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State Education Commissioner John King Jr. tours 3 new Staten Island schools

​STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Everything old is new again.

New York State Education Commissioner John King Jr. was on Staten Island Thursday for a quick tour of the borough's three newest public schools, two of them located in buildings renovated by the city's School Construction Authority.

King, accompanied by Staten Island Board of Regents member Christine Cea, visited the $53 million brand-new PS 48 on Targee Street, on the site of the old Doctors' Hospital, then crossed the street to PS 9, which opened last week in the former PS 48 building.

After greeting faculty, students and staff there, he stopped in at PS 59, on Richmond Terrace, New Brighton. PS 59, known as "The Harborview School" is located in the building that once housed St. Peter's elementary and girls high school.

"It's important to give young parents more choices in education," King said. Both schools are part of the city's "schools choice" program; admission is by lottery.

At PS 59 he was greeted by Principal Carol Mongiello, who explained the school's hands-on approach to the arts, and its partnerships with local arts organizations, including SunDog Theater and the John Noble Collection.

The lanky King bent down to greet the pre-k and kindergarten students in several classes, and at one point, squatted down on the floor to observe a handful of pre-k 4-year-olds as they stacked wooden blocks in one corner of the classroom.

In one kindergarten class he observed 5-year-olds reading and printing their "vocabulary words" on a worksheet. The emphasis on early literacy skills, he said, is part of the state's new Core Curriculum Learning standards.

King also had praise for the city's School Construction Authority, which completely renovated and restored the 80-year-old building over the summer. Workers were still putting the finishing touches on a few of the empty classrooms.

The building's hardwood floors were completely restored, along with the auditorium and proscenium stage. Ms. Mongiello told King she hopes to use the room for theater and dance programs.

She also took King upstairs to the library, which was also renovated and stocked with new books and materials.

 
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