The city is planning to close more than a dozen failing schools. Most are part of the de Blasio administration’s Renewal program for struggling schools and haven’t shown enough improvement in the past three years.
Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said a big hurdle for many of the closing schools was getting their students to show up, and she thinks the city has to do a better job getting parents involved.
“Parent engagement is making sure your child gets up in the morning and goes to school every single day,” Fariña told the press Monday. “The one thing that we still need to do more work on is figuring out why we have the chronic absenteeism. It’s a national epidemic.”
The New York City Department of Education announced that nine Renewal schools are slated to close before the 2018-2019 academic year; five schools will be merged and one which will lose its middle school grades. In addition, the city will close five schools that aren’t in the program.
The Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conversation in the Bronx, where a student was fatally stabbed in September, is among the five non-Renewal schools getting the axe next year.
Fariña said only about five students had applied to the Wildlife Conservation School since the stabbing.
“So when you start looking at things like that, the message is really written for you,” she said.
The chancellor added that children and teachers there need a fresh start and that she hoped that the closure would prompt new opportunities.
In a statement, the United Federations of Teachers’ president said recruiting and retaining teachers was a big part of the problem.
“No matter how serious the challenges, if the leadership of a school is good, teachers will stay. If it isn’t, they leave,” Michael Mulgrew wrote in a statement. “The schools on this list are generally characterized by high staff turnover, averaging nearly 60 percent over four years and as high as 83 percent.”
Families enrolled in one of the targeted schools should have started receiving calls and letters Monday. They’re also being promised help with finding a new school for the fall.
The city will seek public input and then vote on all the proposed closures in February.
Here’s the complete list of closures.
Nine Renewal Schools proposed for closure:
- PS 050 Vito Marcantonio (04M050)
- Coalition School for Social Change (04M409)
- High School for Health Careers and Sciences (06M468)
- New Explorers High School (07X547)
- Urban Science Academy (09X325)
- PS 92 Bronx School (12X092)
- Brooklyn Collegiate: A College Board School (23K493)
- PS/MS 42 R. Vernam (27Q042)
- MS 53 Brian Piccolo (27Q053)
Five non-Renewal schools proposed for closure:
- KAPPA IV (05M302)
- Academy for Social Action (05M367)
- Felisa Rincon de Gautier Institute (08X519)
- Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation (12X372)
- Eubie Blake School (16K025)
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