Sheepshead Bay H.S. Students, Faculty To Rally Before Tonight’s Hearing

5

A rally to save Sheepshead Bay High School when it faced closure in 2010.

Parents, teachers and students at Sheepshead Bay High School are poised to fight back tonight against the Department of Education’s plans to close the school and fire up to half the teachers, as the school’s supporters organize a rally in front of the building before heading into a public hearing on the matter.

The Department of Education is proposing to reform the Sheepshead Bay High School using the “turnaround” model. This means the city will rename the school and replace the principal and 50 percent of its teachers. The school stands to gain $1.55 million in federal funding from the School Improvement Grant program using this model. William E. Grady High School, Franklin D. Roosevelt High School and John Dewey High School are other local schools slated for turnaround.

The turnaround model has been criticized by opponents as a politically motivated stab at the teacher’s union, after negotiations to implement a new teacher evaluation system stalled. Reforming teacher evaluations was a prerequisite to receive federal Race to the Top grants, and the failure to strike a deal cost the city a chance at hundreds of millions of dollars.

It’s not the first time the school has been on the chopping block, most recently protesting in November 2010 to stay open – a battle it won. The school’s principal also vowed to fight for her job.

Today’s rally kicks off at 4:00 p.m. The public hearing begins at 6:00 p.m. at the school (3000 Avenue X). Written comments can be submitted via e-mail to [email protected], and oral comments can be left at 212-374-0208.

The Panel for Educational Policy will vote on the proposal on April 26.