NEWARK, NJ - The former Burnet Street Elementary School this fall will see its hallways filled with students again.

Marion P. Thomas Charter School will open the Performing Arts & Culinary Academy to pre-K through 8th grade students at 28 Burnet St. The site previously housed the Paulo Freire Charter School until 2016 and the Burnet Street School until 2012.

“I think it will be a wonderful opportunity for those parents and children who live in that area because we're returning a school option back to those families,” said Marion P. Thomas Charter School spokeswoman Michele Griffin.

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The former Burnet Street Elementary School was one of several underperforming schools that were closed under the former state-appointed superintendent.

The MPTCS middle school campus at 570 Broad St. will fold into the new pre-K to 8th grade Performing Arts & Culinary Academy. Genique Hamilton, the middle school’s principal, will now oversee the new school.

MPTCS is shifting to a pre-K to 8th grade model for its other two elementary schools and will maintain its culinary and performing arts high school. The change was made because school officials wanted to add “continuity” to each child’s education and so parents wouldn’t have to take their children to a different school every few years, Griffin said.

Plans to open a MPTCS facility at the site of the former Clinton Avenue School were nixed. The Burnet Street facility was bigger and conveniently closer to the MPTCS high school, Griffin said.

The new pre-K to 8th grade PAC school will provide students with traditional curriculum across all subjects, and school officials hope the arts and culinary programs will encourage children to do well in other areas.

“Research reveals that the arts motivates children to excel,” said MPTCS’ Interim Chief School Administrator Misha Simmonds in a statement. “Additionally, it will expose our students to fields that will be further cultivated when they reach the MPTCS High School of Culinary & Performing arts.”

MPTCS hopes to enroll 325 students in the new middle school this year but will eventually be able to house up to 500 students, Griffin said.

Those interested in enrolling their children may do so online.

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