J.H.S. 278 Marine Park

Phone: (718) 375-3523
Admissions: neighborhood school/selective program
Neighborhood: East Flatbush
District: 22
Grade range: 06 thru 08
Parent coordinator: GRETCHEN SYLVESTER

What's special:

Program for students who like sports but don't necessarily excel in them.

The downside:

Hallway commotion can seem overwhelming in this large building.

The InsideStats



Our review

Tightly intertwined with its neighborhood of neatly kept homes, but not always the first choice of the area's best academic performers, Marine Park is trying hard to recruit students. It offers special programs for the gifted, as well as for "just good kids," in the words of Principal Debra Garofalo. Academies help break down the anonymity of this large though not overcrowded school

Three gifted programs Park Prep Academy, the Center for the Intellectually Gifted and the Law Academy are open to students who score well on standardized tests. Students at Center, which teaches math in a self-paced method pioneered by Johns Hopkins University, must pass an admissions exam, too.

The Olympic Academy, which focuses on sports, but requires no particular athletic prowess, accepts students of various achievement levels and places them on academic tracks, including an honors class. Even students who test below grade level can qualify with good behavior records and a teacher's recommendation. Olympic's students take gym daily, often on the playing fields and tennis courts of adjacent Marine Park. Athletic competition is low-key, said Garofalo, a former physical education teacher.

The day we visited, most teaching in the ground floor 8th grade classes seemed traditional, with desks in rows and teachers at the front. The third floor, mostly the domain of 6th graders, is more creative. Law Academy students examine Supreme Court cases for one period a day with a teacher who is also an attorney. Dozens of models of the Titanic adorn a room where a teacher has developed a unit about the ill-fated ship. Students research the passengers, read plays about the wreck and debate the ethics of scavenging for treasure. Nearby, an inventive teacher of English as a Second Language has students design book jackets for works they've read and write travel brochures about states they've researched. The floor also has a state-of-the-art computer lab, used by all students at least twice a week.

Marine Park boasts a trophy-winning instrumental music program that attracts talented children from area elementary schools. The Parents Association president said parents are generally pleased with the school and that the Law Academy, which prepares students for a similar program at Madison High, has generated "tons of interest."

Tours are offered in early fall and spring. Applications for special programs are available at the school, and parents are invited to sit in on classes.

Special education: This school hosts an ASD Nest Program for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Students with ASD learn in a classroom alongside typically developing children, taught by two teachers who have been trained in the program’s specialized curriculum and teaching strategies.(Marcia Biederman, November 2003; updated with information about the Nest Program by Pauline Zaldonis, August 2013)

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