NYC to open 9 new schools this fall. Here’s what to know.

A man wearing a dark suit stands at a podium while many people stand behind him. There is an American flag and two other flags in the background.
New York City schools Chancellor David Banks announced nine new schools will open this fall. Here, he kicks Off 2023 Community & Citywide Education Council Elections at Tweed Courthouse on Monday, January 9, 2023. (Christian Williams Fernandez / New York City Public Schools)

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Nine new schools will open this fall in New York City, aiming to provide families with more choices on where they enroll their children, schools Chancellor David Banks said Thursday.

The new schools will offer a mix of elementary, middle, and high school programs across three of the city’s boroughs. They include a Brooklyn outpost of the successful Bard Early College High School, a Queens high school for careers in film and television, a project-based elementary school modeled on the progressive Brooklyn New School, and the city’s first Montessori-inspired public school.

Banks said the new schools are a way to address the “serious hemorrhaging” of students in recent years, with enrollment falling by more than 100,000 students, despite ticking back up slightly last year.

“Parents and families are looking for a wide range of special schools that are appealing to them, and that’s what we’re delivering,” he said. “My goal here … is to provide school experiences that will draw more families to our schools.”

But the announcement comes as officials grapple with myriad complex, interlocking issues — expiring federal relief funds, dwindling enrollment in some of the city’s smallest schools, and a state law mandating smaller class sizes that will demand significant resources to implement.

While celebrating the launch of the new schools, Education Department officials said they were designed to fulfill the needs and desires of local communities.

“These nine schools really push the boundaries of traditional education models,” said Shawn Rux, senior executive director of the Education Department’s Office of New School Development and Design. “They are cutting edge. They are unique. And they are directly responsive to what we know and continue to hear from our students and communities about what they need.”

Five of the schools will be housed in new buildings that will open this fall, with another joining a school on a site that opened last September, said Nina Kubota, president of the NYC School Construction Authority. It’s part of a total 24 new buildings opening for the city’s schools this year, adding 11,000 seats citywide, she added.

The city had proposed more than $7 billion to expand school capacity and fund the construction of more than 80 buildings, according to the Education Department’s 2020-24 capital plan. The latest capital plan calls for nearly $5 billion to address capacity issues, including class sizes, overcrowding, and “infusing fresh resources into schools, communities, and neighborhoods.”

The development of the new schools in some ways runs counter to the recommendations of a working group tasked with advising New York City’s public schools on complying with the state law capping class sizes. In December, that group unveiled its 55-page report, which advised the city against opening new schools in shared buildings — instead suggesting that resources be directed to existing, underutilized schools to provide new programs and services.

In recent years, shrinking enrollment at some schools has pushed the city to consolidate, merging communities to shield them from the effects of their dwindling size.

On Thursday, First Deputy Chancellor Dan Weisberg said the department was working to revamp existing schools and introduce new programming, in addition to its development of new schools.

“It isn’t just about new schools, but they’re an important piece of the puzzle,” he said. “All of this has to happen within the context of the law around class size. We’re going to have to comply, and believe me, we are keenly focused on how we are going to do that.”

Here’s a look at the nine new schools coming to the city this fall:

Motion Picture Technical High School, Queens

Motion Picture Technical High School in Sunnyside will offer ninth-12th grade students a chance to explore potential careers in the film and television industry. The school will provide students with immersive training in video production, post-production, and production-design — aiming to broaden access to the industry and empower diverse filmmakers, according to the city’s Education Department.

Bard High School Early College, Brooklyn

Bard Early College is poised to launch a new campus in East New York, offering families in the borough access to the network of coveted public high schools that allow students to earn an associate degree by the time they graduate.

The Bard model allows students to take courses with college instructors, and engage in small, writing- and discussion-based seminars. It has highly sought-after sites in Manhattan and Queens with a new site in the Bronx that opened in September.

M.S. 644, the Bronx

M.S. 644 will offer a middle school education focused on debate, multilingualism, and experiential learning in the south Bronx. The school will push students to question and challenge what they learn.

M.S. 428, Brooklyn

M.S. 428 in Sunset Park will offer middle school students a dual language program in both Chinese and Spanish, according to the city’s Education Department.

M.S. 407, Brooklyn

M.S. 407 will offer a medical and STEAM focused middle school experience in District 20, allowing students to immerse themselves in curriculum across disciplines.

P.S. 413, Brooklyn

P.S. 413 will offer an inclusive learning community for elementary students in Bay Ridge, with students “on track to enrich their local and global communities in different careers, including law and medicine,” according to the city’s Education Department.

P.S. 331, Brooklyn

P.S. 331 will offer elementary students in Bay Ridge an education with an emphasis on “empowering graduates with a profound understanding of entrepreneurial pathways, sensible financial knowledge, and proficiency in strong communication and technology skills with a dedicated focus on a world language,” according to promotional materials.

P.S. 456, Brooklyn

P.S. 456 in Downtown Brooklyn will follow the model of the Brooklyn New School, offering “inquiry-based curriculum centering on exploration, problem-solving, and becoming change agents,” according to the city’s Education Department.

P.S. 482 Albee Square Montessori Public School,Brooklyn

P.S. 482 Albee Square Montessori Public School in Downtown Brooklyn is the first Montessori-inspired public school in the city, according to the city’s Education Department. It is designed to provide an equitable learning experience, allowing children to explore subjects in multi-age classrooms.

Julian Shen-Berro is a reporter covering New York City. Contact him at jshen-berro@chalkbeat.org.

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