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boys and girls high school
September 27, 2016
Signs of optimism at Boys and Girls High School, but challenges lie ahead
“It’s very, very refreshing to have a dedicated principal — that’s not something we’ve had for a long time."
doing the 'impossible'
July 28, 2016
As one ‘master principal’ stumbles, others try to juggle two schools at once
One prominent "master principal" recently gave up his dual role running two schools. But a half-dozen other principals are trying to make it work.
meet the new bosses
Updated July 25, 2016
City picks new leaders for two of its most troubled high schools: Boys and Girls and Automotive
Grecian Harrison, a Bronx assistant principal, will take over Brooklyn's Boys and Girls HS. Kevin Bryant, a Brooklyn principal, will lead Automotive.
July 22, 2016
City eyes Bronx AP to take over troubled Boys and Girls High School
Education department officials are said to be considering an assistant principal from the Bronx to take over the high-profile job.
Class of 2016
June 24, 2016
Graduates bid farewell to Boys and Girls, a beloved high school with an uncertain future
Boys and Girls High School held its graduation ceremony Friday, a day after the city said the principal it had brought in to revamp the school was leaving.
June 23, 2016
Embattled principal of Boys and Girls High School is leaving, in blow to city’s turnaround effort
Michael Wiltshire is returning full-time to Medgar Evers College Preparatory School. As "master principal," he has simultaneously led that school and Boys and Girls.
June 6, 2016
City scraps divisive co-location plan for Boys and Girls, as focus shifts to leadership change
The city is withdrawing a proposal to move a high-performing Brooklyn school into the building of its long-struggling neighbor. But another fight is just beginning.
June 1, 2016
Fariña defends Michael Wiltshire, ‘master principal’ of two schools who may soon leave both
Wiltshire has recently run into challenges at Medgar Evers College Prep, where he is the subject of an ongoing city investigation, officials confirmed Wednesday.
May 31, 2016
Principal of troubled Boys and Girls High vying for Long Island job, throwing city’s plans into question
The move would be an embarrassing turn of events for top city officials who pinned their transformation plans on the principal, Michael Wiltshire.
May 25, 2016
Despite major city investment, struggling ‘Renewal’ schools shed another 6,300 students
The low-performing schools serve about 6,270 fewer students now than in 2014, as many families continue to shun them despite the city's expensive intervention.
May 20, 2016
One principal, two schools, and a high-stakes experiment gone awry
A year and a half after an unusual leadership transition at Boys and Girls High School, it’s become clear that the deal has cost the city — and students.
December 11, 2015
In latest twist, Boys and Girls principal lobbies for co-location with Medgar Evers
If anyone can engineer the unusual move, it is Principal Michael Wiltshire, who was recruited to lead Boys and Girls last year and still oversees the selective Medgar Evers.
the big picture
October 7, 2015
Will John King’s last effort to desegregate New York’s schools work?
For the first time, a grant program will allow the city to try to improve a handful of schools by convincing more affluent families to send their children there.
July 15, 2015
At two high-profile Renewal schools, rehiring process ends in dramatic staff shakeups
A majority of teachers are leaving Boys and Girls High and Automotive High, according to data released last week.
all eyes on you
June 25, 2015
De Blasio hails ‘rebirth’ at Boys and Girls HS, whose new leader has made big changes
Students say new principal Michael Wiltshire has raised expectations and added supports, but others say struggling students were pressured to leave.
By the numbers
May 28, 2015
City’s struggling schools face another annual test: enrollment
The city’s efforts to turn around nearly 100 long-struggling schools are likely to run up against enrollment roadblocks, according to an IBO analysis.
April 28, 2015
Principal of troubled Boys and Girls HS floats merger with selective Medgar Evers
The proposal follows news that the chancellor plans to combine a struggling Brooklyn middle school with a high-performing one in the same building.
April 14, 2015
Facing state scrutiny, six new ‘out-of-time’ schools must make major changes
Staffers may have to reapply for their jobs and undergo extra training at the schools, which could face sanctions if they don't quickly improve.
March 19, 2015
Amid struggling schools debate, Council members praise early changes at Boys and Girls
The City Council education committee said the city's school turnaround plan needs time to spur improvements, but one school is being lauded as an early success story.
