Yasmeen Khan is an associate producer covering education. You can find her stories on the air and on SchoolBook.org, WNYC’s education website.
Department of Education officials said Wednesday they have told three dozen elementary and middle schools that they are concerned about their performance, in essentially the first step of the school closing process.
The D.O.E. plans to begin "early engagement" conversations with the schools.
"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; the strategies and interventions already underway; and what strategies or interventions will be most meaningful to the school as they move forward," said Deputy Chancellor Marc Sternberg in a statement emailed to reporters.
Mark Cannizzaro, executive vice president of the principals' union, said these conversations are "an excellent thing to do," but should happen earlier.
"I think that it should be an absolute last resort to close a school," said Cannizzaro, who worked as a middle school principal on Staten Island before moving to the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators. "I don't think that should be considered unless all sorts of interventions and support from the department has been exhausted."
And Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers, dismissed the school closure process in his statement.
“Tweed’s measurement system depends almost completely on standardized tests, and its ‘engagement’ process does little or nothing to help struggling schools improve," he said.
Here are the schools that received "early engagement" notice:
J.H.S. 13 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. 64 Pura Belpre
P.S. 132 Garret A. Morganr
I.S. 229 Roland Patterson
M.S. 142 John Philip Sousa
Globe School for Environmental Research
P.S. 6 West Farms
P.S. 50 Clara Barton
The School of Science and Applied Learning
P.S. 67 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. 73 Thomas S. Boyland
P.S. 165 Ida Posner
General D. Chappie James Middle School of Science
J.H.S. 8 Richard S. Grossley
P.S. 140 Edward K Ellington
I.S. 59 Springfield Gardens
P.S. 156 Laurelton
J.H.S. 291 Roland Hayes
I.S. 349 Math, Science & Tech.
Mott Haven Academy Charter School
Bronx Community Charter School
Education officials said they identified these schools based on several years' worth of progress reports; qualitative evaluations, like school visits and interviews; and placement on the state's list of "priority" schools.