City adds high schools, charter schools to possible closure list

Three schools that are getting millions of dollars in federal aid are among 27 schools newly added to the list of schools that could be closed.

Department of Education officials announced today that they had added 17 high schools, six charter schools, and the middle school grades of four secondary schools to the list of schools they are considering closing. The schools join 20 elementary and middle schools where the city began “early engagement” meetings in September about .

The high school additions include three schools receiving federal “transformation” funding; troubled Lehman High School, which handed out the most suspensions in the city by far; and most schools that got F’s on this year’s progress reports. Seven of the schools are in the Bronx, where large high schools say they are straining to serve high numbers of needy students; five in Manhattan; three in Brooklyn; and two in Queens.

Department officials compiled the shortlist by looking at schools’ progress report grades, their Quality Reviews, the results of state evaluations, and the efforts they’ve already undertaken to improve. But in holding early engagement meetings, the department hopes to learn why the schools are struggling and whether other efforts could help them, according to Marc Sternberg, the DOE deputy chancellor in charge of school closures.

Echoing an argument that advocacy groups are pushing at schools on the potential closure list, teachers union president Michael Mulgrew said he thought the department was not entering the engagement meetings in good faith.

“The ‘engagement’ process should mean a real attempt by Tweed to help these struggling schools improve,” Mulgrew said in a statement. “But as history as shown, when it comes to sitting on their hands and watching schools fail, this administration has always gotten straight A’s.”

Virtually all of the schools that were considered so low-performing that they qualified for federal aid escaped the chopping block. Of the 26 high schools undergoing “transformation” and “restart” processes, just three landed on the early warning list.
One of those schools, Washington Irving High School, has long posted one of the lowest graduation rates in the city but remained open even as schools who graduated more students were shuttered. This year, reports emerged that the school was handing out credits to students who had not passed their classes. The other two schools receiving “transformation” funding that could close are Lehman and Grace Dodge Career and Technical Education High School, both in the Bronx.

Ten of the 14 schools that got failing grades on this year’s progress report are on the list. Boys & Girls High School, Dewitt Clinton High School, Dreamyard Preparatory Academy, and Gotham Professional Arts Academy all got F’s but escaped the ax.

The charter schools include two — Academic Leadership Charter School and Williamsburg Charter High School — that are currently on probation for major management violations and two with low test scores whose charters are up for renewal.

High schools that could be closed:

Academy For Scholarship And Entrepreneurship: A College Board School (Bronx) Cypress Hills Collegiate Preparatory School (Queens) Freedom Academy High School (Brooklyn) Fordham Leadership Academy For Business and Technology (Bronx) Gateway School For Environmental Research and Technology (Bronx) Grace Dodge Career And Technical Education High School (Bronx) Herbert H. Lehman High School (Bronx) High School Of Graphic Communication Arts (Manhattan) International Arts Business School (Brooklyn) Jane Addams High School For Academic Careers (Bronx) Juan Morel Campos Secondary School (Brooklyn) Law, Government And Community Service High School (Queens) Legacy School For Integrated Studies (Manhattan) Manhattan Theatre Lab High School (Manhattan) Samuel Gompers Career And Technical Education High School (Bronx) Wadleigh Secondary School For Performing Arts (Manhattan) Washington Irving High School (Manhattan)

Middle school grades of secondary schools:

Academy Of Business And Community Development (Brooklyn) Frederick Douglass Academy II Secondary School (Manhattan) Frederick Douglass Academy IV Secondary School (Brooklyn) Brooklyn Collegiate: A College Board School (Brooklyn)

Charter schools:

Academic Leadership Charter School (Bronx) Bronx Academy of Promise (Bronx) Future Leaders Institute Charter School (Manhattan) Opportunity Charter School (Manhattan) Peninsula Preparatory Academy (Queens) Williamsburg Charter High School (Brooklyn)