DUMBO’s Dock Street middle school to open Sept. 2016

Dubbed ‘Dock Street School for STEAM Studies’

January 29, 2016 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Applications for DUMBO’s new 300-seat middle school – dubbed The Dock Street School for STEAM Studies -- are now being accepted for the fall semester. The school’s entrance will be at 19 Dock St., shown above.  Photo courtesy of Two Trees Management
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On Thursday, officials announced that applications for a middle school in DUMBO – dubbed The Dock Street School for STEAM Studies — are now being accepted for the fall semester.

Housed in Two Trees Management’s new development on the corner of Dock and Water Streets (at 19 Dock St.) near the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, the school will serve 6th through 8th graders from across Brooklyn’s District 13 (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Fort Greene, Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, Prospect Heights, Clinton Hill and north Park Slope).

The city’s Department of Education (DOE) is re-siting and expanding a current Vinegar Hill middle school, M.S. 313 (Satellite West), into the new school facility, and revamping the program to include a strong emphasis on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) subjects.

In addition to a traditional academic curriculum, students will engage in hands-on, collaborative projects in STEAM fields. The site features a science lab and science demo room, “gynatorium” and a music suite including a classroom, practice cubicles and music storeroom.

The school’s site features a “Gymnatorium.”

Partnering with DUMBO organizations

In a release, organizers said Dock Street will be partnering with DUMBO’s cultural institutions and neighborhood anchors: mentoring with DUMBO tech innovators, science and recreational partnerships at Brooklyn Bridge Park, cultural performances and workshops at St. Ann’s Warehouse.

The faculty will also emphasize social emotional engagement. Students will participate in a wide array of sports activities, during and after school. The Dock Street School will offer support for students with disabilities and services as indicated on their IEPs. Twelve-to-one and collaborative teaching classes, as well as ESL, will be available.

Fewer than 100 students attend Satellite West at its current Vinegar Hill location, where it shares a building with P.S. 307. Most of these students live in the surrounding Fort Greene Farragut housing projects.

The relocation of Satellite West to Dock Street will make room for a large influx of DUMBO and Vinegar Hill elementary school students who were formerly zoned for P.S. 8.

The Dock Street School will have room for 315 students. DOE has projected that it will take three years to grow the school to capacity.

The school will be led by Principal Dr. Melissa Vaughan, an experienced educator, administrator and arts professional who holds a doctorate from New York University and was previously a principal dancer at the prestigious Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. (Interested families should email Principal Vaughan, at  [email protected])

“The Dock Street School is a tremendous addition for families in District 13, offering our middle school students a unique educational experience grounded in STEAM studies and benefitting from all that DUMBO has to offer,” District 13 Superintendent Barbara Freeman said in a release. “With the best facilities and under the extraordinary leadership of Principal Dr. Melissa Vaughan, the Dock Street School is poised to deliver world-class education to our students.”

“We have developed the Dock Street School in collaboration with parents and community leaders and incorporating the latest and best thinking in the field,” said Principal Vaughan. “Students who join us in the fall will become part of a special community of learning with access to the facilities, partnerships and innovative curriculum needed to succeed.” 

A group of parents, teachers, administrators and community leaders met over a series of months with the principal and superintendent and other educators to inform the design and development of the school, according to DOE.

The south side of the building.

The Dock Street School is the culmination of a years-long public-private partnership between the City of New York and Two Trees Management. As part of the rezoning process in 2010, Two Trees agreed to build a 45,000-square-foot public middle school as part of a residential building it would build at 60 Water. After it completed the new building and the custom-designed school space, it sold the space to the Department of Education for $1 and the School Construction Authority is busy preparing the space for the fall opening.

Below the middle school will be a 72-seat Universal Pre-K facility.

“We are so delighted to welcome the students of the Dock Street School to Brooklyn Bridge Park,” Regina Myer, president of the park, said in a statement. “With our wide variety of facilities, programs and cultural partners, we hope the school and its students will enjoy the park not only for outdoor active recreation, but as a waterfront laboratory for learning.”

 “St Ann’s Warehouse welcomes District 13’s new Middle School to DUMBO,” said Susan Feldman, artistic director at St. Ann’s Warehouse. “We are especially excited about the “A” for “Arts” aspect of the STEAM curriculum, and look forward to working with Melissa Vaughan, the principal, and Barbara Freeman, the superintendent of the district.”

“Going to middle school in DUMBO is going to give these kids access to all sorts of incredible people and institutions — from art galleries to tech start-ups, from music producers to filmmakers,” said Alexandria Sica, executive director of the DUMBO Improvement District. “DUMBO is like Candy Land for the curious and we want all of the kids at the new middle school to get into the community and experience all of the weird and wonderful things created here. Imagine field trips to the app designer who made you’re favorite game who just happens to work a few blocks away. Our members couldn’t be more excited to share this special place with the District 13 community.”

“As a space whose mission is to foster the advancement of the arts, media and technology, we are thrilled to be welcoming The Dock Street School to the community,” said Sabrina Dridje, director, Made in NY Media Center by IFP. “We are excited for future collaborations that ensure this vibrant area continues to be one that fosters talent, training and creativity.”

On Thursday, NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina announced that a 600-seat a large capacity, district-level middle school is headed to Atlantic Yards / Pacific Park. This school will also serve District 13 students. 

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