BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
Three schools will share a new building facing the Long Island City waterfront.
On Sept. 16, students, faculty, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria), State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) and President of the School Construction Authority Lorraine Grillo celebrated the opening of the first middle school in Hunters Point, the Hunters Point Community Middle School, as well as the Academy for Careers in Television and Film and the Riverview School, a District 75 special education program.
The new building, built within green-requirements, features science labs, an auditorium, and music and art classrooms. It will serve up to 1,071 students in grades six to 12.
“It is groundbreaking to have three new schools situated in this new state-of-the-art building,” said Van Bramer. “It is great to see their curriculums are linked, which will put our kids at an advantage.”
Sarah Goodman, the principal of the Hunters Point Community Middle School, which currently houses only sixth graders, said the building is a “beautiful and inspiring space.”
“The students will be able to learn in a new and clean environment, while developing partnerships with students from the other schools, like District 75 students,” Goodman said.
She said the students will use a problem-based learning approach, which means the students will work together in groups. They will also take advantage of their waterfront location by raising oysters and conducting water quality testing.
Susan McNulty, principal of the special education school, P.S. 277, said “collaborating with the other two schools will be wonderful for the students.”
Eight students from the D75 school will be included in the middle school’s general education curriculum. McNulty said inclusion will make it easier for them to “model off their peers and it also helps them become independent and integrate with the community.”
Since the administrations from all three schools have met on a weekly basis, McNulty said they have learned how to best use the building by sharing one calendar in order to conduct school-wide fire drills and events.
Edgar Rodriguez, principal of the Academy for Careers in Television & Film, which opened in 2007, but moved into the new building, said “the potential with what we can do with the other two schools is limitless.”
He said students from the Hunters Point middle school who are interested in film and television “will be at an advantage because they will build a relationship with us from the start,” which will make it easier for them to apply to the high school.
“We have a program that begins with two years of general courses and by the time they get to the 11th grade, they will focus more on television and film,” Rodriguez said.
He said when it comes to internships, the school has partnerships with the Silvercup Studios in Long Island City and the Kaufman Astoria Studios.
Since 2002, the SCA, which the DOE oversees, has created 126,000 new seats throughout the City.
Reach Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Tsakhuja13.