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East Village Charter School Ross Global Academy Eyed for Closure by City

By Patrick Hedlund | December 7, 2010 1:44pm
The Ross Global Academy, which shares a building with the East Side Community School on East 12th Street, may shutter under a city proposal.
The Ross Global Academy, which shares a building with the East Side Community School on East 12th Street, may shutter under a city proposal.
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By Patrick Hedlund

DNAinfo News Editor

EAST VILLAGE — The city is seeking to shutter a neighborhood charter school for poor performance, citing a host of deficiencies at the East 12th Street school, including below-average test scores and high staff turnover.

The kindergarten through eighth-grade Ross Global Academy, which opened five years ago but moved into its current East Village home last year, ranked in the bottom 1 percent of all schools for the 2009-'10 school year based on a Department of Education progress report.

According to DOE figures, last year just 25 percent of the school's approximate 400 students were proficient in English, compared to the citywide average of 42 percent. Only 31 percent of students were proficient in math, compared to the citywide average of 54 percent.

The DOE also cited Ross Global Academy's high rate of staff turnover, noting that the school has had six leaders in five years and 40 percent teacher turnover each year, including 77 percent last year.

"Accountability means we hold all our schools to high standards of student success, whether district or charter," deputy schools chancellor Marc Sternberg said in a statement.

"Where a school has struggled to educate its students year after year, we must provide a better option. This is a difficult, but necessary decision. We are strongly recommending to the state that they not renew this charter, and we will work to provide better local options for these students."

Ross Global Academy was among a dozen schools selected for closure after the city identified 55 struggling schools throughout the city, according to the DOE. The East Village school was one of only three in Manhattan and the only charter school to be singled out for poor performance.

The school's current principal, Cristina Alvarez, was not immediately available for comment.

Parents on the independent school-review site InsideSchools.org had mixed reviews of Ross Global Academy, describing the staff as "caring" and "professional" but bemoaning the high turnover rates.

"This year, I am pleased to say that we have a new principal, assistant principal and two deans, who have, along with their leadership team and the PTA, implemented changes that have turned around school climate, safety, and, if appearances can be trusted, teacher satisfaction," wrote commenter Happy RGA Parent! on the site.

"My kid is doing really well. Ahead of the curve, she is given individualized attention."

However, another person claiming to be a parent called the school "an abomination" and the administration "horrible."

"I had to pull my child out of this school for fear of getting hurt by other students," wrote commenter soleilbella on the site.

"There is no organization and the school is worse than ever. Everyone is displeased with the administration. The teachers although wonderful are very stressed. There is no joy in this school."