City Targets 17 Schools for Closure

By Jill Colvin on January 7, 2013 5:41pm 

NEW YORK CITY — Seventeen schools have been placed on the chopping block for sub-par performance, Department of Education officials announced Monday.

The schools, including the Herbert H. Lehman High School in The Bronx, the High School of Graphic Communication Arts in Hell's Kitchen and Sheepshead Bay High School in Brooklyn, were among 60 schools that were identified by the DOE as struggling late last year.

A second round of proposed closures and phase-outs — where schools are eliminated one grade at a time as students graduate — is expected to be announced Tuesday.

Of the 17 schools, six received grades of 'F' and nine received 'D's on their most recent school progress reports. The remaining two had received three 'C's in a row.

Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg said that all of the closure decisions came after careful consideration of community feedback on how the schools were performing and whether they had the potential to turn around.

“These are difficult decisions that we’ve arrived at after thoroughly evaluating each school’s record — and now is the time to take action,” he said in a statement, arguing that the city can better serve students with new schools.

“We expect every school to deliver for our students, and are working hard to offer families more high performing choices," he said.

The teacher’s union, which is locked in a bitter war with Mayor Michael Bloomberg over the terms of a new teacher evaluation system, has repeatedly slammed the administration for using closures as a key method for turning schools around.

Other critics were quick to criticize what is expected to be the final round of closures under Bloomberg's watch.

“The mayor has closed 140 schools, but still hasn’t closed the racial achievement gap and students are still no closer to graduating college-ready," Zakiyah Ansari, a public school parent and spokeswoman for the advocacy group New Yorkers for Great Public Schools, said in a statement.

"Mayor Bloomberg needs to own up to his failed policy and give struggling schools the resources and support they need to succeed,” she said.

Struggling schools that are not being phased out will be given extra assistance including professional development and possible changes in leadership, Sternberg said.

The schools that have been marked for closure and phase-out are:

Manhattan:

02M62 High School of Graphic Communication Arts — high school phase-out

04M045 M.S. 45/S.T.A.R.S. Prep Academy — middle school closure

05M469 Choir Academy of Harlem — secondary school phase-out

05M685 Bread & Roses Integrated Arts High School — high school phase-out

Bronx:

07X203 M.S. 203 — middle school phase-out

08X405 Herbert H. Lehman High School — high school phase-out

09X064 P.S. 064 Pura Belpre — elementary school phase-out

09X414 Jonathan Levin High School for Media and Communications — high school phase-out

11X142 MS 142 John Philip Sousa — middle school phase-out

Brooklyn:

13K509 Freedom Academy High School — high school closure

17K167 P.S. 167 The Parkway — elementary school phase-out

19K166 J.H.S. 166 George Gershwin — middle school phase-out

19K302 J.H.S. 302 Rafael Cordero — middle school phase-out

22K495 Sheepshead Bay High School — high school phase-out

23K634 General D. Chappie James Middle School of Science — middle school phase-out

Queens:

28Q140 P.S. 140 Edward K Ellington — elementary school phase-out

29Q494 Law, Government and Community Service High School — high school phase-out

Charter Schools:

Two charter schools, the Mott Haven Academy Charter School and the Bronx Community Charter School, which had both been flagged as struggling, were given conditional renewals for three years.

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