Today’s news:

Gianaris grant will bring reading garden to PS 84

The school, located at 22-45 41st St. in Long Island City, will construct a literacy garden on its front lawn, where students will be able to learn in an outdoor setting. State Assemblyman Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), a former PS 84 student, secured $2,000 from the Power Authority of New York to give to the school for the garden.Assistant Principal Tony Loverso said a section of the school's lawn, which is currently not aesthetically pleasing, will be leveled in the spring. The garden, which will be enclosed by a fence, will be filled with perennials and paving stones that will act as seats for students. According to Gianaris, school instructors will be able to teach a variety of classes in the garden through the use of dry erase boards.Loverso said he thinks the new outdoor classroom space will help promote learning through different methods to PS 84 students."Kids get excited about learning if they receive information in different locations - it helps them remember (what they learn) for a longer period of time," he said.Loverso said the garden, which will be a total of 400 square feet with a 24-foot diameter and a 20-foot-by-20-foot perimeter, will be large enough to accommodate about 34 children. Gianaris said many students are currently cramped in the school in overcrowded classrooms. He said the literacy garden will also benefit the look of the neighborhood."I wish there had been a literacy garden when I attended PS 84," he said. "The garden will help beautify the school and the neighborhood and provide students with a better learning experience by giving them a more exciting school environment in which to learn and make their school experience a better one."PS 84 students said they were excited about the new garden and the possibility of learning outside of the classroom."I think it is a very nice idea because people can get fresh air when they are working," said Olga Dipla, 10, a fifth-grader.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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