Tag Archives: I.S. 204

Community concern over high school sharing building with younger students

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

As one of the 15 new schools announced to open in Queens in September, the Department of Education (DOE) is planning to co-locate a new high school in the same building as a middle school — and it has created mixed feelings within the community.

Energy Tech High School is expected to open at I.S. 204, located at 36-41 28th Street in Long Island City, and will be a new career and technical education (CTE) high school in partnership with Con Edison and National Grid.

“Energy tech is a visionary school similar to that of the nationally-recognized P-Tech, which was lauded by the president in the State of the Union,” said DOE spokesperson Devon Puglia.

The new high school will serve students from grades 9 through 14, who will be able to earn a high school diploma and Associates Degree through a partnership with CUNY’s LaGuardia Community College.

Although members of District 30 advocated for another CTE high school in Queens, mixing in the much older students with the middle school children is what has the community on the edge.

“There are two sides,” said Jeffrey Guyton, co-president of District 30’s Community Education Council (CEC). “I’m really in favor of that kind of program, but I’m also queasy about it.”

Energy Tech will have two years of college included, and according to Isaac Carmignani, CEC co-president, the college students will spend most of their time at LaGuardia, rather than at the high school.

“Some of the council [CEC] had a problem with that because having young adults mingling with 11- and 12-year-old middle schoolers is something that bothers them even though the population will be kept as separate as possible by the school,” said Carmignani.

I.S. 204 already shares the school building with The Academy for Careers in Television and Film. The high school will be moving next year to a new building in Hunters Point and leaving the space vacant.

The new CTE school will expose students to the energy industry, allowing them to intern with Con Edison and National Grid and be mentored by professionals.

“Schools throughout the city share space, and when adults put children first, most co-locations are very successful,” said Puglia.

Even with disagreements about the co-location, Guyton and Carmignani hope to be able to support the students in both communities and monitor what happens once the school moves in.

“Anytime you make these big changes, you’re rolling the dice. Maybe it’s going to work really well, maybe it’s not,” said Guyton. “If there are problems, we are going to communicate those immediately.”



PCB leak in LIC school scares staff, parents

| aaltman@queenscourier.com


A mysterious liquid dripping from a light fixture at a Long Island City middle school alarmed staff and faculty members who discovered the substance was the potentially toxic polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB).

The head custodian at I.S. 204 spotted the brown fluid trickling off a fixture in a guidance counselor’s office around 2:45 p.m. on Monday, September 10. The room was promptly sealed and a worker from Triumvirate Environmental, a Department of Education (DOE) contracted company, was dispatched to the facility.

According to Jeff Guyton, co-president of Community Education Council District 30, no students were in the area of the leak and because it was discovered early in the school year, students most likely had yet to meet with a guidance counselor in that room.

Previously used as coolant in electrical transformers and certain lighting fixtures, PCB was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1979. It may still be present in commonly used products, such as flourescent light ballasts, manufactured before the ban.

The DOE recently entered the second year of its decade-long plan to remove and replace all lighting fixtures throughout the city’s 700 school buildings. According to a spokesperson from the DOE, all schools have lighting fixtures with PCB ballasts. The representative said the agency’s plan is “unprecedented compared to other cities,” adding that PCB-infused fixtures are a nationwide issue.

The 10-year plan includes comprehensive energy audits and retrofits, replacing the dangerous fixtures with energy-efficient, PCB-free lights.

“We as a council want to make sure that we’re bumped up dramatically on the priority list,” said Guyton. “If there’s one that’s faulty, that means they’re at the end of their useful life. If one is corroded that means others are too.”

According to the DOE, confirmed leaks are investigated within 48 hours of discovery.

“Everyone needs to work as if their own child is in that school,” Guyton said. “I would be very upset if my kid was in that school — I would be livid. Everyone including the chancellor and construction agency needs to work with that urgency.”

The principal of I.S. 204 could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Smart students at I.S. 204 will learn on smart boards

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

In today’s evolving world, advancements in education come hand-in-hand with technological innovations, and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer is assuring that the students of I.S. 204 are not left behind.

The councilmember attended I.S. 204’s first PTA meeting of the year on September 27 and announced that he is allocating $50,000 of his capital funding to improving technology at the school, including providing each classroom with a new smart board.

Through Van Bramer’s efforts, I.S. 204, located at 36-41 28th Street in Long Island City, also received $40,000 over the past two years to fund its Cultural After School Adventure program with the Intrepid Museum.

“I.S. 204 is a vital school in the community of Dutch Kills and Long Island City,” said the councilmember. “The students deserve to have a nurturing environment, rigorous coursework and current technology that will give them the skills to transition smoothly into high school and be a productive member of society. I am pleased to have been able to provide these resources.”