Thomas J. Quirk Middle School
85 Edwards St, Hartford, CT 06120
The Thomas J. Quirk Middle School is situated in Hartford’s Clay Arsenal neighborhood just northwest of downtown Hartford. The school is located on 85 Edwards St, its original site, which is just off of the section of Albany Ave that is right after where Albany Ave and Main St intersect. The building is a public middle school and is part of the Hartford Public School System that educates 7th and 8th grades and has approximately 700 students enrolled.
The school is a standard red brick building that stands roughly three stories high. The building is actually composed of two buildings that are connected by a series of catwalks. The building is fairly up to date even though it dates back to the 1970’s. The interior planes of the building are not readily available to the public. The architecture style of the building is classic red brick. The building is accessible to the public.
When facing the front façade of the school, the section of the building on the right is the actual middle school where there are mostly traditional classrooms. The building to the left houses the extracurricular activities such as art and gym and also the central office. Also, the left side of the school contains a Hartford High School program for children who cannot be part of a traditional high school education program and setting because of special social or educational needs.
In between the two buildings is a courtyard which acts as an entrance to the two buildings as well. The center courtyard includes sitting areas and doorways leading into and out of the school. Behind the school building is a large field for school activities and sports. The front area of the school is a parking lot and an area for busses to pick and drop off students.
The school is situated right where the metropolitan part of the city transitions into residential area. The school is situated as to be central to the community as it offers public space to people in the community and its fields as well. The buildings surrounding the school are residential and appear to be of the same era. I arrived to the school by car and when I entered the campus I did not feel very invited. The middle courtyard is separated from the parking lot by a large fence. Upon entering the school campus, I was promptly and sternly greeted by a security guard. However, upon further examining the situation I realized that it is good that fencing and security guards protect the school. Driving back to Trinity, I noticed that some of the buildings in the neighborhood of the school appeared to be abandoned and falling down, tagged with graffiti.
The Quirk Middle School offers services to bilingual students, special needs students with a continuum of services as well as a College Prep Program that offers students to participate in a World Language Program (Spanish). The College Prep Program also offers Algebra to grade eight students. The school is currently using block scheduling in order to provide quality instruction. This is very important as it prevents most of the negative effects that immigrants without an education face especially the effects of the “Puerto Rican Tragedy” explained by Mike Davis in Magical Urbanism by offering students education and skills they need to be successful in life. The school is in session from 8:15 – 2:40 Monday through Friday during the academic school year. After school hours are 3:00-6:00.