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Queens Chronicle

BACK TO SCHOOL New schools ready for academic year

Fifteen will open this September, but not without some controversy

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Posted: Thursday, August 29, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 5:00 pm, Thu Aug 29, 2013.

Anew school year means new schools and this year more than a dozen are opening their doors in the borough, though some did not come to fruition without controversy.

Fifteen new schools will open their doors to students next month, including two new elementary schools, six new middle schools, five new high schools, one transfer high school and one special education school.

The two new elementary schools — Elm Tree Elementary School in Elmhurst and East Elmhurst Community School in East Elmhurst — will both open in District 24, the city’s most overcrowded.

The six new middle schools are Hawtree Creek Middle School in South Ozone Park; The Emerson School in St. Albans; Queens United Middle School in Jamaica Estates; Hunters Point Community Middle School in Long Island City; and Middle Village Prep Charter School, which will open in the same building as Christ the King High School in Middle Village.

Sarah Goodman, the incoming principal for the Hunters Point Community Middle School, said she hopes to integrate the location of her school into the curriculum.

With its site near the confluence of the East River and Newtown Creek, Goodman is planning to focus strongly on environmental issues, especially pertaining to urban settings. She is eyeing projects such as such as water testing and studying the design of the building and the Hunters Point South development, which the city boasts is a sustainable project.

“That will give us an ongoing learning lab as to what urban development looks like,” she explained.

The school will eventually serve grades six through eight, and will welcome its first sixth-grade class in September. Goodman said the school will boast a strong advisory program with students matched to an advisor and a group of 12 to 15 other students with common interests.

“We think it’s going to be an amazing model for middle school students,” she said.

Goodman, a 16-year veteran of the New York City school system, said she believes this is the right city to educate students in.

“I’m very dedicated to urban education,” she said. “I really feel the most exciting education developments are in New York City.”

Three new high schools will open next month: International High School for Health Sciences at Newtown High School and Veritas Academy and the Queens High School for Language Studies, both co-located in Flushing High School’s campus.

The co-locating of those three schools in the Newtown and Flushing campuses was very controversial and was fought right up until the Department of Education’s policy-making body, the Panel for Educational Policy, approved them in March.

A similar battle ensued over the new Hawtree Creek Middle School, which will open in the JHS 226 building in South Ozone Park next month, after the school community fought the co-location unsuccessfully.

Two new career and technical education schools will also open this year — Energy Tech High School in Long Island City and the Institute for Health Professions at the Campus Magnet Complex in Cambria Heights — adding to the dozens of CTE schools that were created during the Bloomberg years.

Energy Tech is slated to open with 108 new ninth-graders in JHS 204’s Long Island City campus.

The school will serve grades nine through 14, meaning it will be a place for students to not only get a four-year high school diploma, but also the first two years of a college education.

“It’s a very unique high school,” said Hope Barter, the school’s incoming principal.

The school was created through a collaboration between the DOE and energy companies. The school has been colloquially named “The Con Ed High School” by some parents of JHS 204 students and community members. The aim is to prepare students for a career in a tech industry and allow them to graduate with the equivalent of both a high school degree and an associate degree.

The Riverview School, the only new special education school in Queens, will open in the same building as Hunters Point Community Middle School in Long Island City.

One transfer high school will open — Voyages Prep — at August Martin High School in South Jamaica. That school will be operated by the Forest Hills-based nonprofit Queens Community House. The school will serve older students who are behind on their high school education and is modeled after the already-existing Voyages Prep school in Elmhurst.

In order to be considered for admission to one of the transfer high schools, a student must be at least 16 years old, have attended a city high school for at least one year and be under-credited.

In the meantime, at least one school will be getting a new home. PS 330 in Corona will move into a new building at 111-08 Northern Blvd. and be renamed PS 287 and serve 420 students. The former PS 330 building at 86-37 53 Ave. will become the site of the new Elm Tree Elementary School.

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