Parents and Teachers Make a Plea to Keep Jamaica High's Doors Open

More than 100 parents and teachers, hoping to prevent Jamaica High from closing, turned out at the Department of Education's public hearing Thursday night to show their support for the school, one of 25 the city wants to close next fall.

City officials argue Jamaica should close because of its low graduation rates and declining enrollment, but the school's supporters say the low numbers are a result of a dearth of city-provided resources.

Dena Gordon lost her teaching position at Jamaica last year when the school's enrollment dropped. She now teaches at a small, A-rated school that has more supplies and access to technology. Gordon said she thinks that with better support from the city, Jamaica could also improve.

"I didn't become a better teacher because I went from Jamaica High School to an A-rated school," she said. "I am the same teacher, I am the same person, I bring the same skill set with me."

The city's Panel for Educational Policy will vote on the proposal to phase-out Jamaica High School on February 3. It would be replaced with a small new school. The city tried to close Jamaica and 18 other schools last year but was blocked when two courts found it didn't provide enough community notification under state law.

Maura Walz is a reporter for