BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A local K-8 school could lose its middle school grades in the fall under a proposal from the city’s Department of Education.
P.S. 262 El Hajj Malik El Shabazz School at 500 Macon St. near Malcolm X Boulevard would stop serving students in sixth through eighth grades in the 2017-18 academic year so it can focus on building its elementary school, according to the plan.
The proposal seeks to reduce an excess of middle school seats in District 16 and get rid of an under-enrolled middle school option, officials said.
P.S. 262 saw a decline in enrollment over the last four years, according to the DOE. Middle school enrollment dipped by 16 percent and, in the 2015-16 academic year, about 41 percent of fifth-graders chose not to continue their studies at the school.
As of this year, there were 159 students enrolled in sixth through eighth grade, city data shows, a decline from 170 in 2015-16.
Throughout the district, middle schools currently can serve approximately 2,650 students in sixth through eighth grade, but only 1,098 students are enrolled this year.
By eliminating the seats at the Macon Street school, the DOE can boost enrollment at the remaining middle school options, which officials said are higher performing and can support greater programming and resources.
"This proposal will help us better meet the needs of students and families at P.S. 262, while also allowing us to maximize critical academic resources across our district,” District 16 superintendent Rahesha Amon-Harris said in a statement.
“This is a common sense proposal that will improve the quality of instruction for District 16 students.”
The local community education council worked with the officials on the plan and are in agreement with eliminating the grades, according to NeQuan McLean, CEC16 president and PTA president at P.S. 262.
“We believe that students, they have been successful, but will be more successful in a larger school and have a different opportunity to see more teachers,” McLean said. “Our district is shrinking and we have to find a way to make things better."
If approved, students at P.S. 262 will be offered a seat at another district school and affected teachers would be able to apply for other positions, according to the DOE.
Officials will hold a public hearing on the proposal at P.S. 262 on March 9 at 6 p.m, and the DOE’s Panel for Educational Policy is set to vote on the plan on March 22 at 6 p.m. at the High School for Fashion Industries at 225 West 24th St.