Cheers for Canarsie school

A once-controversial school in Canarsie is now warmly accepted by the community.

Last summer, East 107th Street residents and some members of School District 18’s Community Education Council (CEC) expressed concern that students at a new transfer high school would pick on middle school students and get into fights on nearby streets.

To the satisfaction of residents, those fears were unfounded.

“It’s all quiet,” said James Dandridge, president of District 18’s CEC, which represents schools in Canarsie and East Flatbush. “I think the minority of the community had concerns, justifiably so, but those concerns have been addressed.”

The new school building at 965 East 107th Street opened last fall with the Science and Medicine Middle School and the East Brooklyn Community High School, which caters to at-risk youth. (The city Department of Education opened the high school after initially promising that the building would offer grades kindergarten to eight.)

Dandridge credited a mentoring program with providing structure and positive learning experiences for the high school students.

“The high school kids are mentoring their younger siblings, which is ideal,” he explained.

Students are also participating in a program with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), through which they learn about career opportunities.

Also keeping students on the right track is a weekly district-wide basketball tournament held at the school and organized by the CEC. Students can register for the free basketball tournament, staged on Saturdays from 12-5 p.m., by contacting the CEC at 718-566-6037.

There haven’t been any problems with the space-sharing arrangement between the East Brooklyn Community High School and the Science and Medicine Middle School.

“It seems they have a working relationship — the two schools are coexisting,” Dandridge said.

However, all that could change in the fall when each school adds another grade.

“Space is going to get a little tight and I don’t know how that is going to get resolved,” Dandridge noted. “September brings a new set of problems and issues. But right now, we’re holding it together.”