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With Rooftop Garden Designed By ‘Starchitect,’ Earth School Branches Out

IMG_1187Courtesy 5th Street Farm Project The Earth School’s rooftop.
IMG_1196Courtesy 5th Street Farm Project Manure awaiting installation

Not only are middle-schoolers at P.S. 64 creating traffic signs, they may soon be growing ingredients for school lunches. This fall, the Earth School, which shares a building with P.S. 64, plans to unveil a $1.1 million rooftop garden designed by Michael Arad, the architect of the 9/11 Memorial.

Five years ago, Abbe Futterman, a science teacher at Earth School, had the idea of turning the 56-year-old building’s roof into an outdoor classroom. To get there, the school had to develop a cost-friendly design, procure over a million dollars in funding with the help of local politicians, and get necessary city approvals – complicated steps for building professionals, let alone schoolteachers and administrators focused on students.

IMG_1180Courtesy 5th Street Farm Project Stairs to the green roof.

The Earth School’s principal, Alison Hazut, said the project received a major push from one individual: “It really was a parent saying, ‘I can help to make this happen.’ And that parent was Michael Arad.” Read more…

Common Traits at Successful Schools

8th Grade Students, Tompkins Square Middle School Andre Tartar A group of eighth grade students at Tompkins Square Middle School, one of two schools in the East Village to receive “A” grades on a recent evaluation of city schools. Students attributed the school’s success to strong bonds with the faculty. “We are like a family,” said one eighth grader.

The halls of Tompkins Square Middle School fill with children headed to their next classes. The silver-haired dean of community affairs, Devan Aptekar, warns a visitor to get ready for some noise. But it never really comes. Instead of hollering and ricocheting off the walls, students chat with each other using their inside voices. A few even wave hello to Mr. Aptekar as they pass. Nearby, a math teacher jokes with a student and asks him to answer a question before he can enter the class: “What is negative fourteen squared?” Clearly, something is going right here.

In the wake of the recent progress reports on which East Village schools performed poorly, The Local decided to ask the two schools awarded “A” grades, Tompkins Square Middle School and East Side Community School, about the ingredients of their success.
Read more…