Friday, January 15, 2016

By Susan Edelman
January 10, 2016

City pre-K programs lag behind
nonprofits in quality: analysis

City-funded pre-kindergarten programs run by nonprofit, community and faith-based organizations rated an average 12 percent higher in quality than those run by the city Department of Education, a stunning analysis shows.

The findings are based on the city’s “quality reports,” which evaluate factors such as health and safety, classroom environment, and meaningful activities.

In addition, the privately-run, non-unionized pre-K programs scored 20 percent to 30 percent higher than those in public schools in neighborhoods such as Brownsville, Central Harlem and the South Bronx, according to an analysis by pro-charter group Families for Excellent Schools.

Mayor de Blasio, who made universal pre-K a major initiative, released assessments of 1,114 taxpayer-funded pre-K centers last month. About 68,500 children attend the free programs — more than triple the 20,000 from when de Blasio took office. The city pays community and church-based groups to run pre-K programs in addition to those offered in public schools.

The analysis also found:
  • Overall, privately run pre-K programs outperformed DOE-run programs in 26 city school districts, had the same average score in one district, and a lower average score in five districts.
  • Of the 50 lowest-scoring programs, 42 are DOE-run.
  • Of the 50 highest-scoring programs, 36 are privately run.

All programs were scored from 1 to 7 on the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale — and 261 fell below a score of 3.4, a basic threshold for positive outcomes. Experts call a score of 5 good.

The program with the highest score — 5.9 — is run by the Grace Lutheran Church in Astoria.

“It’s a very rich program that relates to the interests and experiences of the children,” director Mary-Elaine Leake told The Post.

The church, which the city pays about $9,520 per child, runs two full-day pre-K classrooms.

DOE spokeswoman Devora Kaye said, “We are visiting pre-K programs every day and have added instructional coaches and social workers to ensure every pre-K has a supportive learning environment that is best for kids.”

Thursday, March 19, 2015

 Legacy of Light Celebration
To Benefit
Astoria Lutheran School

Please join us for a Brunch
On Sunday, April 19, 2015
From 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Riccardo’s By the Bridge
21-01 24th Avenue
Astoria, New York

Silent Auction, Prizes, Music,
Good Friends,
a Bountiful Buffet,
and More!
Please respond by Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

Open House

Join us for our Open House

Thursday, January 22nd, 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM or
Sunday, January 25th, 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Come tour our school and meet our faculty and staff.

Join us, also, for New Parents Visiting Day
Thursday, January 29th 8:45 AM to 11:00 AM

Astoria Lutheran School

Serving Three Year Olds to Grade 8
FREE Universal Pre-K

For More Information
Call: 1-718-721-4313 | Email:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Local Principal, Mary-Elaine Leake, 
Among America’s Best School leaders 
honored for sustaining strong schools during 
National Principals Month

ALEXANDRIA, VA–October 9, 2014–Mary-Elaine Leake is among 61
outstanding elementary and middle school principals from across the
nation and abroad who have been named as 2014 National Distinguished
Principals (NDP)
by the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). 

Leake is principal of Astoria Lutheran School in Astoria, New York. 
The NDPs will be honored Oct. 17 at an awards banquet
 at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C.,
as part of a two-day program.
This year marks the 25th year that the program has been
generously funded by VALIC.
 U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will deliver opening remarks.
Established in 1984, the program recognizes public and private school
principals who make superior contributions to their schools and communities. 

The distinguished principals are selected by
NAESP state affiliates, including the District of Columbia,
and by committees representing private and overseas schools.

NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly congratulated the class of
outstanding principals, noting their significant role in successfully
leading students, schools, and communities through seismic shifts in
education. “These principals lead their school communities with courage
and compassion,” she said. “They represent the best and brightest of
the more than 65,000 elementary and middle-level principals who are
educating our nation’s children to their fullest potential.”
“VALIC is very proud of our 25 year partnership with the National
Distinguished Principals Award Program,” said Jana Greer, President and
CEO of VALIC. “We recognize the critical role education plays in the
lives of our nation’s children, and principals are the key to ensuring
the highest quality education.  On behalf of VALIC, I warmly
congratulate all 61 of this year’s National Distinguished Principals
and extend my deepest thanks for all that they do.”

October is a particularly fitting month to acknowledge the work of
principals, as a bill has been introduced in the House of
Representatives and another passed in the Senate declaring October 2014
National Principals Month (S. Res.
National Principals Month was established to recognize and honor the
contributions of school principals and assistant principals toward the
success of the nation’s students, and encourage awareness of their

NOTE: A list of the 2014 NDPs can be accessed at>.

Established in 1921, the National Association of Elementary School
Principals (NAESP) serves elementary and middle school principals in
the United States, Canada, and overseas. NAESP leads in the advocacy
and support for elementary and middle-level principals and other
education leaders in their commitment to all children.
For more than half a century, VALIC has served as a leading retirement
plan provider for K-12 schools and school districts, healthcare, higher
education, government and other not-for-profit institutions. As of June
30, 2014, VALIC has more than $88 billion in total customer assets
under management and manages plans for nearly 24,000 groups serving
more than 2 million plan participants. VALIC represents The Variable
Annuity Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries,
VALIC Financial Advisors, Inc. and VALIC Retirement Services Company.

Friday, March 21, 2014

CONGRATULATIONS: to our UPK Team and all the other teachers, staff, and parents, who helped us to prepare for our ECERS inspection in January. The results have been released, and out of 256 UPKs that were inspected city-wide, our site received the highest score!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hunger in NYC-City Harvest helps more than 1 million New Yorkers who face hunger! Please donate canned foods or make a donation to our school or at chapel time till the month of April! Thanks

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Barbara Darden - Special Service and Scholarship Fund

November 15, 2013

Dear Families:

It is with sadness that Astoria Lutheran school shares, that on November 8, 2013, Ms. Barbara Darden passed away after a long illness. Ms. Darden was a teacher at Queens Lutherans School/Astoria Lutheran School for over 35 years. Ms. Darden was the upper grade English teacher and had a great connection with the children.  In 1989, Ms. Darden was honored by the Lutheran Schools Association as Teacher of the Year.

A special service for Ms. Darden will be held at Grace Church, 31-20 21st Avenue, Astoria, New York 11105, on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served in the Blue Room after the service.

In honor of Ms. Darden's long service at Queens Lutheran School and Astoria Lutheran School a scholarship fund will be established in her name.  An acknowledgement of your gift will be sent to the family.

Yours in Christ,

Mary-Elaine Leake

Addendum: Several of you have asked where cards or donations may be sent. You may send them to:

Astoria Lutheran School
Barbara Darden Scholarship Fund
31-20 21st Avenue
Astoria, New York 11105

If sending in a donation, please make the check payable to Astoria Lutheran School, and on the memo line, please write Barbara Darden Scholarship Fund.