On Friday, September 9th, the Principal and staff of P.S. 276 Louis Marshall, 1070 East 83rd Street, broke with tradition and threw their students and families a barbeque and ice cream party in the schoolyard, as a way of welcoming the students back to school.
Scores of children accompanied by their parents turned out for the extravaganza. There was a long food line where hot dogs, hamburgers, snacks and beverages were served. An even longer queue formed outside the Mister Softee ice cream truck where the children waited patiently to be served.
Principal Jennifer Troman, who has had the position for the last two years, said, “This is like a homecoming, after COVID. We want to give everybody a chance to come together as a community but, more importantly, I want the kids to be excited about coming to school — excited about learning.”
The event was sponsored by Assemblywoman Jaime Williams and Brooklyn Canarsie Lions, who gave away dozens of backpacks, notebooks and other school supplies, as well as a variety of PPE items — hand sanitizer, gloves and even masks, although Governor Hochul recently eased the restriction on wearing masks. State Senator Roxanne Persaud, a member of the Brooklyn Canarsie Lions, assisted her club members with the distribution of the school supplies.
Troman announced that the school offers a series of afterschool activities aimed at keeping the children gainfully engaged when they were not in class. Many of them are free and included educational programs, sports like flag football as well as fun exercises including music and stilt dancing. Two young ladies, on stilts, demonstrated how to walk and dance on them properly. The director of the program offered free training to the first 50 students who signed up.
Staff member Nicole Etiene who runs the school’s Girl Scouts program, which was started in 2003, encouraged the young girls present to sign up, joking, “It’s not just about selling cookies.” As Etiene explained, “Our program is girl-led, so we follow the interests of the girls who join the troop. I begin the year with a survey and offer them a choice of options to earn badges in a variety of areas such as Girl Scout Foundations; STEM, which includes cybersecurity and robotics; Outdoor Environmental Education, which includes camping, hiking, archery, outdoor art and gardening; Life Skills such as first aid, babysitting, public speaking; and Entrepreneurship, which involves financial literacy and the business of marketing and selling cookies.”
Community School Director Carmen Webber mentioned a plethora of afterschool and Saturday programs currently offered at P.S. 276 for students and their families. “We have Wellness, which includes yoga and meditation and Family Events such as movie nights, bingo nights, Ceremony of Lights in December, Muffins with Moms for Mother’s Day or Donuts with Dads for Father’s Day, to name a few.”
Webber also mentioned “a wonderful Plant Therapy Room onsite, with an interactive horticulture program led by Mr. Harper, our Horticulture Professor”. She said the room will also be used for the wellness sessions and workshops for the entire school community.
Throughout the evening, the children ate, enjoyed ice cream cones, ran and played from end to end of the schoolyard, rode their bikes and even danced! It was fun to watch Frantz and Daniyah, two young friends, waltz to the fast beat of “Jerusalema!”