Archive for the tag 'sheepshead bay hs'

Andre Civil

Andre Civil (Source: ScarletKnights.com)

Way, way back in the halycon days of May 2008, when Sheepshead Bites had just launched, the fourth story ever published on this site was about the recruitment of Sheepshead Bay High School (3000 Avenue X) football’s defensive end Andre Civil to Rutgers University‘s Scarlet Knights (also, my alma mater.)

Back then, the team was just beginning to rise after years of pitiful performance, and started making a name for itself. Fast forward three and a half years, and Rutgers University joined the Big Ten Conference, helping solidify its athletic excellence.

Civil, who took on the role of right-tackle after the NFL picked off a few of his colleagues, played a prominent role in the team’s surge in rankings, and he’s been embraced by the students and alumni, who’ve started packing the football stadium (during my years there, the school literally bribed students to go to games. On some days, it was the only place you could get a meal using the meal plan).

That spirit is a whole lot different than Civil is used to. A native of the Sheepshead Bay – Nostrand Houses, Civil notes that New York City dwellers’ indifference towards high school and college football spurred him to work harder.

The Trentonian profiled Civil, writing:

“First off, I think a lot of people don’t look at New York high school football as much,” said Civil, who mostly ran a Wing-T offense in high school. “You just kind of have a chip on your shoulder and want to show people you can play ball and compete with other states, especially New Jersey because New Jersey is known for football.”

Civil grew up right across the street from Sheepshead Bay and played football at the adjoining field. Some schools, like Flatbush’s Erasmus Hall, would have to commute through the borough just to get to practice.

He played games at noon every Saturday, like clockwork. Sheepshead Bay never played night games, despite having lights. Civil did not need them to turn on.

Check out the full profile here.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Panel for Educational Policy, which has the final say on closing schools in New York City, voted last night to approve plans to phase out and ultimately shutter Sheepshead Bay High School and 21 other schools at the end of this semester.

Much like the closure hearing held earlier this month at Sheepshead Bay High School, opposition at last night’s meeting was thin compared to previous years.

The New York Post notes:

While hundreds of parents and teachers came to protest the move, the meeting wasn’t nearly as volatile as in past years, when thousands packed the auditorium and raucously taunted education officials.

… Before last night’s vote, far fewer elected officials spoke out than usual, the crowd thinned within hours, and even the head of the UFT sent his No. 2.

NY 1 reports that some of that scale down in opposition is because the UFT has “given up” on challenging Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s policies, and is now looking ahead to the new mayor. NY 1 reports:

This is the fourth year since a state law was revised to require that the panel votes on school closures, but since the majority of the panel is appointed by the mayor, the panel has approved every single one of the DOE’s proposals to date.

Of all of the DOE’s controversial policies, closing schools consistently generates the most vocal push back. Even if the outcome of the final vote is almost certainly assured, thousands of people show up to the meeting every year. Most are teachers, students or parents at the schools that are being closed, but the teachers’ union has also traditionally brought in hundreds of other members to speak out against the policy.

This year, the United Federation of Teachers has not organized a large protest for the first time. The union president said that he has given up trying to work with the current mayor to get anything done and is focused on the next mayor.

As many as 142 schools have been closed of phased out since Bloomberg took office in 2002.

In addition to closing Sheepshead Bay High School, the panel voted to approve the co-location of four new schools, including two charters, on the 3000 Avenue X premises. A “phase out” period in which no new ninth graders would be accepted to the school begins immediately. Current students would be allowed to graduate or transfer out over the next three years, and, beginning this September, a new public high school, two new charter high schools, and a district transfer high school would all be co-located in the same facility.

The charter high schools will both be managed by New Visions for Public Schools, a nonprofit that manages more than 70 schools across the five boroughs.

From a rally to save the school when it faced closure in 2010.

The Department of Education held a required hearing to “phase out” Sheepshead Bay High School (3000 Avenue X) last week, but the event drew a smaller crowd of about 80 students and faculty, as compared to hundreds in the previous attempts to shut it down.

It’s the third year in the row the city is trying to shutter the school – this time by replacing it with two public schools and two charter schools – and some school supporters say the teachers, students and parents have simply been beaten, broken and demoralized by the process.

If the plan to close Sheepshead Bay High School is approved, a “phase out” period would begin in which no new ninth graders would be accepted to the school. Current students would be allowed to graduate or transfer out, and, beginning this September, a new public high school, two new charter high schools, and a district transfer high school would all be co-located in the same facility.

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John O’Mahoney, the current interim principal of Sheepshead Bay High School, has been fined $4,000 after admitting to pressuring the principal of another school to hire his wife, and then demanding they keep her on staff despite school-wide budget cuts.

