January 23, 2012
A performing arts school that the city wants to close has put together a highlights reel to make the case for staying open.
Manhattan Theatre Lab High School uploaded a 20-minute video called “We Are More Than Data” to YouTube late last week. The video contains clips from inspired student performances meant to capture qualities that the school’s 46 percent graduation rate and rock-bottom progress report score do not.
It also includes interviews with several students. In the video, Keyana Griffin says she knows other students in her East Harlem neighborhood could benefit from the confidence-booster of participating in the school’s arts programs.
“When I found out that my school was being phased out or being proposed to phase out, it hurt because they’ll never get to get the opportunity that I got,” Griffin said.
The video’s producer and director is Evelyn Collins, Manhattan Theatre Lab’s principal. Before heading Manhattan Theatre Lab, Collins was an assistant principal at Wadleigh Secondary School for Performing Arts, which is also on this year’s closure list this year. The city is holding a hearing Thursday about its plan to close Wadleigh’s middle school.
Manhattan Theatre Lab’s hearing is set for Tuesday evening. Just before, the school in Manhattan’s Martin Luther King Campus is holding a talent show to showcase students’ proficiency in and passion for the arts.
The hearings are among 10 being held this week at schools the city wants to close or shrink. They are part of a 25-school closure hearings spree that could be extended if the city finalizes plans to close and reopen 33 schools next year — the most in any year.
The full list of hearings taking place this week is below. The hearings take place at 6 p.m. at the schools.
General D. Chappie James Elementary School of Science, Brooklyn
Aspire Preparatory Middle School, Bronx
Manhattan Theatre Lab High School, Manhattan
Knowledge and Power Preparatory Academy VII Middle School, Brooklyn
P.S. 22, Brooklyn
P.S. 14 Cornelius Vanderbilt, Staten Island
Jane Addams High School for Academic Careers, Bronx
Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Manhattan
Brooklyn Collegiate: A College Board School, Brooklyn
Gateway School for Environmental Research and Technology, Bronx