March 10, 2015
Facing pressure to show results, de Blasio points to changes at some Renewal schools
Boys and Girls High School and other long-struggling schools have made progress in the first few months of the turnaround program, officials said.
Updated March 17, 2016
School Renewal: A newly updated guide to the city’s turnaround program for 94 schools
The stakes are high for the city's school-turnaround program, which Chalkbeat has tracked closely. Here's what's happened so far.
'Shoots of Green'
February 2, 2015
As state reviews city’s turnaround plans, Regents chief sees progress at a troubled school
Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch was impressed by what she found on a recent visit to Automotive High School, one of many struggling schools the city is under pressure from the state to improve.
January 12, 2015
Fariña names leader for school turnaround program
Chancellor Carmen Fariña has created a new office led by a longtime educator to run her turnaround program for struggling schools.
Mergers and acquisitions
November 13, 2014
Fariña: When small schools stumble, city may merge them with others
“There’s such a thing as schools that are too small, because you don’t have enough support services,” Chancellor Carmen Fariña said in November.
November 11, 2014
Report: Boys and Girls leader stands by decision to urge struggling students to transfer
The new leader of Boys and Girls High School stood by his decision to encourage struggling students to transfer out of the school during a recent…
November 7, 2014
In city-union deal, leaders and faculty at two troubled schools will reapply for their jobs
The principals and staffers at two of the city’s lowest performing schools must reapply for their jobs as part of a state-ordered overhaul of the troubled schools. The city and the teachers and principals unions agreed to the rehiring plan late Thursday.
November 6, 2014
At Boys and Girls HS, struggling students urged to transfer, sources say
Students who are unlikely to graduate on time have been urged to transfer out of Boys and Girls HS since a new principal took over, sources say. Principals at other low-performing schools have also advised lagging students to leave.
November 3, 2014
Under pressure, de Blasio set to outline plan to improve struggling schools
Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to unveil the city’s long-awaited plan to rescue more than 90 low-performing schools in a speech Monday.
The Cold Shoulder
October 26, 2014
Members of Boys and Girls HS leadership team feel shut out as city intervenes
Members of the Boys and Girls High School leadership team say the city submitted a school-improvement plan to the state and hired a new principal without alerting them, despite city regulations that require the team to be consulted.
A Hard Bargain
October 21, 2014
Incoming Boys and Girls principal gets big bonus, option to return to old school
From Oct. 2014: The veteran principal tapped to rescue troubled Boys and Girls High School will get to play a continued role at the successful school he is leaving.
In with the new
October 17, 2014
Fariña appoints new Boys and Girls principal as staffers await her turnaround plan
From Oct. 2014: Chancellor Carmen Fariña tapped the longtime leader of a Brooklyn school to take over struggling Boys and Girls High School as staffers wait for direction.
October 13, 2014
Advocates pushing city on struggling schools choose an unlikely champion
The de Blasio administration's delay in publicizing plans for the city's struggling schools has made strange bedfellows out of an advocacy group that supports school closures and a principal who for years resisted his own school's potential shuttering.
Calling it Quits
October 11, 2014
Departing leader of Boys and Girls HS: City's turnaround plan 'doomed to fail'
Bernard Gassaway, the outspoken principal of Brooklyn’s troubled Boys and Girls High School, said he is stepping down because he believes the plan the city is developing to turn around the school is “doomed to fail.”
No Late Arrivals
September 25, 2014
To stabilize two struggling schools, city will not send them new students mid-year
The city will not send any latecomer students, who often pose extra challenges, to at least two long-struggling high schools this year, officials said.
September 22, 2014
Classes have started, but some struggling schools still await clear guidance from the city
More than two weeks into the school year, principals of some of the city’s most troubled schools say they still don’t know how exactly the city plans to intervene — and that the delays will make it harder for them to turn around their schools this year.
At the Buzzer
September 3, 2014
Exclusive: City quietly launches intensive-support plan for group of troubled schools as deadline arrives
City education officials shared the basic details of their struggling-school improvement plan with principals last Thursday, exactly one week before the interventions had to begin at the start of the school year.
What's the Plan?
