ASTORIA — Students at a prestigious elementary school in Queens — where a popular gifted and talented program had been faced with cuts earlier this year — outscored both the city and state averages on this year's more difficult math and reading tests.
Queens City Councilman Peter Vallone honored staff and students at P.S. 122 in Astoria, where he cited the exam scores as proof of the effectiveness of the school's well-known gifted program, which the Department of Education had recently proposed cutting down to one class per grade.
At the school, 71 percent of third-through-eighth graders passed this year's state math test compared to 26.9 percent of kids who passed citywide.
On the English Language Arts exam, 69.7 percent of children at P.S. 122 made the passing grade, compared to 26.4 percent of kids across the city.
The Astoria school also scored higher than children statewide, where 31 percent of kids passed the math test and 31.1 percent passed in reading.
The DOE eventually dropped the plan to change to program after months of protests and criticism from parents.
"This is the school that people come to this neighborhood to go to," Vallone said Tuesday, where he presented principal Pamela Sabel with a citation of recognition. "It's no surprise that it's this school."
Sabel said she and school leaders were "very proud," of their students for their performance on the tests, which were notoriously tougher this year after New York adopted more challenging Common Core standards.
Sabel said the exams put "a lot of pressure" on children, parents and staff, but said the school worked hard to prepare everyone.
"Our curriculum is closely aligned to the Common Core," she said, of their success. "The children take their learning very seriously, and our parents are amazing partners."
Parent Association co-president Clara Oza, whose son Anil is going into eighth grade at P.S. 122's gifted program, said she was "excited" when she heard how well the school had scored.
"The teachers are always very positive with the kids, and they work hard," she said. "They were prepared."