DOE Approves Controversial Admissions Plan for New UES Middle School

By Victoria Bekiempis on June 21, 2013 10:31am 

 A new middle school, featuring about 300 students, is slated to open in fall 2014 in empty space at P.S. 158, 1458 York Ave., according to Department of Education officials. The school's admissions plan to bring in both "screened" and "limited unscreened" students has prompted protest from parents.
A new middle school, featuring about 300 students, is slated to open in fall 2014 in empty space at P.S. 158, 1458 York Ave., according to Department of Education officials. The school's admissions plan to bring in both "screened" and "limited unscreened" students has prompted protest from parents.
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DNAinfo/Victoria Bekiempis

YORKVILLE — A new middle school planned for P.S. 158's empty space will admit students based on a controversial process that some parents have protested, the Department of Education recently confirmed.

Under the admissions plan, approved Wednesday by the Panel for Educational Policy, some students would have to meet more stringent criteria — such as good attendance records or test scores — while others would have to meet far less stringent criteria — such as taking a school tour.

Parent leaders have previously protested the admissions plan for the 300-student school that would combine "screened" and "limited unscreened" students. Parents have slammed the model as "unprecedented" and "untested," with uncertain chances of success.

Parents pointed to data indicating that while some middle schools in District 2 — which includes the Upper East Side — bring in a blend of "screened" and zoned students, the DOE's website suggests that no other comparable schools have the same admissions model the city is proposing for the new school at P.S. 158.

The DOE, however, said the admissions process will be fair and the school, opening in the fall of 2014 at York Avenue and East 78th Street, will meet the neighborhood's range of education needs.

“Over the last decade, we’ve delivered historic gains for city students because we’ve strived for excellence in our schools and equity in our admissions policies," said Devon Puglia, a DOE spokesman.

"From day one, this school will offer outstanding instruction to all students in the community, and Upper East Side parents should and will be excited to send their kids here for years to come.”

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