The NYC Department of Education has put forth a proposal to temporarily house one grade of a new Maspeth high school in Forest Hills.

The Maspeth high school, under construction, is located on the corner of 57th Avenue & 74th Street. It’s called 24Q585 until a named is selected when the school is completed in September 2012.

DOE is proposing to temporarily house grade 9 of the Maspeth school at the new Metropolitan H.S. campus at 91-30 Metropolitan Ave., Forest Hills starting in fall, 2011.
“By making a temporary allocation of underutilized space in the Metropolitan H.S., the Maspeth H.S. can begin serving students a year earlier than would be possible were we to wait for the completion of the school,” according to DOE proposal.

However when a new school opens, it usually starts with one grade at a time. In fact DOE studies confirm that a new school is more successful when it’s built up in one-grade steps. “For a high school it’s best to start with grade 9, that way a vision for how the school should be run can be implemented from the start. Then the school would add another grade every year, with the ninth-grade students moving up to 10th and a new ninth-grade class coming in the next year,” said Nick Comaianni, president, Community Education Council, District 24.

The neighborhood would also have time to adjust to the gradually opening school. The Maspeth H.S. incubation plan is supported by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley.

However the JPCA sees things with a neighborhood perspective. “Once again the Dept. of Education and Councilwoman Crowley are not thinking of Maspeth,” said Robert Holden, JPCA president.

He said Crowley originally voted against the high school on the city council because there was no priority placement for neighborhood children. “Now she’s pushing for more students to enter more quickly and that will overwhelm the neighborhood. We are going to have as many as 800 students and hundreds of parents and teachers descending on Maspeth in September 2012 without any consideration of the impact on the neighborhood,” said Holden.

Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (Forest Hills) is also against the incubation plan for different reasons, the impact it will have on the Metropolitan H.S. in her district. “I am very concerned about the impact that the proposed incubation of the Maspeth High School will have on the Metropolitan Avenue Campus,” said Koslowitz. The incubation plan was to be voted on by the Panel For Education Policy on March 1st.