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City Plans to Merge Two Bed-Stuy High Schools

By Camille Bautista | January 20, 2017 4:55pm | Updated on January 23, 2017 8:44am
 The city is looking to merge Frederick Douglass Academy IV and Brooklyn Academy of Global Finance, two high schools in Bed-Stuy that already share a building.
The city is looking to merge Frederick Douglass Academy IV and Brooklyn Academy of Global Finance, two high schools in Bed-Stuy that already share a building.
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DNAinfo/Camille Bautista

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — The Department of Education is considering merging two Brooklyn high schools with the aim of providing better programming and resources for students, officials said.

Under the proposed consolidation, Frederick Douglass Academy IV Secondary School (FDA IV) and Brooklyn Academy of Global Finance would become one. The two schools already share a building at 125 Stuyvesant Ave. near Lafayette Avenue.

The DOE designated FDA IV a renewal school, one of 86 identified throughout the five boroughs for low performance.

The merger suggestion comes as the city looks to shutter five renewal schools and merge others.

FDA IV has struggled with low enrollment, officials said, and had just 69 students registered as of October 2016, according to DOE numbers.

Brooklyn Academy of Global Finance is also an under-enrolled school within central Brooklyn’s School District 16 with 112 students, city data shows.

Combining the two would help them share resources and boost enrollment, officials said.

Including FDA IV and Brooklyn Academy of Global Finance, there are five high schools within Bedford-Stuyvesant and northern Crown Heights' District 16 that each have less than 250 students.

The low numbers can create programming and budgeting challenges, officials said.

“These two school communities currently share a campus where teachers and students have already started collaborating and taking classes together,” Superintendent Karen Watts said.

“By merging Brooklyn Academy and Frederick Douglass, we’ll be able to provide students with the expanded programs and opportunities that they deserve.”

In 2015, the DOE approved a co-location of the two schools with a merged middle school.

District 16's Community Education Council is in support of the consolidation, according to CEC16 President NeQuan McLean.

“We believe it needed to happen and the principal there is a strong principal that will make the school strive, and the school will be very successful,” McLean said, adding that the CEC advocated for a merger when the co-location was first proposed.

If the merger is approved, the consolidated school would no longer be part of the DOE’s Renewal School Initiative, according to the agency, but would stay a community school.

Currently, FDA IV is a community school, which means families and students can receive support through resources like health, mental health and social services.

The proposal is not yet finalized, DOE officials said, but staff from both schools will continue collaborating throughout the school year, planning joint professional development, shared classes and extra-curricular activities for students.

The DOE anticipates hosting parent meetings on the plan and a joint public hearing, and looks to have the Panel for Educational Policy give an official vote in March.

Pending approval, the schools would combine starting in September 2017.