High achievers

Is your school a ‘Reward’ school? Here’s the list of schools honored for their high scores

PHOTO: Flickr
Brooklyn Technical is one of the city's prestigious specialized high schools.

More than 60 New York City schools have earned “Reward” status from the state education department for their high test scores or for making strides towards their academic goals.

Schools on the list had to land in the top 20 percent of schools statewide based on their math and English state test scores during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years, or be among the top 10 percent of schools based on score growth in 2016-17. High schools must have graduation rates above 80 percent to meet the high-achievement mark, or above 60 percent to qualify as “high progress.”

The schools also had to have at least 95 percent of all student groups take the state tests — a challenge for schools where many families boycotted the exams — and could not have unacceptably large gaps” in achievement between students that belong to historically underperforming groups, such as low-income students, and their peers.

In the past, some Reward schools received federal grants, but that has ended under the new federal education law.

“It’s truly impressive that so many of this year’s Reward Schools were able to maintain the designation for three years in a row,” Commissioner Elia said. “All of these schools serve as models to others in the state to inspire them to achieve a high level of accomplishment and improvement.”

Many of the schools are familiar names on top-performer lists.

Several have selective admissions, allowing them to choose students based on their prior grades or test scores. A few — including Stuyvesant High School and Staten Island Technical High School — are “specialized schools” that admit students solely based on their scores on an entrance exam, which critics say has the effect of excluding many students of color.

This is the last year of the Reward designation, which was a feature of the previous federal education law. Under the new law, New York plans to identify “Recognition” schools, based on “high achievement or rapid improvement,” according to state officials. The exact method for identifying those schools is still being worked out.

Here is this year’s Reward schools:

New York City (64 school)

  • Academy of Finance and Enterprise
  • All City Leadership Secondary School
  • Baccalaureate School for Global Education
  • Ballet Tech/NYC PS for Dance
  • Baruch College Campus High School
  • Bronx High School of Science
  • Brooklyn College Academy
  • Brooklyn School of Inquiry
  • Brooklyn Tech High School
  • East Side Elementary – PS 267
  • East Side Middle School
  • Eleanor Roosevelt High School
  • Fiorello H LaGuardia High School
  • High School for Dual Language and Asian Studies
  • High School of American Studies at Lehman College
  • Leon M Goldstein High School for the Sciences
  • Manhattan Center-Science and Math
  • Manhattan Village Academy
  • Millennium Brooklyn High School
  • Millennium High School
  • MS 243 Center School
  • MS 255 Salk School of Science
  • MS 358
  • New Explorations Science, Technology and Math
  • NYC Lab High School for Collaborative Studies
  • NYC Museum School
  • PS 101 – The Verrazano
  • PS 11 Purvis J Behan
  • PS 110 Florence Nightingale
  • PS 130 Hernando De Soto
  • PS 134
  • PS 150
  • PS 163 Alfred E Smith
  • PS 173 Fresh Meadows
  • PS 184 Shuang Wen
  • PS 195 Manhattan Beach
  • PS 198 Isador E Ida Straus
  • PS 199 Jessie Isador Straus
  • PS 2 Alfred Zimberg
  • PS 212 Midtown West
  • PS 213 The Carl Ullman School
  • PS 247
  • PS 249 – The Caton
  • PS 25 Eubie Blake School
  • PS 26 Jesse Owens
  • PS 26 Rufus King
  • PS 28 – The Warren Prep Academy
  • PS 35 The Clove Valley School
  • PS 39 Henry Bristow
  • PS 397 Foster-Laurie
  • PS 41 Greenwich Village
  • PS 42 Benjamin Altman
  • PS 77 Lower Lab School
  • PS 89
  • PS 96
  • Queens College School for Math, Science and Technology
  • Queens Gateway to Health Science Secondary School
  • Queens High School Science at York College
  • Special Music School
  • Staten Island Tech High School
  • Stuyvesant High School
  • Tag Young Scholars
  • The Academy of Talented Scholars
  • Townsend Harris High School

Rest of the state (73 schools)

