NEW YORK CITY — The Department of Education has put 36 struggling elementary and middle schools on alert that they could face closure if they don't shape up.
The DOE has begun "early engagement conversations" with the three dozen schools in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and The Bronx — the first step toward more drastic steps, including closure.
That's nearly twice as many as this time last year, when the DOE identified 20 schools as struggling.
Many of the schools have had chronic problems and years of bad annual report cards.
P.S. 230 Dr. Roland N. Patterson, an elementary school in The Bronx, and P.S. 073 Thomas S. Boyland in Bedford-Stuyvesant, for example, both saw their grades sink to F's this year after back-to-back C’s.
Other schools have seen their performance slip more dramatically in recent years, including J.H.S. 125 Henry Hudson in The Bronx, which dropped to an ‘F’ this year after scoring a ‘B’ back in 2009-2010.
The mix also includes two charter schools: the Mott Haven Academy Charter School and the Bronx Community Charter School, both located in The Bronx.
The DOE typically flags schools that receive single F’s and D’s or three years of C’s for early intervention. But far more schools found themselves in the hot seat this year because of more difficult state testing.
As a result, 217 schools found themselves facing potential closure this year — up from 116 last year.
That list of 217 schools was ultimately whittled down to the 36 institutions the DOE is now looking to shut down if their performance does not improve.
The DOE's school closure policy has come under intense fire from education advocates and elected officials who believe the city should be investing more to turn failing schools around instead of shutting them down.
Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, said in a statement that the DOE's engagement process "does little or nothing to help struggling schools improve.
"Unfortunately, closing schools — rather than fixing them — remains the centerpiece of Mayor Bloomberg's education strategy," he added.
But school officials stressed that being targeted for "engagement" doesn’t necessarily mean a school will be forced to close.
“The goal of these discussions is to gain a better understanding of what’s happening at these schools and give them the opportunity to talk about the challenges they face,” Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg said in a statement.
The city will then use those conversations to “explore options to improve performance and support student success," he said.
The decisions are based on schools’ past performance, enrollment data and progress reports, among other factors, according to the DOE.
The list does not include high schools, whose rankings won't be released until later this month.
The struggling schools are:
J.H.S. 013 Jackie Robinson
M.S. 45/S.T.A.R.S. Prep Academy
P.S. 133 Fred R Moore
P.S. 132 Juan Pablo Duarte
P.S. 154 Jonathan D. Hyatt
Young Leaders Elementary School
J.H.S. 125 Henry Hudson
The Bronx Mathematics Preparatory School
P.S. 064 Pura Belpre
P.S. 132 Garret A. Morgan
P.S. 230 Dr Roland N. Patterson
MS 142 John Philip Sousa
Globe School for Environmental Research
P.S. 006 West Farms
P.S. 050 Clara Barton
The School of Science and Applied Learning
P.S. 067 Charles A. Dorsey
P.S. 167 The Parkway
Middle School for Academic and Social Excellence
J.H.S. 166 George Gershwin
P.S. 174 Dumont
P.S. 224 Hale A. Woodruff
J.H.S. 302 Rafael Cordero
P.S. 073 Thomas S. Boyland
P.S. 165 Ida Posner
General D. Chappie James Middle School of Science
J.H.S. 291 Roland Hayes
I.S. 349 Math, Science & Tech.
J.H.S. 008 Richard S. Grossley
P.S. 140 Edward K Ellington
I.S. 059 Springfield Gardens
P.S. 156 Laurelton
Mott Haven Academy Charter School
Bronx Community Charter School