmoud Abbas has so far refused. Foreign aid from America should be linked to our national interests. Ongoing blank checks to countries and entities that continue to defy American security and other concerns cannot continue. Avery Steinberg
Continued from Page 1 of students who entered high school in 2006 were fully prepared for college four years later. Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said he was pleased with RKA’s performance but called into question the city’s grading system. RKA’s middle school, M.S. 141, was awarded a C grade just last month. “I place very little weight on the report card grade. But having said that, I’d rather see one of our local schools get an A than get a D,” he said. “Frankly, I don’t think any grade less than an A should be acceptable for our schools in our community, but what do these grades really mean?” Dinowitz said he also took heart in RKA’s percentile and was glad the city introduced the new metrics. “It’s good news that our local school is doing signiﬁcantly better than the
UNESCO should not hold vote for ‘Palestine’
To The Editor: Next Monday, UNESCO is expected to vote to accept Palestine as a full member. Under legislation passed by the US Congress 15 years ago, this will trigger an automatic cutoff of U.S. funding, harming U.S. inﬂuence throughout the world. Moreover, if Palestine should be accepted as a full UN member, it will work to have holy sites like the city of Bethlehem and Jewish holy places such as the Cave of the Patriarch in Hebron declared as Palestinian heritage sites along borders that they will deﬁne. This essentially means that Jewish people will not be able to safely access these sites. This bid at UNESCO is another attempt by the Palestinians to bypass peace negotiations with Israel, to orchestrate international pressure against Israel and to isolate and delegitimize the Jewish state. UNESCO must cancel this vote planned for next week as it will damage US interests abroad, prevent US funding from reaching those who need it, and further delay essential peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Ariella Nadler
Goodbye Columbus To The Editor: Goodbye Columbus and thanks for the memories. Your feat was indeed historic -- some say equivalent to landing on the moon-- but we don't think you once considered the human toll. You see it's really not about how you got here. It's what you did after you arrived. We don't want to quibble over words, however what you called a voyage of discovery we call cultural genocide. You've always had your protectors, some still wearing robes. Today as their credibility fades so does your own, so forgive us if we don't show you to the door. The memories are still painful even after 519 years. Given your legendary greed its a wonder you weren't installed down in Wall Street instead of on your lonely pedestal high above Central Park. Nevertheless your presence here forces us to ask this question as we create a New World of our own in the 21st century: Do we want to follow you back into the darkness or with new values based on dignity and respect for all peoples, move towards the light? Robert S. Gratz
city, but it is a problem that such a low percentage of kids graduating city schools are college-ready,” he said. “If they’re not college-ready, why are they graduating?” “I want to see our local schools in the very top percentile. I’m pleased that they are doing better than most schools, but I want them to be the number-one school.” Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott said the additional “college readiness” rubrics were designed to reward high schools whose students successfully engage in rigorous coursework and graduate college-ready. Schools were not held accountable for the new measures this year, but they will be integrated into schools’ progress report scores and grades from 2012.
saw a decline of three grades or more. Of concern is that only 29 percent of high schools in The Bronx scored an A compared to 38 percent in Manhattan and 34 percent in Queens. Chief Academic Ofﬁcer Shael PolakowSuransky said he was conﬁdent that New York City students would meet whatever standards the state set. As part of the stricter standards, students who graduated in 2011 had to score a 65 or higher on four out of ﬁve Regents exams. In previous years, the passing benchmark was 55. “As we continue to raise classroom standards and prepare schools for tougher graduation requirements, it looks like our students are rising to the challenge,” Polakow-Suransky said. “We can’t wait for the state to toughen its tests or align its policies to collegereadiness standards.”
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19 The RIVERDALE REVIEW • Thursday, October 27, 2011
RKA’s high school gets an ‘A’
“Our message to schools is clear: Students need to be meeting a higher bar and doing more rigorous work if they are going to be ready for life after high school,” Walcott said. “It’s important that our principals, teachers, students and families are on the same page in this effort and understand the goal is not just graduating, but graduating college- and career-ready.” Overall, tougher graduation requirements and tighter standards for scoring Regents exams meant fewer city schools received the highest two grades this year. Under the new breakdown, 33 percent of the city’s schools received A’s, 32 percent B’s, 24 percent C’s, 8 percent D’s and the bottom 4 percent F’s. Citywide, 90 percent of schools either changed by one grade or received the same grade as last year. Three schools’ grades rose by three grades or more, and six schools
Thursday, October 27, 2011 • The RIVERDALE REVIEW