State Senator Jose Peralta handed off a $105,000 check to the school last Thursday morning. The money will be used to level off 38th Street and create a new garden. IS 141 will also build a new gender-neutral bathroom on the first floor and add interior security cameras.
“The idea here is to ensure you have a great learning environment,” Peralta said to dozens of students gathered at the announcement. “You are the future of our society. What you learn here will mold your minds.”
In the last year, Peralta has earmarked funding for other local schools in his district to add air conditioning, upgrade public address systems and renovate an auditorium.
Principal Miranda Pavlou said six years ago the school created a garden in the front of the school, which won praise from the community. She said she wanted something similar for the 38th Street side.
“The side of the building is a little bit dilapidated,” she said.
The new garden will have an educational component, she said. Students will study what kind of flowers they need to put where, and if the plants are receiving enough sunlight.
The gender-neutral bathroom has been on her wish list for more than a year. Pavlou said IS 141 is a Respect For All school, so creating an inclusive environment where students feel comfortable is a priority.
Pavlou said next on her wish list is creating a more student-friendly cafeteria, which currently sits about 400 students.
“We want to design something that’s more friendly for the children, so the lunch period becomes a real joy to eat and communicate with friends,” she said.
She noted the school building is old, but the staff takes good care of it. To be able to do extra projects like the garden and bathroom will lead to better learning, she said.
“The children need to come here and feel comfortable, safe and be in a beautiful environment,” Pavlou said. “The same way we want our homes to be beautiful, this is their home. That is what I want to create for them everyday.”