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Queens Chronicle

Can middle and high schools mix?

A proposal would collocate 12-year-olds with 21-year-olds

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Posted: Thursday, March 14, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:15 am, Thu Mar 21, 2013.

The question for most is not whether the Academy for Careers in Television and Film should relocate, because many close to the issue agree the school has outgrown its home. The question is what will fill its seats in the old building.

ACTvF, a high school that gives students job experience in broadcast media, shares a building with IS 204, a middle school in Long Island City.

The academy teaches 432 students, but by school year 2016-17 the Department of Education predicts it will expand by about 100 students.

The DOE’s proposal would move the academy to the 1,071-seat PS 404, a new school at the Hunters Point South complex. Last week, the city broke ground at that complex, which will boast affordable and middle-income housing and retail space.

If the proposal is accepted, ACTvF will share the new building with a 375- to 405-seat high school and a 90 to 96-seat sixth- grade through 12th-grade school devoted to students with autism and what the DOE refers to as intellectual disabilities.

Back at IS 204, on the other side of LIC in Dutch Kills, the department would like to fill the seats left by the academy with a six-year high school.

Students would graduate with a four-year high school education and have the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree, the DOE report states. They will be given work experience aligned with National Grid and Con Edison careers, according to the DOE. In years five and six, students will be taking off-site classes and internships that would likely take them away from the IS 204 building.

One issue with the plan is the ages of students mixed in one building.

“The new high school goes to grade 14,” District 30 Community Education Council co-President Isaac Carmignani said. “They are going to have 21-year-olds in the same building as 14-year-olds. What’s going on here?”

PS 204 principal Yvonne Leimsider said the age difference is a concern, but mostly she would like everything under her roof to be one school.

“We would love the space,” Leimsider said. “It would allow us to grow as a middle school.”

There will be a meeting about the proposals today, March 14, at 6 p.m. at IS 204.

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