On May 22, the Edward K. Ellington Magnet School of Science, Technology, and the Arts (PS 140Q) revealed its new schoolyard. The project was started and completed within the Borough and district officials as well as community members were invited to the special opening ceremony, as were the school’s attendees, who had vital roles in the making of the park.
Fourth and fifth graders of PS 140Q worked with teams of engineers, construction project managers, and designers as part of a STEAM initiative to help create the park, allowing students to have agency in the decisions made for, as well as pride in, an area they would be spending their time in for fun, excitement, and relaxation. They had hands on experience in fields they are specializing in, as this is a technology, science, and arts concentrated school.
On top of that, the schoolyard is entirely ecofriendly and holds over one million gallons of water per year, which helps to hydrate and purify the water in Jamaica.
The schoolyard features two playsets, two basketball courts, two handball courts, outdoor chess sets with benches, 50-yard athletic turf, two-lane track, a tennis court, and a gazebo which has greenery planted on its roof. There is also a wall mural and a mural on the handball courts both dedicated to Duke Ellington, who the school was named after. The murals are admired by the whole community.
PS140Q administration used the park as an opportunity for project-based learning this year. Each grade has a different task revolving around the schoolyard. Projects include first graders creating the rules for the playground and teaching them to the preschoolers, fourth graders raising money for materials to enhance the schoolyard such as sports equipment and jump-ropes, and fifth graders creating a blog about the impact of weather on the schoolyard and how the school can address those impacts.
PS 140Q opened its doors in October 2017 with a magnet school grant for five years, and in its first year has accomplished major feats, including increasing the literacy level of their kindergarteners.PS 140Q is dedicated to creating an educational environment that engages children with critical thinking, reading comprehension, and hands-on guidance. The school provides state-of-the-art resources such as Chromebooks and iPads to allow their students to have access to all resources necessary, regardless if they have technological access at home or not.
“I wished to create a school that I would feel confident in sending my own children to,” says David Norment, principal of PS140Q. “I want the teachers to feel the same way.”
Image: The schoolyard project was designed as an opportunity for students to participate in project-based learning.
Courtesy Edward K. Ellington Magnet School