Sheepshead Bay High School students protesting the city’s closure attempts in the last school year. (Photo: Robert Fernandez)
The third time’s the charm? New York City’s school administrators seem to hope so.
For the third time in three years, the Department of Education has again set its sights on closing Sheepshead Bay High School (3000 Avenue X), including it in a list of 24 high schools slated for closure as early as the end of this school year.
The “early engagement” list, reported on yesterday by Gotham Schools, is comprised of schools that the Department of Education says comes up short on student test results, attendance rates, graduate rates and college preparedness. In addition to high schools, it contains 36 elementary and middle schools.
Sheepshead Bay High School is one of seven high schools on the list that the city tried to close last year using the “turnaround” plan, which mandates closing the school, firing the staff, reopening under a new name and hiring a maximum of 50 percent of the teachers from the previous administration. Courts threw the brakes on the plan, though, after the teachers’ and principals’ unions successfully sued, claiming that it violated their collective bargaining agreement with the city.
After deciding last month to shutter Sheepshead Bay High School, as well as 23 other high schools, the Department of Education chose a name this week for the new school in the old building: Academy of Career Exploration of Sheepshead Bay.
John Dewey High School – also slated for closure – will be renamed Shorefront High School of Arts and Sciences at John Dewey Campus.
The schools will reopen under the new names in September, flooded with as much as $1.5 million each in federal funds to get the schools back on track.
We didn’t think the DOE could make it any more difficult to report on school issues, but, alas, they found a way to nearly double the number of characters to type. That’s city efficiency at its very best!
Regardless, we think it’ll be known colloquially as Sheepshead Bay High School and John Dewey High School for years to come. What do you think?
The students marched and held signs, and also chanted support for the school after a cheerleading demonstration revved up the crowd.
Councilman Lew Fidler, who represents the area around the school, spoke of what he saw as a foolish decision to close a school that boasted spirit and involvement, and blasted Mayor Bloomberg and the Department of Education for the recent direction of the school system.
The city again expanded its list of schools in need of closure or transformation, and Sheepshead Bay High School remains in the cross-hairs.
But administrators aren’t going along with the city’s plan without a fight. The principal is pleading for more time, and enlisting the community in a David versus Goliath battle with the city. A rally we be held at the school on Friday, November 19, at 3:00 p.m. to show support for the school.
We first wrote last year that officials were considering Sheepshead Bay H.S. (3000 Avenue X) for closure, but at the time the principal denied the claims. Since then, the city’s list of “persistently lowest achieving” high schools swelled from about a dozen to 34 – and now 47 – including the addition of John Dewey High School at 50 Avenue X, and William E. Grady Vocational High School at 25 Brighton Fourth Road.