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P.S. 372 Ends Quest to Add Middle School

GOWANUS — P.S. 372 has ended its lengthy quest to add a middle school, dashing the hopes of parents who wanted to make the school's integrated approach to special education available to older kids.

Principal Arthur Mattia announced recently that he's withdrawn a request to the Department of Education to add grades 6 - 8 to the school, whose main campus is on Carroll Street in Gowanus. P.S. 372, called The Children's School, also has a site for children with autism spectrum disorders in Fort Greene.

"After having many conversations and receiving much information about the proposal to expand The Children's School, I have thought hard and made the difficult decision to withdraw the proposal to expand The Children's School for the 2013-14 school year," Mattia said in a letter to families posted online.

Mattia could not be reached Tuesday for further comment.

P.S. 372 is known for its innovative approach to teaching special needs children with general education students in fully integrated classrooms. It's open to students from across District 15 and seats fill quickly, according to Inside Schools.

The school has made several attempts to expand to a middle school, dating back to 2005, according to the parent group leading the effort. The DOE gave initial approval for the expansion plan last year, but did not identify a building to house the larger school, the Daily News reported.

Parents then stepped up their efforts, gathering letters of support from local elected officials and starting an online petition that collected more than 600 signatures. In October 2012, parents said they were informed that the DOE planned to co-locate the expanded P.S. 372 with M.S. 447 and the Brooklyn High School for the Arts on Dean Street in Boerum Hill.

But at a January PTA meeting, Mattia announced that he was "disappointed to inform the parent body that the middle school expansion is stalled and will not be moving forward."

Parents who led the expansion effort did not respond immediately to a request for comment.