July 2, 2014
As deadlines loom, city gives few hints about plans for struggling schools
After six months on the job, Fariña has yet to describe how the department will prop up the city’s lowest-performing schools, even as she faces state deadlines to launch overhauls at dozens of schools.
December 6, 2013
New school to honor Mandela already easing political tensions
Just one day after Nelson Mandela died at his home in South Africa, city officials announced that a new high school will be named in his honor—and its creation appears to have won over some prominent critics of co-locating schools. The new Nelson Mandela School for Social Justice will open inside of Boys and Girls High School, the Bedford-Stuyvesant school that Mandela visited in 1990 when he was celebrated by Mayor David Dinkins and the rest of New York City. Walcott called the school "a perfect way to give testament to the man who is just admired by so many and transformed lives of so many people, and generations of people. And touched personally the people of Brooklyn as well as the people of New York City." The school's social justice theme and connection to Mandela's visit to the neighborhood have also smoothed tensions that have been simmering for years at Boys and Girls over the possibility of the city adding another school to the building, which already contains the small Research and Service High School.
November 13, 2013
Unprecedented third straight 'F' for struggling Boys and Girls HS
Chancellor Dennis Walcott and City Councilman Al Vann joined Boys and Girls High School Principal Bernard Gassaway to honor the school's boys basketball team for winning the city championships last year. Brooklyn's Boys and Girls High School earned the lowest mark on its city progress report today, making it one of just two schools ever to receive the failing grade three years in a row. The Department of Education has closed many schools that have netted F's since it began awarding the annual grades in 2007, but Boys and Girls has always managed to stay away from the chopping block. It will escape closure again this year, this time because the Bloomberg administration has simply run out of time to shutter any more low-performing schools. Instead, Chancellor Dennis Walcott is scheduled to appear Thursday at Boys and Girls, not to intervene in its academic program but to join the school's powerful supporters to cut the ribbon on a new health center there. But while other department officials previously have supported Principal Bernard Gassaway as he has annually promised improvements that have not materialized, Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky said today that a school with Boys and Girls' record should be "cause for serious concern." "I think sometimes when something's not working you need to look at bringing in a new team of educators in that school community," Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky of schools with a string of Fs. "It doesn't make sense that that would be off the table, but it's not really our decision to make." People close to the Bedford-Stuyvesant school said today that even though the city hasn't closed the school, the stigma from perennially being labeled as failing is doing the same job, just slowly.
February 1, 2013
New rules for student-athlete eligibility could hobble many teams
Chancellor Dennis Walcott spoke to members of the Boys and Girls High School track and field team at City Hall last year. After Boys and Girls High School imposed tougher academic requirements for student-athletes in 2011, its perennially winning mens basketball team benched seven playersand exited the state tournament in the first round. Now, the city is imposing academic and attendance standards for the 40,000 students who play school sports that are even more stringent than Boys and Girls'. The Department of Education is officially alerting schools about the changes this week. But coaches, principals and athletic directors say they've known for months and are beginning to prepare for the tougher eligibility requirements, which could hobble many teams. The changes follow new standards set by the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 2011 and are meant to address lagging academic performance among many of the city's marquee athletes, coaches say. "There was a growing concern about the way we do business," said Wings Academy Principal Wayne Cox, referring to the previous standards. "The new policies are saying you guys have gotten away with s--- for a very long time."
January 11, 2013
Aiding Boys and Girls High's survival are powerful political allies
Chancellor Dennis Walcott and City Councilman Al Vann joined Boys and Girls High School Principal Bernard Gassaway to honor the school's boys basketball team for winning the city championships last year. Among the dozen high schools the city spared from closure this week despite lagging scores, one stands out as lower-performing than almost all of the rest. It also stands out for having an unusually powerful set of political allies. Brooklyn’s Boys and Girls High School has poor student performance, an abysmal graduation rate — 38.6 percent last year — and few applicants. “If one looks at the data and the metrics by which all principals and schools are graded, it is very apparent that we are all not measured by the same yardstick,” said Geraldine Maione, the principal of William E. Grady Career and Technical High School, a higher-performing school that the city briefly proposed for closure last year. It’s a fact that Principal Bernard Gassaway has acknowledged. “Statistically, they’ve closed schools that have better stats,” he told community members at an event in June, before the city’s latest round of performance data. The secret to the school’s survival, people inside and outside the school say, appears to be a tight-knit advisory board of political and community heavyweights from the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn who say they have pulled strings at the school for years.
