Two Schools Share More Than A Building
When students and teachers arrived to begin a new school year in September of 2004, it wasn't at all clear how things would work out. For the first time since the building opened in 1972, it would now be home to not one, but two schools; Brian Piccolo Middle School 53 and the Peninsula Preparatory Academy Charter School. As the ribbons were cut and part of the first floor was set aside for the new charter school, the teens and tots from the two schools eyed one another warily, wondering about their future together.
Now in their second year together, that future is beginning to take shape. MS 53 Assistant Principal Diane Ludvigsen saw an opportunity for the two schools to help one another, and Peninsula Prep's new principal, Judith Tyler, welcomed the idea. MS 53 Dean Chelle Feldman worked with Tyler to organize a tutoring program in which a group of eighth graders dedicate their lunch periods to help the PPA children improve and practice their reading skills.
The younger Academy students are not the only ones who benefit, however. Feldman has found that the eighth grade students are noticeable more responsibly and mature as a result of participating in the program with the Charter school. "It seems to appeal to their instincts to be big sisters or brothers to the younger children," said Feldman. "It also doesn't hurt them to spend the extra time reading."