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Three Manhattan Schools Among a Dozen Slated For Closure

By DNAinfo Staff on December 6, 2010 9:12pm

The City announced Monday that a dozen schools are slated to close, including three in Manhattan.
The City announced Monday that a dozen schools are slated to close, including three in Manhattan.
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By Jill Colvin

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — Three Manhattans schools were marked for closure because of poor performance, the city's Department of Education announced Monday.

East Harlem's Academy of Environmental Science Secondary High School and Kappa II middle school are among a dozen failing schools across the city that are on the chopping block.

The Department has also recommended closing the Ross Global Academy Charter School in the East Village by denying its charter license renewal.

Both the Academy of Environmental Science and KAPPA II had been slated to close last year, but got a brief, last-minute reprieve when the teachers' union sued the city, arguing it had failed to provide enough opportunity for public feedback.

The schools were chosen from a list of 55 poor performers, and more proposed closures are set to be announced Tuesday, the Department said.

"Year after year, even as we provided extra help and support, these schools simply have not gotten the job done for children," Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg said in a statement.

"These are tough decisions, but we cannot afford to let schools continue to fail students when we know we can do better," he said.

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said the UFT and its lawyers will be closely monitoring the closing process for any violations.

He also blasted the Department for failing to do enough to rescue troubled schools.

"When schools are struggling, parents want them fixed, not closed," he said in a statement. "The DOE should stop giving lip service to this idea and make a real effort to help schools in trouble, rather than sitting back and watching them get worse," he said.

All three of the Manhattan schools have been plagued by poor performance and are considered to be among the worst in the city.

Ross Global Academy was the lowest-performing charter school, according to the city’s 2009-2010 Progress Report, managing a score of just 0.1 out of 100, the Department said.

KAPPA II, which is is slated to close at the end of the year, is also among the lowest-performers. Only 9 percent of its 69 students were performing at grade level in English in 2010, while one in three reported feeling unsafe in hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms, the Department said.

The Academy of Environmental Science Secondary is set to be phased out gradually over the next several years, with the school fully replaced by the Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation by June 2014.

The school received an F on its Progress Report last year, and its attendance rate is among the lowest for high schools.

The Department must still go through a series of steps before closing the East Harlem schools, including public hearings where parents and students will have the chance to weigh in the proposed closures.

The Panel for Education Policy will then vote on the plans in the first week of Feb. 2011.