I.S. 059 Springfield Gardens
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Gifted and talented; strong community partners
Some concerns about safety
IS 59 Springfield Gardens is a zoned middle school serving mostly Caribbean immigrants and a large African-American population in a neighborhood of single-family homes near JFK Airport.
The school has a Gifted and Talented (G&T) program called the Rising Star Academy which fills two incoming 6th grade classes. These students are expected to take four Regents exams plus the Spanish proficiency test to give them a good start in high school and help prepare them for acceptance to four-year colleges, said parent coordinator Sheryl Leverett.
Most teachers say discipline and order are maintained, school surveys show. Teachers take workshops in Restorative Justice practices to help teens talk through problems before they escalate into fights. However, students still complain about bullying and some say they don’t feel safe in bathrooms and hallways, according to school surveys.
In addition to the G&T program, Springfield Gardens has the Northwell Partnership, which gives students a chance to travel to different medical facilities to look at career opportunities in the health sciences. Students also take part in mock trials and visit courtrooms as part of the Legal Outreach program; some students are mentored through this program all the way through college, Leverett said.
IS 59 offers African dance and drumming in partnership with a local elementary school. The after school program is free and includes homework help, support in math and reading, and a sports program.
The school shares a building with Success Academy Springfield Gardens Charter, a high scoring elementary school with strict rules for behavior that opened in the fall of 2014.
Admissions: Zoned neighborhood school. The G&T program is based on 5th grade report cards, a teacher recommendation and an essay. Leverett said the school schedules interviews with promising candidates once this packet of information has been received. Students have been accepted from outside the district in recent years, mostly from districts 27 and 28. (Lydie Raschka, web reports and interview, March 2019)