New York

Selective film high school among new schools opening in Sept.

A selective high school run by an organization called Ghetto Film School and a high school that’s remarkable because its building is freestanding, rather than shared with other schools, are set to open this fall, the Department of Education announced today.

The DOE launched its annual new schools announcement blitz today with news about six schools, including the two high schools, that will open in September. They are among 22 schools citywide that will move into new or expanded buildings over the summer. The 14,000 new school seats that are being added represent “the full impact” of the current capital plan, according to DOE officials. (The proposal for the next five-year capital plan doesn’t call for as much building.)

Of particular note is Cinema High School in the Bronx, which will be run in partnership with Ghetto Film School, a program that has for years introduced Bronx teens to film production. The school will admit students selectively; it’s among the roster of new selective schools Mayor Bloomberg promised in 2005.

In some parts of the city, new schools are scheduled to open to replace others that are being phased out because of poor performance. Those new schools have not yet been announced. At least the high schools that will open in September will be revealed by the end of next week; they will then try to woo applicants at a new schools fair.

The DOE’s press release and the full list of schools announced today is after the jump.

CHANCELLOR KLEIN ANNOUNCES TWENTY-TWO NEWLY CONSTRUCTED SCHOOL BUILDINGS TO OPEN IN SEPTEMBER 2009

New Buildings Will House 26 Schools, Including A New Selective School in the Bronx

14,000 New Seats To Be Created Across the Five Boroughs

Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today announced that 26 schools will open in 22 newly constructed school buildings at the start of the 2009-10 school year. The 26 schools include six schools opening for the first time and 20 schools gaining annexes or moving out of antiquated or temporary buildings. Among the new schools are a selective school in the Bronx and the first high school in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. In all, 14,000 new seats will be created Citywide.

“Under the Mayor’s Capital Plan, we are creating outstanding new spaces for brand new schools, schools in temporary sites, and schools in older buildings,” Chancellor Klein said. “The new schools and high-quality existing schools in these spaces will provide great choices for more families in neighborhoods in New York City.”

“With more than 14,000 seats opening this year, we’re now beginning to see the full impact of the City’s historic $13.1 billion Capital Plan,” Deputy Chancellor for Finance and Administration Kathleen Grimm said. “Between 2009 and 2012, we’ll add more than 34,000 new seats across the City. These new seats will alleviate pockets of overcrowding, and will help to ensure that all students are going to school in facilities designed to best help them succeed.”

“In September, we will proudly open 22 beautiful new school facilities,” School Construction Authority President Sharon Greenberger said. “These buildings include 14 entirely new facilities, plus eight additions or annexes featuring state-of-the-art classrooms, libraries, and science labs. These new buildings will help schools provide students with the resources they need for an outstanding education.”

Six of the schools opening in newly constructed buildings next year will be opening for the first time. These include the Cinema School, the fifth new selective school built by Mayor Bloomberg. In 2005 Mayor Bloomberg promised to create seven such schools; two more selective schools are slated to open over the next two years. Sunset Park High School, a new large Brooklyn high school, will also open. Sunset Park High School will be divided into three small learning communities, providing students with a personalized learning environment within the context of the larger high school. Existing schools moving into new buildings include PS 65, known as “the Little Red School House,” which will move from two different locations into a single building thanks to a close partnership between the DOE and the District 19 community.

“I am very pleased with today’s announcement, and proud that the Cinema School will be located in the Bronx,” Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr. said. “The school will provide students with an ambitious full-time film curriculum while supporting a rigorous academic education. These are the types of innovative new school options that our students and families want and deserve.”

The facilities opening in September 2009 are being constructed as part of the Department of Education’s historic $13.1 billion 2005-2009 Capital Plan, which is set to create more than 55,000 new school seats. In November 2008, the Department of Education released its proposal for the 2010-2014 Capital Plan, which will add 25,000 more seats across the City. After meeting with and collecting feedback from Community Education Councils across the City, the Department of Education will present a revised Capital Plan to the Panel for Educational Policy in February.

New schools opening in newly-constructed facilities will begin with one or two grades and phase in one grade level at a time. Existing schools moving from temporary locations will be able to expand to their fully-planned size. More information about the schools moving into new buildings in 2009 can be found at www.nyc.gov/schools/Facilities/FacilitiesSitePlanning/.

