Jaffrey St. entrance shut - P.S. 195 cites safety concerns

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A Manhattan Beach elementary school is taking steps to keep children safe.

Arthur Forman, principal of P.S. 195 at 131 Irwin Street, said the school closed one of its main entrances so all children would enter through a single set of doors monitored by school staffers.

In past years, the Irwin Street entrance and a back entrance on Jaffrey Street were both open for students at the start of the school day.

By closing the Jaffrey Street entrance, students – and the parents driving them to school – are kept in one location easily monitored by school safety agents.

The change was made “in the interest of safety,” Forman explained at a meeting of the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association (MBNA), which was held in the school’s auditorium.

“We decided that we needed one entrance and it’s worked out real smoothly,” he said.

“Smooth” is how Forman described the school year thus far.

That’s because P.S. 195, like all other public schools, narrowly avoided a massive budget cut. Not only was the funding restored, but P.S. 195 was awarded additional money.

“The budget came through very well,” Forman said. “We actually wound up better this year.”

The extra cash was used to hire two part-time staffers.

“We put it into the teaching staff,” Forman said.

That included hiring a band teacher, which is in keeping with the school’s push for more art and music classes.

“We’re going full blast into creative arts. Testing will be there also but our children are going to go full blast into that creative flair,” Forman said.

To enhance students’ exposure to the arts, the school will soon open a brand new library.

“We’re going to get together with the School Construction Authority” to discuss design plans, Forman explained.

City Councilmember Mike Nelson said the library would be “high tech” and look like a “country club.”

Forman has big ideas for the library. Because of the school’s close proximity to the ocean, Forman wants to create a beach theme.

He’s planning “reading sandboxes and reading coves.”

He even wants there to be a mini Starbucks serving hot cocoa to students enjoying their favorite books.

“If you’ve ever gone into the children’s book room at Barnes & Noble – that’s how we want it to be,” Forman said.

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