  • Akron High School
  • Amherst Central High School
  • Ardsley High School
  • Bayport-Blue Point High School
  • Bethpage Senior High School
  • Briarcliff High School
  • Brighton High School
  • Bronxville Elementary School
  • Caledonia-Mumford High School
  • Clarkstown South Senior High School
  • Clinton Senior High School
  • Colonial School
  • Columbia High School
  • Croton-Harmon High School
  • Dobbs Ferry High School
  • Earl L Vandermeulen High School
  • East Aurora High School
  • Eastchester Senior High School
  • Fayetteville-Manlius Senior High School
  • Garden City High School
  • Great Neck South High School
  • Haldane High School
  • Half Hollow Hills High School East
  • Half Hollow Hills High School West
  • Harborfields High School
  • Harrison High School
  • Hastings High School
  • Herricks High School
  • Honeoye Falls-Lima Senior High School
  • Iroquois Senior High School
  • Irvington High School
  • Jamesville-Dewitt High School
  • Jericho Senior High School
  • John F Kennedy High School
  • Keene Central School
  • Lansing High School
  • Locust Valley High School
  • Lynbrook Senior High School
  • Maine-Endwell Senior High School
  • Manhasset Secondary School
  • Maple Hill High School
  • Mt Sinai High School
  • Murray Avenue School
  • Nanuet Senior High School
  • New Hartford Senior High School
  • North Shore Senior High School
  • Owego Free Academy
  • Pelham Memorial High School
  • Penfield Senior High School
  • Pittsford-Mendon High School
  • Plainview-Old Bethpage/JFK High School
  • Pleasantville High School
  • Rebecca Turner Elementary School
  • Rhinebeck Senior High School
  • Ripley Central School
  • Roslyn High School
  • Rush-Henrietta Senior High School
  • Rye Neck Senior High School
  • Sayville High School
  • Shaker High School
  • Skaneateles Senior High School
  • Smithtown High School-West
  • Somers Senior High School
  • South Side High School
  • Spackenkill High School
  • Syosset Senior High School
  • Todd Elementary School
  • Vestal Senior High School
  • W Tresper Clarke High School
  • Walter Panas High School
  • Wantagh Senior High School
  • Williamsville East High School
  • Yorktown High School

Charter schools (18 schools)

  • Academy of The City Charter School
  • Achievement First Apollo Charter
  • Achievement First Bushwick Charter
  • Beginning with Children Charter II
  • Bronx Charter School Better Learning
  • Hellenic Classical Charter School
  • Icahn Charter School 2
  • Icahn Charter School 3
  • Icahn Charter School 5
  • Icahn Charter School 6
  • Imagine Me Leadership Charter School
  • Rochdale Early Advantage Charter School
  • South Bronx Classical Charter School
  • Success Academy Charter School – Bronx 2
  • Success Academy Charter School – Cobble Hill
  • Success Academy Charter School – Harlem 2
  • Success Academy Charter School – Harlem 4
  • Success Academy Charter School – Williamsburg

Vision

Lawmakers pledge to ‘put some legs’ to new Colorado education plan

PHOTO: Erica Meltzer/Chalkbeat
Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes stressed that a new education blueprint respects local control, as state Rep. Bob Ranking, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, and Gov. John Hickenlooper look on.

With just a few weeks left in office, Gov. John Hickenlooper unveiled an educational blueprint for Colorado that he hopes his successor, governor-elect Jared Polis, will take to heart.

The proposals range from increasing teacher pay and making training opportunities more relevant to the classroom to forging partnerships between business and education. They urge policy makers to build on ideas that have already worked at the school or district level. They also suggest revamping the school finance formula, a challenging task that has eluded lawmakers so far.

The legislators who served on the Education Leadership Council that wrote “The State of Education” praised the final product and promised it wouldn’t languish on a shelf. State Sen. Nancy Todd, an Aurora Democrat and former teacher who will chair the Senate Education Committee, said she was committed to “put some legs on it.”

State Rep. Bob Rankin, a Republican from Carbondale who served as co-chair of the Education Leadership Council with Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes, said that a common refrain during his years in the legislature has been that the state lacks a broad vision for education. That’s made it difficult to move forward on thorny questions.

“The State of Education” provides that vision, Rankin said, and can serve as an “anchor” for lawmakers drafting bills and district leaders looking for new ideas. It’s also a way to show the public how Colorado could be a national leader in education, starting in preschool and continuing all the way through retraining for workers changing careers, he said.

Anthes stressed that the report is not a new set of mandates for school districts and that the plan respects Colorado’s principle of local control.

“We recognize that local context matters,” the report summary reads. ”While the subcommittees came to consensus on the principle and strategies for their components of this plan, we know that not every improvement strategy is right for every community.”

Even as the plan lays out ways to prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow, it also highlights the state’s acute need for many of those students to choose careers in education. Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, who was heavily involved in the project, noted that the “talent pipeline” for early childhood teachers in particular needs to be larger and that pay and opportunities for advancement will have to increase if more workers are to enter and stay in the profession.

The report calls for higher base compensation for teachers, for financial incentives like loan forgiveness and paid student teaching, and for evaluating and improving the working conditions in “hard-to-staff” schools.

