Khalil Gibran Academy finds new quarters - Controversial school debuts inside P.S. 287

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The Khalil Gibran International Academy has a new home but who knows for how long.

The Arabic-themed school relocated to P.S. 287’s building at 50 Navy Street in what was supposed to be a permanent stay. However, the city Department of Education (DOE) is now saying that the school could ultimately move again.

“Because of a handful of schools that are under enrolled in District 13, we may move this school into another location. We may not. It’s completely undetermin­ed,” explained DOE spokesperson Melody Meyer.

Khalil Gibran will remain in P.S. 287’s building at least until June 2010. That will allow the school to grow to grades six to eight. Last year, the school opened with a sixth grade class and expanded to hold sixth and seventh grades this year. Khalil Gibran will eventually offer grades six to 12.

Since its creation in September 2007, Khalil Gibran has struggled to find a home.

The DOE initially wanted to open the small school, which had about 60 students last year, in P.S. 282’s building at 180 6th Avenue. But the news was not well received by parents of P.S. 282’s students. After parents held several demonstrations to protest the idea of putting elementary and middle school students in the same building, the DOE agreed to house Khalil Gibran with other small middle and high schools at 345 Dean Street.

That location was a temporary one so the DOE searched for a new home and settled on P.S. 287.

Parents of children in both P.S. 287 and Khalil Gibran initially opposed the plan.

Khalil Gibran parents said the longer commute might be too much for students.

P.S. 287 parents objected to the idea of putting middle and high school students in the same building as P.S. 287’s elementary school students. With that in mind, P.S. 287 parents would likely support the DOE if it chooses to relocate Khalil Gibran.

“As long as it’s not a high school it’s okay,” said Matrice Sherman, whose nephew is in the second grade at P.S. 287. “If it’s a junior high school then I don’t have too much of a problem as long as they can make an agreement to share the space. I wouldn’t want to bail on 287 because years ago I went there.”

Updated 3:43 pm, October 19, 2011
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