Changes are happening at PS 676, by Nathan Weiser

Marice Phelipe

There are a number of new additions and upgrades at PS 676 for this school year.
The school is transforming into a maritime themed middle school.

As was written last May in Chalkbeat, “P.S. 676 Principal Priscilla Figueroa admits it was a hard decision.

“But I, like everyone else in the community who is advocating for 676, have to be realistic,” she said. “Figuring out, ‘Does it make sense? Is it what the community needs?’ In the process of asking these questions, the community itself said, ‘No. What we really need is a middle school.’”

The plan calls for the school to phase out its elementary grades, with the last class of kindergarteners accepted this year. After that, any elementary school students in the area are expected to have enrollment priority at nearby P.S. 15, which is also in Red Hook and has room to grow.”

This year there is a librarian and you can have lunch clubs and expose students to more literature.

“We are going to incorporate a lot of harbor reading,” Figueroa said. “We can have dialogue and explore different types of books, we can have author studies, we can have lunch clubs and do book clubs, we can celebrate reading, we can have readathons and we can give students prizes for reading.”

The book selection in the library has also changed from before.

“We pulled out some books that were dated, we gave some books to community members and families and we are ordering new books.” Figueroa said. “We are doing inventory so we have enough with a wide variety of books for the students. They will not only have hard copies but will be able to read on the new technology.”

Teachers will have laptops/iPads that they will be able to use with the students in the classrooms.

There is a new media center room this year. Funding for this as well as other additions are the result of grants from the borough president and the city council.

There is surround sound in the media room to improve the experience. There are laptop stations in the new media room that students will be able to use with their classes.

“We have already started showing documentaries related to the harbor,” Figueroa said. “Kids can experience being out in the field through the use of technology.”

Another technology upgrade this school year is a brand new PA system for making announcements. It is a little studio near the main office.

Also, this year PS 676 has a full-time speech therapist for the first time. She started over the summer. She will be doing one-on-one interaction with the students, and she will be concentrating on the goals of the students.

The floors in the school were repainted for this school year and the classrooms have improved ventilation.

There is a new marine science teacher at the school who previously taught at MS 88 in Park Slope. He has been involved with the Billion Oyster Project since it started and will continue being involved with it.

He is a licensed captain, so his real dream is to get the kids out on boats. He has a lot of maps, so the kids will be able to practice navigation. He thinks there is so much information that can be learned from maps and cartography.

They will try to schedule for this school year taking kids on an 80-foot long schooner made of steel that has a great history. It is docked at the South Street Seaport and can take 20 or 30 kids.

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