At the time, O’Mahoney was working as a “network leader” for several schools, including the one from which his wife was to be let go. Network leaders have an influential role over school-wide hiring and other policies.

His wife was laid off in June 2011 due to a budget crunch, and O’Mahoney called the principal to say, “my wife’s position could not be excessed,” according to New York City’s Conflicts of Interest Board paperwork reported on by the New York Post.

O’Mahoney left his position as network leader and was hired as the principal of Sheepshead Bay High School  last year, amid proceedings to close the school and reopen in with new staff and new name. He took over for principal Reesa Levy, who left in December 2011.

Both acts are a violation of the city’s ethics laws and O’Mahoney has been told to pay a $4,000 fine.

O’Mahoney position as principal is under review. A department spokesperson told GothamSchools that it is “taking this seriously and reviewing the findings.”

Sheepshead Bay High School was one of 24 “turnaround” high schools that were set to be closed, and then reopened in the fall, as the Academy of Career Exploration of Sheepshead Bay. That decision had since been halted after a court arbitrator slammed brakes on that plan.

It is still unclear if the name changes will still take effect if the decision is reversed.

Source: WBUR/Flickr

Cricket is one of the fastest growing sports in America, and it is extremely popular in Brooklyn. And high school teams are picking up steam.

Who knew?

The top cricket players of New York City’s high schools were selected to partake in the 2012 NYC Mayor’s Cup High School Cricket All-Star Game this Saturday at Spring Creek Park Cricket Field, 355 Gateway Drive, Brooklyn.

The group consists of 57 players from high school teams in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens. Locally, Sheepshead Bay High School, Abraham Lincoln High School and Midwood High School are sending two players each. Franklin D. Roosevelt High School is sending three athletes.

The first of the matches will take place at 10 a.m., while the final, the championship, will begin at 4 p.m.

Interested in playing cricket?  Beyond the high school level, there are several cricket teams based in Brooklyn. Among these teams are the Brooklyn Warriors, the Knight Riderz, and the Kings Country Warriors. Individuals can request to join the team, or they can email the captain of the team here.

Marine Park also has a cricket field on the corner of Filmore Avenue and Marine Parkway. To reserve a cricket field for organized play, you must first obtain an Athletic Field Permit.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

A Sheepshead Bay High School teacher is speaking out about feeling pressured to “teach to the test,” saying that administrators from the soon-to-be Academy of Career Exploration of Sheepshead Bay threatened she raise the test scores of two failing students so they could graduate.

Erica Bloom, a 36-year-old geometry teacher who is, according to comments made about her on the Rate My Teachers website, mostly well-liked by her students, told the New York Post that she would receive a “3020” — a disciplinary warning in Department of Education (DOE)-speak — if she didn’t inflate the students’ geometry Regents exam scores from a failing 55 to a passing 65. The warning, she explained would “mean the removal of my license. So I lose my job, my insurance, my pension — everything, after 14 years.”

Bloom says new school Principal John O’Mahoney had insisted that all students take the Regents — and that their scores should count for 10 percent of their final grades.

One of the students notched a 53 on the test. The other failed to show up.

“A guidance counselor [for one student] came in and asked me to change his grade,” she said.

He was followed by the assistant principal “who came in and kept asking, ‘Why are you failing him?’ ”

Another asked about the second student.

“I was pressured by everybody,” she said.

She then went to O’Mahoney’s office but he refused to intervene. “He didn’t say a thing,” she said.

Margie Feinberg, spokeswoman for the DOE, said O’Mahoney did nothing wrong. “The principal acted properly,” she told the Post. “This was not an issue of changing grades.”

The two students graduated this past Friday.

 

File:US Navy 120102-N-DR144-050 An MH-60S Knight Hawk assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 passes the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile .jpg

A U.S. Navy MH-60S Knighthawk (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The United States Navy will show off its air power today with a Fleet Week event right here in Sheepshead Bay.

An MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter will put on an aerial demo above Sheepshead Bay High School (er, “Academy of Career Exploration of Sheepshead Bay“), with its Explosive Ordinance Team conducting a mock search and rescue operation. Armed with machine guns, the Knighthawk is a combat support helicopter, used for troop transport, supply missions and search and rescue operations. Very soon, they’ll be flying with lasers. No joke. They’re being fitted with Airborne Laser Mine Detection Systems.

Oh, another cool fact about the Knighthawk? It’s the first Navy chopper equipped with the glass cockpit, in which the dashboard’s usual mechanical gauges are replaced with four digital screens. Yeah, it’s just like Star Wars.

