To the Editor:
After reading your article about the Island’s middle school in the last issue, here is my personal thought. The first time I walked into PS/IS 217 was 1996. I have literally been walking in ever since. I have five children who have attended both the elementary and middle school there.
My two older daughters are on their way to graduate school. My oldest son will go to the University of West Virginia, come fall of 2018. My youngest son is currently a student in Scarsdale High School, and my youngest daughter is currently in sixth grade at PS/IS 217.
I have seen the school grow in many ways, and while I do agree the amount of programs and curriculum found in other middle schools may be lacking in IS 217, I think the school has come a long way. I have dealt with the administration in every way you can imagine, and while there were a few times I felt disappointed, I have always loved the attention my children received at IS 217 for tutoring, counseling, and teaching.
The sense of community there always gave my children the feeling that they were never alone, and created a better relationship with their teachers. Bigger schools may offer more, but that also means a larger student body, which would decrease the personal attention each student gets.
Recently, my youngest daughter told me she was in the Forensics Club. She is so excited with this new program that she has begun reading and researching everything to do with forensic science. I think she has found a new passion. This program is part of the new teacher-led clubs, and I think they are a great idea.
While my other children did not have this opportunity or others currently being offered at IS 217, we all agree that they did obtain the necessary tools to do well in high school and beyond.
I know my youngest daughter will be more “enriched” than her older siblings, and I am grateful for it. Given the chance (and funding), IS 217 can do that and more for future children. I personally think that the middle school should be kept. Perhaps a conversion to a specialized school can save it. Hopefully, in this way, IS 217 can create a mission that can be focused on a specific goal for the children entering, from the Island or off it – an exciting and innovative program. Hopefully Cornell Tech becomes involved in this conversation. I am sure they could offer some great ideas.