By Ron Leir
When the bell rings for the opening of classes at the newly reconfigured Lincoln Middle School in Kearny Sept. 4, everything will be ready for the incoming seventh- and eighth-graders, said Acting Superintendent Patricia Blood.
Last week, after the school district completed its summer school and Ticket-to- Read programs at Lincoln, maintenance staff cleaned classrooms on the building’s second floor to prepare them for the estimated 441 grade 8 students who will be their new occupants.
“Our custodial staff has been phenomenal,” Blood said. “Everything should be up to snuff when school resumes.”
A projected 411 seventh-graders will fill in classrooms on the building’s first floor, thus making a total of 852 students.
The school’s capacity is designed to hold “in the mid- 900s,” Blood said. “We should have an average of 25 students in most classrooms.”
Several eighth-grade teachers have already made an appearance to unload supplies and set up their rooms in advance of their students’ arrivals, noted Principal Robert C. Zika Sr.
Of the nearly 80 teachers, administrators and staff assigned to the middle school, “about half” will be new to the Lincoln School building, Zika estimated.
“Many teachers requested assignments to the middle school,” Blood told The Observer last week. “The excitement is palpable. I can’t tell you how many people have sent me emails or told me how much they’re looking forward to this.”
Lincoln Middle School will host orientations Aug. 18 and 20 (two each day) “to acclimate students to the building and to promote school spirit and teamwork,” Zika advises in a letter going out to parents this week.
For those sessions, students are asked to enter the building via the Beech St. entrance and wait in the auditorium for the “Peer-to-Peer” students who will give a guided tour of the school.
Additionally, all incoming middle schoolers are invited to a “welcome BBQ” slated for Wednesday, Aug. 27, at Rogers Playground, Hickory St. and Oakwood Ave., from 4 to 6:30 p.m. A DJ will play music, students – who will only be admitted with a wrist band provided in the letter to parents – can choose a hamburger or hotdog, a drink and Italian ice.
And students can register for electives – art and music – and for intramurals in basketball, volleyball and indoor soccer. There will also be opportunities for tryouts for travel teams of cross-country, track and basketball, according to Blood.
Blood said that, when school starts, all seventh- and eighthgraders will take a computer class. “We’re set up for Wi-Fi with tywo computer classrooms and at least one computer lab, which will prepare students for the upcoming PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College & Careers) testing,” she said.
Additionally, Blood said, “every child gets one semester of swim instruction. Our swim instructor has left us but we’ve hired two new highly qualified replacements, one for boys’ instruction and one for the girls.”
Classes at the middle school will start at 8:30 a.m. and dismissal will be at 2:40 p.m. – same as Kearny High School. The hours were set that way to accommodate parents with multiple children attending both schools, said Blood.