Photo by Michael Shain
After years of planning and construction, PS 376 opened quietly last fall for only kindergarten and pre-K students. It will add a new grade every year over the next six years until it is full.
By Mark Hallum

The city’s Department of Education held an inauguration ceremony Saturday at the now-completed PS 376 in Bayside Hills near 48th Avenue and 210th Street.

The somewhat controversial school project has received criticism from the Community Board 11 members, who claimed the area under their purview is already overcrowded as it is. They argued a new building project only has the potential to disrupt, but officials in District 26 said the facility would offer some of the best educational resources to students in the neighborhood.

Clara Kang will lead the school as principal. She has a background as a teacher in the neighboring District 25.

District District 26 Superintendent Danielle Giunta recognized the disruption that construction of the school has caused in the surrounding community with the primary complaint at Community Board 11 meetings involving noise pollution from building equipment during long work hours and traffic issues.

Concerns of how an increase in traffic will affect the neighborhood once the school opened was also a persistent concern.

“These are things you don’t do in District 26 without disrupting the community, but when you think about how it takes a village to move things forward, PS 376, the Bayside Hills School of Excellence, is an example of the village and the beauty and power of that village,” Giunta said. “My search for the right principal for this building is an incredible story. A resume came past me and said Clara Kang, currently an AP in District 25… We are celebrating that this brand new school plopped in the middle of Bayside has become–it’s almost as if it has been here this entire time.”

Giunta said Kang took control as project leader to build the school’s staff from the start and even established a student government before sessions had even begun.

The school opened quietly in the fall of 2017 for pre-K and kindergarten students, but will begin enrolling all grades one year at time over the next six years.

“I can’t wait to see you grow up and be leaders in your own careers who live to be compassionate, inclusive and to be mindful citizens,” Kang said to the students in attendance.

One remarkable attribute about the facility at 48th Avenue and 210th Street is that the school has air conditioning, something lacking in many schools around the city that date to the 1930s.

The land was formerly the Keil Brothers Garden Center and Nursery sold to the Board of Education.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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