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After school closes, parents rally to open new one

March 26, 2013 3:28:45 PM PDT
It has been a turbulent year for many districts in our area because of all the school closures.

But now, there is word of a new school opening up on the South Shore of Long Island.

What's remarkable about this one is that it was created by parents, funding and all.

They may look young, but these kids have big dreams of becoming doctors, lawyers and political leaders.

So imagine how they felt when they found out in December that their school, St. Peter's By the Sea in Bay Shore, would be closing at the end of the year.

"My reaction is that I would have to go to a different school and go through that new kid phase again," said Jean Claude Andre, a student.

Their parents came up with an idea.

"No, no our school isn't closing. Our school is our faculty and our students and our families so we'll just move it," said Keri Chinappi, a board member.

The parents reopened a vacant school building in West Islip and created their own school called The Bridges Academy.

A New York State fully accredited independent school for nursery through 8th grade.

It's funded entirely through tuition and fundraising.

They kept every teacher's job.

"I'm looking forward to everything just everything that's going to be new," said Anthony Chinappi, a student, "It's going to be great."

And there's going to be a lot.

The school is committed to creative ways of teaching incorporating the arts, multimedia and project based learning while also keeping small class sizes.

"We have so many bright children that should be able to instead of working in their grade level will be moving around from one grade level to the next," said Frank Fallon, headmaster.

The tuition at Bridges Academy will be 20% lower then what the parents were paying before.

"We are looking to have a profit sharing mode with our teachers. Our teachers will share in all our success so that's something we are very proud of," Fallon said.

They have something else to be proud of; families across the island are racing to get a spot for their children this fall.

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