The Active Learning Elementary School
Queens NY 11355
Vegetarian lunch menu
Students must find new school for fourth grade
The Active Learning Elementary School (TALES), an early childhood school in Flushing, has a focus in health, nutrition and physical education. Students spend one period a day learning about health or participating in physical education.
Opened in 2008, the school has quickly become one of the citys top-performing schools. It has reading and math scores that are well above the citywide average, even though it has a large proportion of English Language Learners.
"The founding of our school was based on health and nutrition and teaching kids how to make healthy choices in the belief that they would be more successful academically and in their life, Principal Robert Groff told NBC News.
TALES is the first public school in the nation to serve an entirely vegetarian lunch every day, with options like black bean and cheddar quesadillas, pizza bagels and a salad bar.
The school was recognized by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation as one of the healthiest schools in the nation. Students participate in healthy food tastings at least once a month. In May 2013, Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN praised the school in an online blog post.
In third grade, students demonstrate their literary progress by performing in a debate. Groff is committed to providing teachers with technology such as SMARTboards and iPads, and encourages faculty to meet regularly to improve their teaching skills.
Students have the opportunity to go on field trips that complement their studies, such as trips to farms where students work on non-fiction and writing tasks about animals. Classes grow their own vegetable gardens to learn about sustainability, according to the Department of Educations Quality Review.
Special education: The school offers a range of services including speech therapy, occupational therapy and self-contained classes.
Admissions: Open to residents of District 25 by lottery. Applications are available on the school's website.
(Owen Minott, web reports, July 2013)