While it is not clear which grades the new classrooms will house, the installation of the new structures in the school yard put to rest rumors that have been circulating in the community that P.S. 71 would have to dramatically scale back or even eliminate pre-K or Kindergarten programs, after its expansion three years ago to serve students up until eighth grade.
“P.S. 71 came to me to covert the school from a K-5 to a K-8, and we recognized the need for more learning space with the expansion,” said Vacca. “I added the classrooms at the request of the school, and principal Lance Copper is grateful about the additions.”
The DOE’s allowance to include the upper grades at the school has helped many parents, who might otherwise have sent their children to parochial school or even move out of the area, to keep their children in a school they have grown accustomed to.
Now, with two new classrooms, it has become clear that the expansion will not take its toll on any other facilities at the Roberts Avenue school that are essential for student development, such as computer labs.
“The foundations for the classrooms have been put in place,” said P.S. 71 parent coordinator Vinny Prestopino. “The principal is trying to make room for all of the new students on school grounds. Principal Cooper is doing his best to accommodate everyone. Right now, it seems as if we are trying to fit 10 pounds of baloney into a five pound bag.”
Prestopino said that with over 1,700 children in the school, room inside of the main building has become premium, with the allowance of the Department of Education for grades six, seven, and eight at P.S. 71 hopefully permanent.
“Principal Cooper’s main concern is the children that the school serves,” Prestopino noted. “Our test scores are up, and in our eight grade class, 24 out of 24 students passed the regents exam.”
Prestopino said that he expects the new classrooms to help the school even more, and actually enrich the various programs P.S. 71 offers by simply providing more space.
“Now, even our younger grades are getting foreign language,” Prestopino added.
©2008 Community News Group