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ADS founder and principal Melissa Melkonian (c) and parents. Photo by Silvio Pacifi co
Ground breaking for new
south Bronx charter school
BY PATRICK ROCCHIO
A south Bronx charter school celebrated
its upcoming expansion when
construction began on a new building
that will soon be home to its growing
American Dream School, a charter
school currently located in Mott Haven,
recently broke ground on a state-of-theart
building in Melrose, to serve as its
high school. The ceremonial groundbreaking
took place on Friday, February
The new school building at 700 Gerard
Avenue will be a fi ve- story, 33,000
square foot educational facility addressing
the continuing curriculum of
ADS. The original structure contained
a grade six through eight school, said
Nicholas Gallagher, director of operations.
The new facility boasts dedicated
space for a gym, computer lab and cafeteria,
and dedicated space for nearly all
activities, said Gallagher.
Among the amenities that ADS’
multi-lingual English and Spanish
high school’s building are expected to
offer by July 2020 are a chemistry lab,
biology lab, physics lab, outdoor educational
terrace, top fl oor gymnasium, a
full kitchen that will enable the school
to eventually prepare fresh meals for
students, said Gallagher.
ADS founder and principal, Melissa
Melkonian, joined with parents and
teachers in celebration of the milestone
on February 8.
“I believe our hardworking students
and teachers deserve a permanent,
beautiful, state-of-the-art facility that
inspires them every day,” Melkonian.
Melkonian added that a key element
of ADS’ vision is to cultivate a welcoming,
encouraging environment for English
language learners and immigrant
students where learning and language
development is supported.
“With the groundbreaking of our
new high school campus, we’re pushing
our vision forward,” said Melkonian.
The new building will accommodate
Hollister Construction Services, a
full-service construction managing
company, is constructing the new building.
Andrew McLaughlin, Hollister project
executive, said he believes that the
design created for the building will continue
to push boundaries and will be a
great representation of the school community
Gallagher said that when ADS was
founded during the 2014-15 school year,
it was originally intended for middle
school education, and that the dual language
school was expanded and their
charter amended because ofparent requests.
“Our parents petitioned us to expand
our grade offering into high school because
the did not fi nd the type of programming
in their community that
they felt was appropriate for their children,”
ADS continues to occupy the fourth
fl oor of P.S. 30 and has also expanded
into private space nearby for the upper
grades, said Gallagher, who added having
its own building will provide the
school with stability.
The school hopes to offer its fi rst
high school graduating class a diploma
with a NYC Department of Education
seal of bi-literacy, meaning graduates
are bi-literate and bi-lingual in English
and Spanish, said Gallagher.
Every class at the school is taught
in both languages except for English
subject class, and the classes have two
teachers per classroom, said Gallagher.
ADS founder and Principal Melissa Melkonian (c) and teachers at the groundbreaking.
Photo by Silvio Pacifi co