Greenpoint Gazette
PS 84 LeAp Site Director Karen Murk, Principal Sereida Rodriguez, PTA President Ileana Santos-Moya and kids

PS 84 Jose De Diego

BY Megan Soyars

Address: 250 Berry Street
Website: http://www.ps84k.org/

PS 84 helps students explore their creative sides through a variety of programs. The Community Word Project provides multidisciplinary art residencies, teaching children how to express themselves through ballroom dancing, poetry, and mural painting. Other classes include Visual Thinking Strategies and Circus Art. The latter is especially fun for the students, who get to practice kooky skills such as plate spinning, scarf juggling, and comic improvisation. Several community-based organizations also help students develop their imagination. For example, LeAp (Learning Through an Expanded Arts Program) provides many after-school programs. And all grades participate in art, gym, technology and science classes two to three times per week.

In the face of rising problems such as childhood obesity, PS 84 is determined to keep students both physically and mentally fit. “All of our students have recess every day,” stressed Principal Sereida Rodriguez-Guerra. “We believe it is very important for our students to participate in physical activity. This year, PS 84 is also partnering with the Greenpoint YMCA to provide more healthy initiatives to parents and children throughout the school day.” (The Greenpoint Y has a history of partnership with the Southside school for many after-school projects.) In September, PS 84 will open its Green Classroom, a precursor to the development of the Rooftop Green House Classroom. In the greenhouse classroom, students will learn about hydroponics and sustainable practices, such as how to grow their own vegetables.

Along with its focus on art and health, PS 84 is proud of its ethnic diversity, including the importance of its Hispanic heritage. Their Spanish Dual Language program continues to flourish as students become fluent in both English and Spanish. The principal added that they are also very honored to be chosen be the first school in Williamsburg to provide ASD Nest classes for children on the Autism Spectrum. “It takes a special school to house such a special program,” Rodriguez-Guerra said.

PS 84 holds several community-building events every year. In June, an Annual Garden Party allows children to enjoy games, face painting, arts and crafts, and music with their parents. Last year, the school’s PTA held their very first Fundraiser Gala, which raised over $25,000 for the Arts.

On Saturday, September 8th, the school will dedicate their mural, “Nurture Nature,” created through a partnership between El Puente and PS 84 students and parents. Located at S. 1st Street and Berry Street, the mural is an excellent display of the creative minds at work at PS 84.

The principal added that they are also very honored to be chosen be the first school in Williamsburg to provide ASD Nest classes for children on the Autism Spectrum. “It takes a special school to house such a special program,” she declared.

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