Jack Abrams School Readies For Rebirth
After being closed to students for three years, district will open STEM program next week
For the first time in three years, students will cross the threshold of the front door to Jack Abrams School in Huntington Station for classes.
Students will arrive for classes on Sept. 4 at the new Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School, which will offer academic programming focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Spots in the first classes were selected via lottery; the names of 150 students in grades 3-5 were drawn randomly from a pool of more than 300 applicants.
For the Huntington School District, the re-opening of Jack Abrams has been long awaited. The school board moved students out of Jack Abrams School ahead of the 2010-2011 school year, when it was an intermediate school for 500 students in grades 4-6. The decision followed heightened community concerns for student safety due to a spree of violent crime in the surrounding neighborhood.
The Huntington Board of Education gave Superintendent Jim Polansky the green light at their July 3 meeting to take the necessary steps for opening the school this fall.
Huntington Station’s Rebecca Sanin, who was one of the community activists three years ago who advocated for keeping the school open, said Sept. 4 is not only an important date given the educational opportunities that will be provided, but also for the message it sends.
“Symbolically, it’s a really important thing to reopen that building… It represents a new time in Huntington where people are coming together and really investing in young people,” Sanin, who now works for the county, said. “I feel excited for the community – it’s going to be a fantastic resource.”
District facilities staff has been hard at work preparing the building for students’ arrival since July. Tech upgrades to accommodate the new science and technology-driven curriculum were installed and configured.
Legislator William Spencer praised the district for opening the school, adding that it will provide Huntington students a golden opportunity to get a foot in the door in growing STEM fields.
“Learning problem-solving skills and helping students develop into critical thinkers is at the core of any STEM school, with the hope of preparing students for the high-demand tech jobs of the future,” Spencer said.
Polansky said the new school would focus on science, technology, engineering and math, but also include a literacy approach focusing on reading, writing and comprehension skills. Technology will be incorporated into daily lessons, and the curriculum will focus on inquiry-based education with a problem-solving approach.
Rae Montesano, the district chairperson of science and instructional technology for grades 7-12, will serve as the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School coach, providing instructional leadership and support for the faculty members.
As the doors open again at Jack Abrams, the district is waiting on word for an $11.64-million, three-year federal Magnet School Assistance Program grant. District spokesman Jim Hoops said word is expected by Sept. 30.