School Closing Announcements Start Thursday

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6:46 p.m. | Updated Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott announced Wednesday at a District 2 Town Hall meeting that the Education Department will reveal within the next two days which of the city's struggling schools it will close.

Half of the closings will be announced on Thursday and half on Friday. The Education Department did not immediately say how many schools overall would be shut down.

In November, the city finalized its list of struggling schools -- those that were persistently performing poorly and would be targeted for revamping or to be closed. Parents, students and staff members at many of the 47 schools on the list have been demonstrating and pressing the Education Department to give them more time to turn things around.

The Education Department said it will not disclose how many schools it will close until Thursday. The schools themselves have not been told yet, they said.

On Wednesday evening, Marc Sternberg, the deputy chancellor for portfolio planning, sent out the following e-mail to reporters:

Over the next few days the Department will be making a series of announcements related to our work to propose interventions and supports for struggling schools.

Every child in New York City deserves the best possible education. This starts with a great school -- led by a dedicated leader and talented teachers who share a goal of student success. We count on each of our schools to provide a high-quality education to all of its students -- and we hold all schools to the same high standard. When a school is failing its students, we are compelled to take action to provide better options.

Under this administration, New York City has phased out 117 of our lowest-performing schools and opened 535 new schools: 396 districts schools and 139 public charter schools. As a result, we’ve created more high-quality schools for students and families. Overwhelmingly, new schools are doing better than those they replaced. But when they are not we will hold them accountable, as we do for all of our schools. Please find below several key statistics about our new schools:

· Graduation rates at new schools are higher than the schools they replaced. For example, the new schools we have opened on the Van Arsdale campus in Brooklyn had a graduation rate of nearly 83% in 2010 – 38 percentage points higher than the 2002 graduation rate at Van Arsdale High School. The new schools on the Van Arsdale campus are achieving these results with a similar population of students that were served by the school they replaced.

· When today’s ninth graders were entering Kindergarten, 16,000 New York City high school graduates enrolled at CUNY schools. Last fall more than 25,000 City graduates enrolled, an increase of over 50%.

· New schools have higher average scores on the parent survey than other schools in the system.

New Schools are also excelling on the progress report:

· Un-screened high schools opened since 2002 continue to earn higher grades and have better graduation outcomes than un-screened high schools opened before 2002.

· Charter schools earned a higher percentage of As and had a higher average percentile rank than non-charters, led by CMO-affiliated schools and charter middle schools.

In advance of announcements about this work later this week, I wanted to remind you about the steps we took to help inform our proposals. Consistent with our approach last year and our desire to incorporate school and community input in our decision-making process, in October and November we had conversations with 47 struggling schools (41 district schools and 6 public charter schools) that were eligible for an intensive support plan or intervention. We also sent letters providing detailed information on the process to elected officials where these schools were located. This engagement is above and beyond what is mandated by State law and leads to better decision making.

Early engagement schools were identified by public criteria. In our conversations with struggling schools we shared information about school performance and talked with the community about what was working at the schools and what needs to be improved. In addition to collecting feedback from the community, we took a close look at the academic performance and environment at these schools to inform our decision making. At the end of this process, our analysis and engagement directed us to a set of schools that quantitative and qualitative indicators show do not have the capacity to significantly improve. Deciding what course of action can best support the students and community of a struggling school is not easy, but we are compelled to act based on our commitment to ensuring that every student has access to high-quality school.

Last summer, when the Judge denied the UFT and NAACP’s petition to prevent the Department of Education from moving forward to phase out 22 failing schools it acknowledged that we can’t stand by and allow schools to keep failing our kids when we know we can -- and we must -- do better. As Judge Feinman stated in his decision, “If the failing public schools are not closed, students may be subject to substandard educational environments which will obviously cause them to be considerably harmed.” Deciding to phase out a school is the toughest decision the Department makes. But it is the right thing to do for current and future students.

Here are the 20 elementary and middle schools the city identified as struggling, followed by the list of 21 high schools and secondary schools and six public charter schools that were also listed as vulnerable:

Boro Dist School Grade Levels English Passing Math Passing ’09 ’10 ’11
M 1 P.S. 137 John L. Bernstein Elem 36.80% 45.20% A C F
X 7 P.S. 277 Elem 20.70% 24.70% A C F
X 9 New Millennium Business Academy Middle School Middle 11.30% 27.30% A C D
X 11 M.S. 142 John Philip Sousa Middle 17.40% 24.90% A C C
X 11 Aspire Preparatory Middle School Middle 23.60% 38.40% B C F
K 13 Satellite Three Middle 18.60% 33.70% B C D
K 13 P.S. 256 Benjamin Banneker Elem 34.20% 36.10% A C F
K 13 Knowledge and Power Preparatory Academy VII Middle School Middle 10.10% 17.60% C D F
K 14 P.S. 19 Roberto Clemente Elem 21.80% 22.00% B D F
K 17 P.S. 22 Elem 30.10% 32.50% A C F
K 17 P.S. 161 The Crown K-8 38.20% 40.50% A C D
K 17 Middle School for the Arts Middle 13.00% 11.40% A C D
K 19 I.S. 171 Abraham Lincoln Middle 23.30% 35.30% B C F
K 23 P.S. 298 Dr. Betty Shabazz K-8 15.30% 20.60% A C F
K 23 General D. Chappie James Elementary School of Science Elem 25.50% 34.90% N/A D F
K 23 General D. Chappie James Middle School of Science Middle 10.70% 11.90% N/A D D
Q 27 P.S. 215 Lucretia Mott Elem 22.40% 33.70% C D F
Q 29 P.S. 181 Brookfield Elem 25.60% 32.70% A C D
R 31 P.S. 14 Cornelius Vanderbilt Elem 23.00% 30.80% A C D
K 32 J.H.S. 296 The Halsey School Middle 14.10% 19.50% A C F

Here are the 21 high schools and secondary schools, and six charter schools, the city identified as struggling:

school District 2009 2010 2011 2010 Grad Rate
DOE Schools:
Legacy School for Integrated Studies 2 D C F 43%
Washington Irving High School 2 C C F 48%
High School of Graphic Communication Arts 2 C D F 56%
Manhattan Theatre Lab High School 3 B C F 46%
Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing & Visual Arts 3 A B D 61%
Frederick Douglass Academy II Secondary School 3 C C C 68%
Samuel Gompers Career and Technical Education High School 7 D C F 41%
Gateway School for Environmental Research and Technology 8 C B D 52%
Herbert H. Lehman High School 8 F F 51%
Jane Addams High School for Academic Careers 8 C C F 45%
Fordham Leadership Academy for Business and Technology 10 B C D 46%
Grace Dodge Career and Technical Education High School 10 D D F 35%
Academy for Scholarship and Entrepreneurship 11 B C D 58%
Academy of Business and Community Development 13 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Freedom Academy High School 13 C B F 56%
Juan Morel Campos Secondary School 14 C C C 46%
Frederick Douglass Academy IV Secondary School 16 D B C 65%
International Arts Business School 17 D C F 61%
Cypress Hills Collegiate Preparatory School 19 F D 53%
Brooklyn Collegiate 23 B C B 64%
Law, Government and Community Service High School 29 B D D 58%
Charter Schools:
Academic Leadership Charter School 7 N/A N/A N/A
Bronx Academy of Promise Charter School 9 N/A B F
Future Leaders Institute Charter School 3 B D F
The Opportunity Charter School 3 A C B 56.8%
Peninsula Preparatory Academy Charter School 27 C C C
Williamsburg Charter High School 14 C D C 65.1%