It also calls for maintaining a high bar through teacher licensing and for alternative certification programs — used by many to enter teaching as a second career or after majoring in something other than education — to have equivalent standards.

At the same time, the report said the state should monitor licensure policies that may disproportionately discourage teachers of color as Colorado seeks to have a teacher workforce that looks more like the students it serves.

In contrast to earlier pushes for school improvement that focused on test-based accountability for schools and teachers, this report frequently mentions flexibility, collaboration, support, respect, and empowering educators.

The report calls for schools to provide a greater diversity of learning experiences for students, to be more flexible in where learning occurs, and to pay more attention to the challenges students face outside the classroom. It calls for deeper exploration of the community schools model, which involves greater collaboration between parents and teachers and a wide range of services not just for students but also for parents and younger siblings.  

“The State of Education” was developed by the Educational Leadership Council, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, educators, business and community leaders, and heads of state agencies convened by Hickenlooper in 2017. Members used input from more than 6,000 people who took an online survey about their education priorities, some 500 people who attended more than 70 roundtable discussions, and 100 people who served on four subcommittees.

Lawmakers will be weighing these ideas without a major new revenue source after the failure of the Amendment 73 school tax increase. Polis campaigned on a platform that included funding full-day kindergarten and significantly expanding access to preschool, while some lawmakers have suggested special education needs more attention.

Rankin said the state budget has money for targeted programs — Hickenlooper’s proposed 2019-20 budget already includes $10 million to fund ideas developed by the Education Leadership Council — but he also stressed that districts and local communities don’t need to wait for the state to pursue the ideas in the report.

“There is significant money going into education even after the failure of Amendment 73,” said Rankin, who also serves on the Joint Budget Committee. “There’s always room for new initiatives, whether they happen out in rural Colorado or in Denver Public Schools. I think it’s going to be up the districts themselves within their budgets to take up some of these priorities.”

Members of the incoming Polis administration have been briefed on the plan, and Hickenlooper said he hopes the plan will prove useful. A spokesperson for Polis declined to comment on the report.

Hickenlooper said providing all students with a good education is essential to maintaining Colorado’s strong economy.

“We will not stay No. 1 if we do not invest in our kids,” he said.

Read the full report here.

growing enrollment

Denver Green School is the district’s pick for a new middle school in growing Stapleton

PHOTO: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post
Workmen frame the walls in new affordable housing units in Stapleton in August 2018.

To serve a growing number of middle school students in the family-focused northeast Denver neighborhood of Stapleton, district administrators have recommended opening a middle school replicating the popular Denver Green School.

The seven-member Denver school board is set to vote on the recommendation Thursday night. Should the board approve it as expected, a second location of Denver Green School would open next fall on a shared campus north of I-70 in the area of the neighborhood known as Northfield. The campus is already home to Inspire Elementary School.

Enrollment in Stapleton schools is expected to increase as new home construction brings more families to the area. The new middle school would start with sixth grade next year and add a grade each year. The district has requested the school eventually be able to serve as many as 600 students.

A committee of parents, community members, and district employees reviewed applications from three schools interested in filling the district’s need for a new middle school. Committee members said they chose Denver Green School because of its stellar academic track record; its success with serving a diverse student population, including students with disabilities; and the fact that the person who would be its principal is an experienced leader.

Denver Green School is rated “blue,” the highest district rating. The original Denver Green School is a K-8 but the Stapleton school would be solely a middle school.

High Tech Elementary School in Stapleton also applied to fill the need by adding middle school grades. The third applicant was Beacon Network Schools, which already has two middle schools in Denver.

All three applicants are district-run schools, not charter schools. Denver Green School is part of Denver Public Schools’ first “innovation zone.” Being in a zone gives Denver Green School more autonomy over its budget and operations than a regular district-run school has.

The new Denver Green School would be one of six middle schools that families who live in the Stapleton, Northfield, and Park Hill neighborhoods can choose from.

Thursday’s vote will bring to a close a process the district calls the “call for new quality schools.” Instead of simply building and operating new schools, Denver Public Schools puts out a request for proposals, inviting anyone with an idea for a new school to apply. The district then facilitates a competitive selection process. The school that’s chosen gets to open in a district building — a prize in a city where school real estate is at a premium.

In this case, some Stapleton parents were disappointed that the district’s most requested middle school, McAuliffe International, didn’t apply. McAuliffe already has one replication — McAuliffe Manual Middle School — and Principal Kurt Dennis said the timing was not right for another.

“We have several excellent leaders in our pipeline that would love to open a new school, but the timing didn’t work for them in terms of where they are both in their careers and with their families,” Dennis wrote in an email to Chalkbeat. “If opportunities were to open up in the future, we would be interested, but not for the fall of 2019.”