January 8, 2013
City says it wants to close 9 more schools, bringing total to 26
The Department of Education has named nine more schools it intends to close or shrink, bringing the final tally of schools it will try to shutter this year to 26. Seven of the new additions would phase out over time, while two would have some of their grades lopped off under the city's plans. P.S. 156 in Queens and the Academy for Social Action in Manhattan would lose their middle schools but their high schools would remain open. On Monday, the department announced that it would seek to close or phase out 17 other schools. That means 32 schools that the city considered closing will stay open instead, and department officials said they were considering "a wide range of potential interventions" to help the schools get better. They said the options could include, for schools that are eligible, federally prescribed school overhaul strategies like the ones the city has tried to use in the past. The schools that evaded closure this year, the last when the Bloomberg administration will be able to carry out closure plans, include Boys and Girls High School, Murry Bergtraum High School, and DeWitt Clinton High School. The three comprehensive schools have some of the weakest performance statistics in the city — and some of the most ardent defenders.
December 5, 2012
Boys & Girls leader steals the show at lively pre-closure meeting
In a fiery, off-the-cuff speech delivered to supporters on Tuesday, outspoken Boys and Girls High School Principal Bernard Gassaway reiterated charges he has leveled for years: The city is keeping him from turning around his long-struggling school. Just that afternoon, he recounted, he confronted and sent away an unwanted teacher assigned to him by the Department of Education. "They sent a nut job here," Gassaway said, to cheers from the crowd who turned out a meeting held by the department as part of a process to determine whether the school should close. "But that's what they think about kids," he added as part of the 11-minute address. "You don't think that's not done intentionally?" With a 37 percent four-year graduation rate and a 2.4 percent college-and-career-readiness rate, Boys and Girls ranks as one of the lowest-performing schools in the city and has for years. Demand for the school has also waned, as enrollment has dropped 40 percent — from 2,000 to 1,200 — since 2010.
December 3, 2012
Many are gearing up to defend schools the city might close
Metal detectors greet students at DeWitt Clinton High School. This photo is taken from a documentary about the school by alumni Danny and Bill Schechter. Click the picture to watch. As the Department of Education begins holding meetings at the high schools officials are considering closing, some of the schools are tapping into decades-worth of alumni ties and institutional memory to defend themselves. Representatives of Boys and Girls High School, Juan Morel Campos Secondary School, and DeWitt Clinton High School have put out press releases encouraging families, community members and the press to attend the department's "early engagement" meetings at their schools this week. At the meetings, which are typically closed to the public, superintendents and other department officials will listen to teachers, families and administrators describe their schools' strengths and the challenges they face. The meetings are a required first step in the process by which the city initiates school closures under state law. The department typically recommends closure for about half of the schools that undergo early engagement each year, but the process by which officials narrow down the preliminary hit list is murky. School communities are expected to make the case that their schools should stay open, despite low graduation rates and other issues, and demonstrate that they have the capacity to make dramatic improvements.
November 26, 2012
Second straight F puts Boys & Girls High's future on the line
Boys and Girls High School is one of 24 schools that now face closure. Boys and Girls High School's latest progress report grade — an F, its second in a row — came as no surprise to its principal, Bernard Gassaway. "We definitely fell short," Gassaway said in a phone interview today. "When you get the progress report and you are surprised by it, that means you haven't been looking at the numbers all along." But even though it is one of just four schools to score a second straight failing grade, Gassaway said he is not concerned about the future of the school, a Bedford-Stuyvesant institution revered by some neighborhood leaders despite posting graduation rates well below the city average in recent years. "Closure is not an option," he said. "I don't think that's an option that's on the table. ... I'm not entertaining any conversations about closure." Department of Education officials said they remain confident in Gassaway's leadership. But at the same time, they are making Boys and Girls the subject of a formal conversation about closure for the first time. The department has informed Gassaway that the high school is among 24 that will undergo "early engagement," a process through which officials meet with community members to assess whether struggling schools are likely to improve or should be closed.
