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Family angry over dance class dismissal

November 4, 2009 12:42:53 PM PST
The parents of a Queens fourth grader are angry because their young daughter was barred from dancing at school. The school says the girl needs to take a practice test for a state exam. But the girl's parents say that isn't necessary. "I think parents who have their kids in New York City Board of Ed should be as outraged as me," parent Kelly Sinisgalli said.

Sinisgalli is fighting back ever since officials at PS 207 told her daughter, Kelly, that she could no longer take part in after-school dance.

"Her self esteem has plummeted," she said. "She had to explain to all of her friends why she was kicked out of the dance program. How do you explain you were kicked out for getting a three, which is a good grade."

A "three" on the reading part of an exam last year is considered meeting standards. The teacher noted no indication of problems, but then Kelly received a letter suggesting her 9-year-old take part in remedial reading and was given this explanation:

"The principal is trying to get threes to fours," Sinisgalli said. "You don't have to do it, just send in the form with a note and write a letter saying your daughter won't be staying in extended day session, which I did."

Then, in September, another test showed Kelly was reading on a sixth grade level. Last month, the 9-year-old started dance and, after one session, was told she couldn't come back.

"First, it was because she had a three on a ELA," she said. "Then, it evolved into, if you don't go to the after-school program, you can't take an enrichment program."

Kelly reached out to the principal, chancellor and even received a call back from an assemblywoman trying to resolve the matter.

"I'd just like to see them put her back into dance," dad Lenny Sinisgalli said. "Whether or not she will go at this point, if she'd go back right now."

But the Department of Education says, "It's every principal's responsibility to determine which students need to receive extra academic help to perform their best."

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


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