Schools Located in Buildings Opening for September 2009

Manhattan
•    26 Broadway Building
o    Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women, HS, opened 2005, moving from a temporary location

Bronx
•    Jonas Bronck Building @ East Fordham Road
o    Jonas Bronck Academy, HS, opened 2005, moving from a temporary location

•    James Monroe HS Annex
o    The Cinema School, a new selective high school opening in September 2009
o    Mott Hall V, MS, District 12, opened 2005, moving from a temporary location

•    Bronx Studio School Building
o    Bronx Studio School for Writers and Artists, an Urban Assembly School, MS/HS, opened 2004, moving from a temporary location

•    Reverend James A. Polite Avenue School Complex
o    Peace and Diversity Academy, HS, opened 2004, moving from a temporary location
o    The Metropolitan High School, HS, opened 2005, moving from a temporary location

•    PS 169 Building
o    School program not yet determined

Brooklyn
•    Sunset Park High School Building
o    Sunset Park High School, HS, opening in September 2009
o    Building will include seats for a District 75 program

•    Waverly Avenue Building
o    Achievement First Endeavor Charter School, ES/MS, opened 2006, moving from a temporary location into a new building funded through a charter partnership

•    PS/IS 366 Building
o    Science and Medicine Middle School, MS, District 18, opening in September 2009
o    Second school program not yet determined

•    696 Jamaica Avenue Building
o    PS 65 “The Little Red School House”, ES, District 19, moving from two separate locations into one building
o    Building will include seats for a District 75 program

•    PS/IS 237 Building
o    The Brooklyn School of Inquiry, ES/MS, District 20, opening in September 2009
o    The Academy of Talented Scholars, ES, District 20, opening in September 2009
o    Building will include seats for a District 75 program

•     New Utrecht High School Addition
o    New Utrecht High School, HS, addition to an existing facility

•    PS 229 Addition
o    PS 229, preK-6, District 20, addition to an existing facility

Queens
•    Frank Sinatra High School Building
o    Frank Sinatra High School, HS, moving from a temporary location

•    PS 128 Building
o    PS 128, ES/MS, District 24, demolition of the existing facility and construction of a new expanded facility
o    Building will include seats for a District 75 program

•    PS 49 Addition
o    PS 49, ES/MS, District 24, addition to an existing facility

•    PS 102 Addition
o    PS 102, ES/MS, District 24, addition to an existing facility

•    PS 113 Addition
o    PS 113, ES/MS, District 24, addition to an existing facility

•    St. Bartholomew School Annex
o    School program not yet determined

•    PS 188 Annex
o    PS 188, ES, District 26, annex to an existing facility

•    PS 78 Annex
o    PS 78, ES, District 30, annex to an existing facility

Staten Island
•    PS/IS 861 Building
o    The Staten Island School of Civic Leadership, ES/MS, District 31, new school
o    Building will include seats for a District 75 program

Behind the brawl

Three things to know about the Tennessee school behind this week’s graduation brawl

PHOTO: Arlington Community Schools
Arlington High School is a 2,000-plus-student school in suburban Shelby County in southwest Tennessee.

Arlington High School is considered the crown jewel of a 3-year-old district in suburban Shelby County, even as its school community deals with the unwelcome attention of several viral videos showing a fight that broke out among adults attending its graduation ceremony.

The brawl, which reportedly began with a dispute over saved seats, detracted from Tuesday’s pomp and circumstance and the more than $30 million in scholarships earned by the school’s Class of 2017. No students were involved.

“It was unfortunate that a couple of adults in the audience exhibited the behavior they did prior to the ceremony beginning and thus has caused a distraction from the celebration of our students’ accomplishments,” Arlington Community Schools Superintendent Tammy Mason said in a statement.

Here are three things to know about the 13-year-old school in northwest Shelby County.

With more than 2,000 students, Arlington is one of the largest high schools in Shelby County and is part of a relatively new district.

It’s the pride of a suburban municipality that is one of six that seceded from Shelby County Schools in 2014 following the merger of the city and county districts the year before. (School district secessions are a national trend, usually of predominantly white communities leaving predominantly black urban school systems.) More than 70 percent of Arlington’s students are white, and 6 percent are considered economically disadvantaged — in stark contrast to the Memphis district where less than 8 percent are white, and almost 60 percent are considered economically disadvantaged.

The school’s graduation rate is high … and climbing.

Last year, after adding interventions for struggling students, the school’s graduation rate jumped a full point to more than 96 percent. Its students taking the ACT college entrance exam scored an average composite of 22.5 out of a possible 36, higher than the state average of 19.9. But only a fifth scored proficient or advanced in math and a third in English language arts during 2015-16, the last school year for which scores are available and a transition year for Tennessee under a new test.

PHOTO: Caroline Bauman
Education Commissioner Candice McQueen visits with students at Arlington High School during a 2016 tour.

The school was in the news last August when Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen visited its campus.

