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News from the Schools

Fratney Expansion to Begin in Spring La Escuela Fratney will finally break ground next spring for its expansion. The $9 million addition and renovation will provide additional classroom space, new offices, a gym, cafeteria, and library/media center. Staff members at Fratney have been working with the district since 1998, planning and pushing for the expansion. As a citywide school, Fratney was not eligible for the building funds provided by the Neighborhood Schools Initiative. This meant it had to wait until other funds were available. Jesse Rodriguez, Acting Principal in Charge, is interested in bringing the community into the school. Although a citywide school, under new enrollment policies 55 percent of the seats in entry level grades (K4 in Fratney’s case) are given to children who live within a one-mile radius of the school. This new policy answers the complaints many parents had about having good schools in their neighborhood that their children were not able to attend because they were citywide schools with waiting lists. Fratney, with its two-way bilingual Spanish/English program, is nationally recognized for its socially progressive curriculum. Rodriguez will be asking near neighbors for support in maintaining safety at the new playground that will be part of the renovation. The school will also open its library/media center to the community. Daycare services are already available at the school for a small fee. Gaenslen Gets Healthy Living Grant Frederick Gaenslen School has received a grant to implement a healthy living curriculum. The grant will provide gym and pool equipment for health and fitness education. “If children are physically active and doing things, it stimulates the brain,” Principal Dr. Lottie Smith explained. She is hoping also to provide dance instruction. Gaenslen will host its first holiday dance for students in grades 6-8. The “dress up” dance will be by invitation only to students whose behavior has earned them a pass. Diane Ellis has been selected as the chairperson of Gaenslen’s PTO. Pierce to Host Holiday Program Pierce Elementary is having an International Holiday Program. It also has a Scholastic Book Fair December 7 to 15. The public is welcome to browse the books and to participate in the buy one, get one free deal. Think about books for holiday gifts.
by Suzanne Zipperer