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Lower East Side School Warned it Could be Closed by DOE

By Jill Colvin | September 29, 2011 6:31am
P.S. 137 John L. Bernstein's 2010-2011 progress report.
P.S. 137 John L. Bernstein's 2010-2011 progress report.
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Department of Education

LOWER EAST SIDE — A Lower East Side elementary school has been put on notice that it’s time to shape up or risk being closed.

P.S. 137 John L. Bernstein is one of 20 low-performing elementary and middle schools that the city’s Department of Education has identified as “struggling,” according to a list released by the department Wednesday.

The East Broadway elementary school — the only Manhattan school on the list — received an F on its most recent progress report, released last week, earning just 17.6 points out a possible 100 thanks to poor test scores, declining progress and poor evaluations.

The grade represents a significant drop from last year, when the school, which serves just over 200 students, received a C.

Officials stressed that being included on the list only means that the city will “initiate conversations” with the schools about ways to improve.

“The goal of these discussions is to gain a better understanding of where weaknesses in their educational strategy lie and why they are struggling,” Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg said in a statement.

“We'll take the feedback into consideration as we explore options to improve performance and support student success, and continue to work with all of our schools to ensure that students have access to high quality options,” he said.

The decision about which schools to include was made by examining schools’ past performance, enrollment data and progress reports, among other factors, DOE officials said.

The city flags schools that receive Ds or Fs, or receive Cs three years in a row for potential principal firings and closures.

P.S. 137's principal, Melissa Rodriguez, could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.