P.S. 172 recognized for achievement

September 24, 2011 Heather Chin
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Of the five New York City schools declared 2011 Blue RibbonSchools this year, only one was in Brooklyn – P.S. 172 BeaconSchool of Excellence in Sunset Park.

The news, announced during the second week of school by U.S.Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, brought a flurry ofcongratulations to the Main Office doorstep, but long-timeprincipal Jack Spatola told The Home Reporter that whilethe Blue Ribbon designation is a welcome honor, it is not asurprise.

When you’re in a culture of celebrating learning, [achievement]is part and parcel of how you think, said Spatola, describing howthe school’s focus on working with parents to provideindividualized attention and education for each student means thatbeing the very best you can, whether you are labeled gifted,talented or facing the challenge of a learning disability issimply part of a belief that every child can succeed and can offersomething unique.

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I believe we have all of our children believing in themselves,that they are the brightest, the smartest and will excel, saidSpatola. I always wanted 100 percent of the students to beprepared to meet the challenges of life, at or exceeding standards.I think the Blue Ribbon is a recognition of that.

The school serves 533 K-5 students and has long been soughtafter by parents because of its record of not only graduatingstudents who ace standardized reading and math tests but alsobecause of its success crossing the language barrier (80 percent ofstudents are Hispanic and three percent are Asian) and closing theachievement gap.

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