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Brooklyn and Queens Get High Marks in City's Public School Report Cards

By Jill Colvin | October 1, 2012 3:44pm | Updated on October 1, 2012 4:24pm

NEW YORK CITY — When it comes to public school performance, Queens is tops.

The city's Education Department released its annual public school report cards for the 1,193 elementary and middle schools — and found that Queens was the highest-performing overall, with 26 percent of its 257 schools receiving As and zero percent receiving Fs.

Queens' District 26, which spans Bayside, Oakland Gardens and Fresh Meadows, was also the highest-performing in the city, with more than 90 percent of its schools receiving either an A or a B.

Brooklyn had the most individual schools with As — 27 percent of 378 schools — but also had more schools that pulled its ranking down with Ds and Fs.

Manhattan fell right in the middle, with 25 precent of its 220 schools earning As, and dozens of schools getting Bs and Cs.

The Bronx had the highest number of individual low-performing schools, with 11 percent of its 280 schools receiving Ds or Fs.

Staten Island, meanwhile, had the worst overall performance, with just 14 percent of its 58 schools receiving As and the majority of schools — 52 percent — slapped with Cs.

The numbers also show that charter schools outperformed traditional schools, with 46 percent of charters receiving A grades, versus 25 percent of schools overall.  Just 1 percent of charter schools received Fs.

The annual reports are based on a combination of student performance and progress on state tests, as well as attendance and student, teacher and parent survey results.

Under a predetermined formula, the top 25 percent of schools city-wide received As, the next 35 percent Bs, the next 30 percent Cs, the next 7 percent Ds, and bottom 2 percent Fs.

The reports singled out some of the top schools, including Brooklyn's P.S. 172 Beacon School of Excellence in Sunset Park and Crown Heights' School of Integrated Learning as the two top-performing middle and elementary schools in city.

Following closely behind were the Icahn Charter School 4 in the Pelham Gardens section of the Bronx and Ocean Hill Collegiate Charter School in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.

On the other end of the spectrum, Central Harlem’s P.S. 241, the Stem Institute of Manhattan, was ranked the worst in the city, with an overall score of 12.7, giving it an F. That's a huge drop from last year, when the school received a B.

Other failing schools on the list included Knowledge and Power Preparatory Academy VII middle school in Kew Gardens, Queens, which received its second ‘F’ in a row, and the Choir Academy of Harlem, which dropped from a B to an F.

Both schools were nearly shuttered by the city in recent years, but received last-minute reprieves.

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

But officials warned that far more schools will be in the hot seat this year because of a major change in the way the reports were scored back in 2010.

As a result, a whopping 114 elementary and middle schools have received three Cs in a row versus just 5 last year — meaning 217 schools could find themselves being eyed for closure — up from 116 last year.

Schools that are on the list will be notified this week.

The vast majority of schools — 86 percent — stayed within one letter grade of last year’s score. But some saw major gains, including the School for Environmental Citizenship elementary school in the Fordham Heights section of The Bronx and the Bronx Academy of Promise Charter School elementary school, in Concourse, which both jumped from Fs last year to As.

The Renaissance School of the Arts Middle School in East Harlem, which was nearly closed last year, also saw huge gains, rising from a D to an A.

Schools that logged concerning large drops this year included P.S. 073, an elementary school in the Highbridge section of The Bronx which slid from an A to a D.

Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky cautioned parents to consider more than just the rankings when assessing their children's schools, but said that the latest version aims to present a more complete picture of what's happening in the classroom than in previous years.

“We’ve really made an effort this year to give the progress report a broader report of information, not just test scores,” he said.

This year's reports, for instance, include information about whether middle school students are taking high school credits and whether they’re passing core courses including social studies and science for the first time.

Schools also received extra credit for improving the performance of students with disabilities and other high-needs population.

Schools officials expect next year's scores to be far lower than this year's because of major changes to state math and English tests that will make them much more difficult.

Grades for high schools will be released later this month.

To see your child's school's full progress report, click here.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story contained inaccurate numbers provided by the Department of Education.