I.S. 250 The Robert F. Kennedy Community Middle School
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“Green” playground; show choir
Some complaints about discipline and order
Located in a quiet, residential neighborhood in Flushing, Queens, IS 250 serves an ethnically diverse population with a wide range of academic skills. IS 250 boasts a renovated “green” playground, a show choir and a recorder ensemble. Eighth graders also study visual arts.
The new playground was designed with input from students in partnership with Trust for Public Land. It is accessible for all children and features a running track, a turf field, basketball hoops, tennis courts, outdoor classroom space, game tables, fitness equipment, and trees, according to an article in the Flushing Post. It absorbs 1.2 million gallons of storm-water annually, preventing water from collecting pollutants and flowing into bodies of water.
Incoming students represent a wide range of skills: some are two or three years behind grade level; others are top scorers on state exams. Some are learning to speak English and some have special needs. The school offers honors classes for advanced students and an afterschool program for those who struggle. There is a Saturday class for students learning to speak English. Every fall, Queens College sends two student teachers to each math classroom to provide additional assistance to students.
Despite the school’s strengths, teachers say they struggle to maintain discipline and order; some teens say students don’t treat one other with respect, according to school surveys. To improve the culture, teachers have been studying Restorative Justice practices, according to the Comprehensive Educational Plan. In this program, students learn steps to resolve conflicts and make good decisions.
IS 250 occupies the first floor and part of the basement of the former Parsons Junior High School building, which it shares with the Queens School of Inquiry and PS 255, a District 75 program for autistic children.
Admissions: IS 250 is open to students from districts 25 and 28. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, April 2019)