Anyway, after the aerial demo, the MH-60S Knighthawk will land in the school’s sports field for everyone to come check out.

The event kicks off at 1:00 p.m. Sheepshead Bay High School is located at 3000 Avenue X.

UPDATE (11:09 a.m.): Just got off the phone with the Fleet Week coordinators, and this event is still on despite the rain. We’ll check in again around 12:30 p.m.

UPDATE (12:35 p.m.): The event was canceled at 2:20 p.m. The Navy guys at Sheepshead Bay High School were trying real hard to make this happen. I think the final hold-up came from FAA, not US Navy. Thank you, service members!

Chris Llego, a junior at Sheepshead Bay High School, stood before a tribunal of five international criminal court chief justices at the Peace Palace in the Hague, the Netherlands, this past February. In front of an audience of students, teachers, international attorneys, judges and other dignitaries, he delivered an argument in a mock International Court Case (ICC).

The judges, according to Llego, were imposing.

“They looked so wise, advanced and skilled; they were in a whole other league,” he said

Llego was a member of one of two select teams of 16 New York City public high school students in an International Moot Court competition that was held this past February, in the Hague, The Netherlands. Team One from New York City prevailed over teams from around the world, including teams from Russia, Poland, Argentina, The Netherlands, and the home of the eventual second place team, Venezuela.

Llego was a key member of the New York contingent, and was one of three New York City students who participated in the final round.

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Students protest the DOE's plans before a March hearing (Photo by Robert Fernandez)

The plan to reform Sheepshead Bay High School using a “turnaround model” – which requires firing at least half the staff – has spurred condemnation from parents, teachers and students as we’ve previously reported.

It’s not a matter of whether the school needs work or not – most agree it does – but rather that the school was already enrolled in a reform process and had made great strides. Now the change in direction is wreaking havoc on the progress made, and teachers are losing faith in a system that has already pulled the rug out from under them.

Such undermining of teacher morale is setting any future reforms up for failure, one teacher told Gotham Schools:

Robin Kovat, social studies teacher at Sheepshead Bay High School

What changes have the School Improvement Grants brought to your school so far?

“Well, they instituted [the "restart" reform model], and we started it, and then they threw this wrench into our works, so the morale now is really going down because part of it involves a buy-in for the staff but nobody knows if they’re going to be here next year. I think dividing it into academies would really be wonderful if we keep the people here who can actually make a difference, who have been shown to make a difference, who have already made a difference.”

Gotham Schools has been asking a set of questions of teachers and students at some of the 26 high schools slated for closure. Here’s what another Sheepshead Bay High School teacher had to say about how the additional funds from reform have helped in the past year:

Alona Geller, English teacher and Cheerleading coach at Sheepshead Bay High School

What changes have the School Improvement Grants brought to your school so far?

“I started here when I was 22 years old. And I’ve been teaching for seven [years]. I think a lot of improvements have taken place. Any money granted to us is used for trips and programs and supplies, the kids have everything tha they need, and I know friends of mine in other schools don’t have those things.

This year in particular, we have City Year in the building, the ninth graders have a lot of support, and they’re thriving in away I haven’t seen before. City Year greets the kids at the door, they provide tutoring services, they’re in our classrooms, they follow the kids all day long and see what subjects they’re struggling with. They really keep up the morale for the students and for the teachers.”

Those funds will continue to flow while half the staff that have helped find the most efficient use for them will be dismissed if the turnaround model gets approved, as is widely expected.The Department of Education will decide whether to close the schools on April 26.

Grady High School (Source: GothamSchools.org)

Earlier today we reported on Sheepshead Bay High School’s ongoing fight for survival from the Department of Education’s ax. Meanwhile, another local high school threatened with the same fate has been granted a reprieve.

The Department of Education has announced that seven of the 33 schools slated for closure under the “turnaround” reform model have escaped the measure, having improved sufficiently over the past year to warrant removal from the list. Brighton Beach’s William E. Grady High School (25 Brighton 4th Road) is one of the seven.

Grady High School students and faculty led a spirited fight against the plans, including student walk-outs and protests that highlighted the school’s achievements, including jumping from a D grade to a B in the latest school progress reports.

All of the seven schools on the list have received A’s and B’s on their progress report. The six other schools saved are Harlem Renaissance High School, Intermediate School 136 Charles O. Dewey, School for Global Studies, Cobble Hill School Of American Studies, W.H. Maxwell Career and Tech High School and Franklin D Roosevelt High School.

Sheepshead Bay High School and John Dewey High School remain slated for closure. The Department of Education will decide whether to close the schools on April 26.

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