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

defensor escolar

Memphis parent advocacy group trains first Spanish-speaking cohort

PHOTO: Caroline Bauman
Manuela Martinez (center left) and Lidia Sauceda (center right) are among 19 parents in the first Spanish-speaking class of Memphis Lift’s Public Advocate Fellowship.

Manuela Martinez doesn’t want Spanish-speaking families to get lost in the fast-changing education landscape in Memphis as the city’s Hispanic population continues to grow.

The mother of two students is among 19 parents in the first Spanish-speaking class of Memphis Lift’s Public Advocate Fellowship, a program that trains parents on local education issues.

“We want to be more informed,” said Martinez, whose children attend Shelby County Schools. “I didn’t know I had much of voice or could change things at my child’s school. But I’m learning a lot about schools in Memphis, and how I can be a bigger part.”

More than 200 Memphians have gone through the 10-week fellowship program since the parent advocacy group launched two years ago. The vast majority have been African-Americans.

The first Spanish-speaking cohort is completing a five-week program this month and marks a concerted effort to bridge racial barriers, said Sarah Carpenter, the organization’s executive director.

“Our mission is to make the powerless parent powerful …,” she said.

The city’s mostly black public schools have experienced a steady growth in Hispanic students since 1992 when only 286 attended the former Memphis City Schools. In 2015, the consolidated Shelby County Schools had 13,816 Hispanic children and teens, or 12.3 percent of the student population.

Lidia Sauceda came to Memphis from Mexico as a child; now she has two children who attend Shelby County Schools. Through Memphis Lift, she is learning about how to navigate Tennessee’s largest district in behalf of her family.

PHOTO: Caroline Bauman
Hispanic parents attend a training with the Memphis Lift fellowship program.

“Latinos are afraid of talking, of standing up,” Sauceda said. “They’re so afraid they’re not going to be heard because of their legal status. But I will recommend this (fellowship) to parents. How do we want our kids to have a better education if we can’t dedicate time?”

The training includes lessons on local school options, how to speak publicly at a school board meeting, and how to advocate for your children if you believe they are being treated unfairly.

The first fellowship was led by Ian Buchanan, former director of community partnership for the state-run Achievement School District. Now the program is taught in-house, and the Spanish-speaking class is being led this month by Carmelita Hernandez, an alumna.

“No matter what language we speak, we want a high-quality education for our kids just like any other parent,” Hernandez said. “A good education leads to better opportunities.”

Stopping summer slide

On National Summer Learning Day, Memphis takes stock of programs for kids

PHOTO: Helen Carefoot
Torrence Echols, a rising first-grader in Memphis, builds a tower with giant legos at the Benjamin L. Hooks Library on National Summer Learning Day.

When it comes to summer learning, it’s been a better year for Memphis, where a range of new programs have helped to stem learning loss that hits hard in communities with a high number of low-income students.

On Thursday, Mayor Jim Strickland celebrated that work in conjunction with National Summer Learning Day and against the backdrop of the children’s reading room of the city’s main library.

He estimated that 10,000 children and teens are being reached this summer through learning programs spearheaded through Shelby County Schools, Literacy Mid-South, Memphis Public Libraries, churches and nonprofit organizations across the community.

That’s a record-breaking number, Strickland says, in a city with a lot of students struggling to meet state and local reading targets.

Summer learning loss, also known as summer slide, is the tendency for students to lose some of the knowledge and skills they gained during the school year. It’s a large contributor to the achievement gap, since children from low-income families usually don’t get the same summer enrichment opportunities as their more affluent peers. Compounded year after year, the gap widens to the point that, by fifth grade, many students can be up to three years behind in math and reading.

But this summer for the first time, Shelby County Schools offered summer learning academies across the city for students most in need of intervention. And Memphis also received a slice of an $8.5 million state grant to provide summer literacy camps at nine Memphis schools through Tennessee’s Read to be Ready initiative.

Literacy Mid-South used Thursday’s event to encourage Memphians to “drop everything and read!”

The nonprofit, which is providing resources this summer through about 15 organizations in Greater Memphis, is challenging students to log 1,400 minutes of summertime reading, an amount that research shows can mitigate learning loss and even increase test scores.

Reading is a problem for many students in Memphis and across Tennessee. Less than a third of third-graders in Shelby County Schools read on grade level, and the district is working to boost that rate to 90 percent by 2025 under its Destination 2025 plan.

The city of Memphis, which does not fund local schools, has made Memphis Public Libraries the focal point of its education work. This summer, the library is offering programs on everything from STEM and robotics to art and test prep.

Parents are a critical component, helping their kids to take advantage of books, programs and services that counter the doldrums of summer learning.

Soon after the mayor left the Benjamin L. Hooks Library on Thursday, Tammy Echols arrived with her son, Torrence, a rising first-grader at Levi Elementary School. Echols said they visit regularly to read books and do computer and math games.

“We always do a lot of reading and we’re working on learning sight words,” Echols said as she watched her son build a tower out of giant Lego blocks. “Torrence is a learning child and it’s easy to forget what you just learned if you’re not constantly reinforcing.”

You can find summer learning resources for families from the National Summer Learning Association.