Anna Phillips is a staff reporter at GothamSchools.
21 High Schools Identified as 'Struggling'
Wednesday, November 02, 2011 - 06:09 PM
After the release of high school progress reports last week, city Education Department officials identified 21 struggling high schools and secondary schools that, because of their low performance, could be closed or subject to other interventions beginning next year.
The process of closing schools and opening new ones is several months long, and it begins each year with a list of possibilities that are narrowed down to certainties.
This year, the city is considering closing as an option for 21 high schools and secondary, 20 elementary and middle schools, and six charter schools. Though in the end it's unlikely that all of them will be phased out, city officials will begin holding meetings this fall at each of the schools to discuss what could happen.
Four of the secondary schools added to the list — Frederick Douglass Academy II, Academy Of Business And Community Development, Frederick Douglass Academy IV, and Brooklyn Collegiate — have only their middle school grades under consideration for closure.
City officials said they generated the list of high schools by looking at their progress report grades, which are heavily dependent on their graduation rates and Regents scores. They also considered schools' quality reviews and other factors, they said.
The charter schools the city has identified either had low grades on their progress reports, below-average test scores, or are on probation for a variety of issues.
This year, 60 high schools scored low enough on the progress report to meet the city’s standard for closure.
Among the 21 that made the struggling schools list are high schools that are in their first year of a federal school improvement grant program. Washington Irving High School, Herbert H. Lehman High School, and Grace Dodge Career and Technical Education High School are all "transformation" schools, meaning they can receive additional money for three years for programs to boost student performance.
In a statement, Marc Sternberg, deputy chancellor for portfolio planning, said the department is using the list to begin discussions with schools about where their weaknesses lie. These meetings have already been held at many of the low-performing elementary and middle schools on the city's list, he said. And at several of these schools, parents and teachers are beginning their own campaign against what they view as the threat of closing.
Last year, the city's panel for educational policy voted to close 27 schools.
The follow are the 21 high schools and secondary schools, and six charter schools, the city identified on Wednesday as struggling: