We can point with pride to the Middletown Schools, said United States Senator Charles Schumer, at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Presidential Park Elementary School. He said Middletown is one of the best not only in New York State but in the entire country. The district was one of only 16 to get federal funds in the Race to the Top Competition. Middletown received $20-million dollars to further improve its curriculum and technology.
Schumer noted this is a growing school district that in each of the last 3 years it received 100 new applicants. This past year there were 300 new applicants. He said Middletown’s cost per student is one of the lowest in the Hudson Valley and it’s achievement level one of the highest.
One of the best investments we can make, he said, is investing in education and in the minds of our young kids.
Board of Education President, Linda Knapp, welcomed everyone to the ceremony today. Presidential Park Student, Madison Witt led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Guest Speakers included Ms. Susan Short, Presidential Park Principal; Gracelynn Osei-Boaompem, Presidential Park Student; Mrs. Cassandra Cardinal-Presidential Park PTO President; Dr. Kenneth Eastwood, Middletown Superintendent of Schools; and New York State Assembly Members Aileen Gunther and James Skoufis.
The ceremony also featured performances by the Presidential Park band and orchestra students.
I spoke with Jim Olsen of RSA Architects, the architect for the school. He says this is the largest elementary school in New York State. He said the best thing about designing the school was the setting, having a chance to blend the building into its environment, using the natural elevation of the land to incorporate the second floor. Beautiful views and natural light are highlights of the building.
There are 1,358 students attending the new 210,000 square foot school. Students from kindergarten through second grade are on the first floor, third through fifth graders are on the second floor. Each floor has its own cafeteria and gymnasium.
Want to see more pictures of the Presidential Park Elementary School? We’ve made up a page with a gallery of photos that we took at the first open house at the school held last March. More Pictures
By Arthur Livesey