News stories

22 city schools to 'restart' under federal program

The 22 restart schools

Brooklyn

Boys and Girls HS
Bushwick Community HS
John Dewey HS
Sheepshead Bay HS
IS 136 Charles O Dewey
JHS 166 George Gershwin
MS 126 John Ericsson

Bronx

Banana Kelly HS
Bronx High School of Business
Grace Dodge Career and Technical HS
Herbert Lehman HS
IS 339
JHS 22 Jordan L Mott
JHS 80 Mosholu Parkway
MS 391

Manhattan

Washington Irving HS

Queens

August Martin HS
Grover Cleveland HS
John Adams HS
Newtown HS
Richmond Hill HS
William Cullen Bryant HS

Twenty-two city intermediate and high schools will get new management partners next fall and the Department of Education will receive up to $2 million a year for up to three years for each school to spend on an improvement initiative under the federal “restart” intervention model for struggling schools.

The 22 schools [see list at right] were tapped by the DOE for the restart model — the least drastic of four federal intervention models that come with federal school improvement grants — after landing on the state’s Persistently Lowest Achieving schools list. The restart model will link each school with a nonprofit Educational Partnership Organization to provide turnaround expertise. Potential partners include New Visions for Public Schools, Urban Assembly and Future is Now Schools (formerly Green Dot America), among others.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew said the restart model meant the schools would get support to improve and not be summarily closed, which has been the DOE’s most common solution for struggling schools to date.

“We are looking forward to working with some of these partners,” Mulgrew said. “For a school community to design an educational plan and actually have it supported by an organization is something that the Department of Education has not been able to do.”

Staff in the schools, including the administration, will remain in place, at least for now, the DOE said, and the schools will serve the same students. The union contract would remain in effect.

The DOE has put out a request for potential education partners to apply for the positions. The schools will be matched with their new management organizations by June.

Meanwhile, the transformation and turnaround models had to be shelved after the DOE and the union failed to reach agreement on staffing and evaluations. Talks broke down when the city refused to insist that a principal meet with a teacher upon the teacher’s request after the principal writes a letter to the file following an informal observation. The union believes that it is a best educational practice to have a face-to-face conversation to discuss evaluations if a teacher needs clarity or guidance to ensure continued development. As a consequence, the fate of 11 city schools that have been in a pilot for the transformation model this school year remains uncertain.

The city closed 12 other Persistently Lowest Achieving schools this year over vigorous opposition. The DOE decided not to close a ninth, W.H. Maxwell Career and Technical HS, when its Progress Report grade rose from a D to a B in one year. The DOE says it will review the school’s status next year.

The city took no action on the other eight schools on the Persistently Lowest Achieving list.

If the schools in the restart model do not improve, the DOE could still move to close them in two years. In fact, under any of the federal intervention models, the DOE could close the schools if they do not make progress on their graduation rates or show progress in student achievement.

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