November 26, 2012
Among 24 schools city says it could close, some familiar names
Marc Sternberg, the Department of Education deputy chancellor in charge of school closures, said the city would consider whether to phase out 24 struggling high schools. Seven high schools that the city tried in vain to close last year are among the two dozen that the Department of Education might move to shutter this year. Department officials announced today that they had added 24 high schools to the list of schools they are considering closing. The schools join 36 elementary and middle schools already slated for “early engagement” meetings, the first step in the city's school closure process. The department named those schools in October but postponed the meetings because of Hurricane Sandy. The high schools were culled from 60 whose progress report scores made them eligible for closure under the city's rules. Their test scores, attendance, graduation rates, and readiness for college do not measure up to city standards, according to Deputy Schools Chancellor Marc Sternberg, the department official who oversees school closures, who said the schools' presence on the early engagement list indicates that they have deep problems to address. "What we see in a school that can't demonstrate the capacity to improve dramatically and to improve quickly is a calcification of the systems that lead to good schools," Sternberg told reporters in a briefing on the reports this afternoon. "The adults are not communicating clearly and well with each other, there's a lack of collaboration, a lack of organizational alignment that will enable the kind of instruction we know is important and necessary to lead to good outcomes."
September 15, 2011
Officials fete students in city's newest early college programs
Joining State Senator Velmanette Montgomery (center) are four students from Bard Early College High School (from left: Daphney Sanchez, Aishah Scott, Dwight Hodgson, and Lenina Mortimer). Behind them is Martha Olson, Dean of Administration. Students taking part in new early college high school programs got a glimpse of their future yesterday at Long Island University's Kumbel Theater and liked what they saw. Staring back up at them were four success stories who graduated from one of the city's first early college schools, Bard High School Early College in Manhattan: an admissions coordinator, a doctoral candidate in political science, a bioengineering student, and a multimedia producer. "It's one of those things that doesn't make sense to you right now and that's fine," said Dwight Hodgson, who started at BHSEC when it opened in 2001. He is now back at his high school as an admission coordinator. "But there's going to come a time very shortly where you're going to sit back and say, 'Wow, that was a life-changing experience.'" Hodgson was speaking to new students in four early college programs crafted in BHSEC's mold as part of the Smart Scholars Early College High School program, a state initiative to bolster partnerships between high schools and colleges. Bard and City Polytechnic High School of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology, which has a relationship with New York City College of Technology, became the city's first Smart Scholars schools in 2010 and this year they were joined by three other schools: Boys and Girls High School (with L.I.U.), Medgar Evers College Preparatory School (with Medgar Evers College), and Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or P-TECH, (with NYC College of Technology). Each school is getting more than $400,000 from the state and the Gates Foundation, which provided the original Smart Scholars grant in 2009. The Smart Scholars initiative aims to bring the early college model, in which students take college courses while they're still enrolled in high school, to low-income and minority students.
June 28, 2011
On road to college, track star leaves troubled past in the dust
As the salutatorian of Boys and Girls High School, Johanna Jimenez will deliver a speech tonight titled "A Race Called LIfe." For her classmates at Boys and Girls High School in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, many of whom have experienced hardships and overcome steep odds on the path to graduation, the title is a metaphor. But Jimenez, a top middle distance runner who is headed to college on a track scholarship, takes the idea literally. “Basically, life is like a race. You set goals, then stay focused and work hard to achieve them,” she said, explaining her speech. Jimenez's life has been less of a marathon than a series of hurdles. She overcame her mother's mental illness, foster homes, and her own insecurity to graduate from high school at the top of her class. There she joins another student-athlete, valedictorian Folashade Frazier, who will attend the University of Michigan. Together, the pair provide glimmers of hope at a school that seems perpetually at risk of closure. Absorbing some of the community's neediest students, Boys & Girls has a poor attendance rate and an even lower graduation rate. Detaching kids from their troubled personal lives is often the first hurdle teachers must clear before they can even begin instruction. Born in Puerto Rico, Jimenez and her older brother, Nathaniel, were given up at an early age by their mother, who suffered from mental illness. She lived in three foster homes and one group home between the ages of 7 and 12.
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