The commissioner spoke with students there to kick off her statewide listening tour that’s focused on ways to get students ready for college and career. McQueen highlighted the school’s extracurricular activities and students’  opportunities to intern for or shadow local professionals. She also complimented Arlington for having an engaged education community. 

poster campaign

How one Memphis student is elevating the conversation about school discipline

PHOTO: Laura Faith Kebede
Posters created by junior Janiya Douglas have amplified student voices about the culture of White Station High School in Memphis.

Now in her third year of attending a premier public high school in Memphis, Janiya Douglas says she’s observed discipline being handed out unevenly to her classmates, depending on whether they are on the college preparatory track.

PHOTO: Laura Faith Kebede
From left: Janiya Douglas and Michal Mckay are student leaders in Bridge Builders CHANGE program.

“We’re heavily divided in an academic hierarchy,” said Janiya, a junior in the optional program for high-achieving students at White Station High School. “It’s obvious students are treated differently if they are in traditional classes.”

Janiya also has observed racial disparities in how students are disciplined, and the state’s data backs that up. White Station students who are black or Hispanic are suspended at significantly higher rates than students who are white.

Frustrated by what she’s seen, Janiya took her concerns last Friday to the hallways of White Station and hung 14 posters to declare that “our school doesn’t treat everybody equally.”

By Monday morning, the posters were gone — removed by school administrators because Janiya did not get prior approval — but not before other students shared images of some of the messages on social media.

Now, Janiya is seeing some fruits of her activism, spawned by her participation in Bridge Builders CHANGE, a student leadership program offered by a local nonprofit organization.

In the last week, she’s met with Principal David Mansfield, a school counselor and a district discipline specialist to discuss her concerns. She’s encouraged that someone is listening, and hopes wider conversations will follow.

The discussions also are bringing attention to an online petition by the education justice arm of Bridge Builders calling for suspension alternatives across schools in Memphis.

White Station often is cited as one of the jewels of Shelby County Schools, a district wrought with academic challenges. The East Memphis school is partially optional, meaning some students test into the college prep program from across the county.

But Janiya and some of her classmates say they also see an academically and racially segregated school where students zoned to the traditional program are looked down upon by teachers. Those students often get harsher punishments, they say, than their optional program counterparts for the same actions.

“Our school doesn’t treat everybody equally. A lot of groups aren’t treated equally in our school system,” junior Tyra Akoto said in a quote featured on one poster.

“If we get wrong with a teacher, they’ll probably write us up. But if a white student was to do it, they’ll just play it off or something like that,” said Kelsey Brown, another junior, also quoted in the poster campaign.

A district spokeswoman did not respond to questions about disciplinary issues raised by the posters, but offered a statement about their removal from the school’s walls.

White Station is known for “enabling student voice and allowing students to express their opinions in various ways,” the statement reads. “However, there are protocols in place that must be followed before placing signs, posters, or other messages on school property. Schools administrators will always work with students to ensure they feel their voices are heard.”

PHOTO: @edj.youth/Instagram
Members of the education justice arm of the Bridge Builders CHANGE program

To create the posters, Janiya interviewed about two dozen students and had been learning about about school discipline disparities as part of the Bridge Builders CHANGE program.

State discipline data does not differentiate academic subgroups in optional schools. But white students in Shelby County Schools are more likely to be in an optional school program and less likely to be suspended. And statewide in 2014-15, black students were more than five times as likely as white students to be suspended.

White Station reflects those same disparities. About 28 percent of black boys and 19 percent of black girls were suspended that same year — significantly higher than the school’s overall suspension rate of 14 percent. About 17 percent of Hispanic boys and 7 percent of Hispanic girls were suspended. By comparison, 9 percent of white boys and 2 percent of white girls were suspended.

Shelby County Schools has been working to overhaul its disciplinary practices to move from punitive practices to a “restorative justice” approach — a transition that is not as widespread as officials would like, according to Gina True, one of four specialists implementing a behavior system called Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, or PBIS.

“The whole goal is to not get them suspended, because we want to educate them,” said True, who met this week with Janiya and several other students from Bridge Builders. “When students are cared for emotionally, they perform better academically. As counselors, that’s what we’ve been saying for years.”

Janiya acknowledges that she didn’t follow her school’s policy last week when hanging posters without permission at White Station. But she thinks her action has been a catalyst for hard conversations that need to happen. And she hopes the discussions will include more student input from her school — and across the district.

“Those most affected by the issues should always be a part of the solution,” she said.

Correction: April 10, 2017: A previous version of this story said Janiya put up 50 posters at her school. She designed 50 but actually posted only 14.