69 years ago, The Castlewood School opened its doors to the children of WWII veterans who moved into the area because of all the affordable apartments. P.S 186 was named Castlewood by the Board of Education because at that time the neighborhood had many wooded areas on the hills surrounding Grand Central Parkway and the school stood like a castle among those woods.
The school was only two stories high, with 1,300 students in grades K-8. Due to the overcrowding, there were two sessions of school, some kids came from 8 to noon, and other kids came from noon to 4. Soon after, the 7th and 8th graders went to nearby junior high schools and the school switched to a single session. Years later, junior high schools were renamed Middle Schools and the 6th grade classes went to MS 67 and MS172. Today, we are a Prek through 5th grade school.
The first principal, Henry Poliakoff, made a speech 69 years ago in which he stated, “A school represents the embodiment of our faith in democracy and in democracy’s future. In a democracy, the school has a responsibility for developing not only the pupil’s mastery of the three R’s, but also his appreciation of the values of democracy and must provide for better human understanding, acceptance, and sharing of responsibility.
Our school has produced students who uphold these characteristics for the past 69 years, under the guidance of great teachers and principals. In 2014, two of our teachers, Liz Cageao and Tamara Restrepo, worked on creating a school time capsule. The Student Council worked with, Student Advisor at the time, Janet Rotela to decide what to put in the time capsule.