Posts tagged "high schools"
March 29, 2013
An independent research group with access to a trove of the city’s education data concluded that most of the Bloomberg administration’s claims of high school progress are credible.
But in a different report commissioned by a nonprofit group that manages some city high schools, researchers found that the city’s tools for evaluating schools do not treat schools with higher-need students fairly.
The two reports come as the Bloomberg administration concludes a three-term spree of policy changes meant to spur improvement in the city’s high schools. The spree included dozens of school closures and the creation of hundreds of new high schools, along with accountability metrics such as the annual “progress report” to make school performance transparent. Whether to continue the policies and accountability measures will be a major choice facing the next mayor. (more…)
January 10, 2013
Changes meant to help schools overhaul their special education programs have instead left principals scrambling for a budget fix.
Middle and high school principals are learning this week that the Department of Education is planning to take back thousands of dollars earmarked to help their schools serve students with special needs — over a budget technicality.
“Students with disabilities are the ones who lose out in this — and schools’ ability to provide what [students] need,” said a principal whose school faces a cut.
The issue stems from a new funding formula adopted this year as part of the Department of Education’s efforts to bring students with disabilities out of self-contained classes whenever possible. (more…)
October 3, 2012
The city’s high school admissions process definitely seems more complex and competitive since Sergio Coria went through it 20 years ago.
Corio made the observation after spending more than four hours at the Citywide High School Fair at Brooklyn Technical High School on Sunday with his 13-year-old sister, Nicole.
“It’s a good eye-opener to see how many students you are competing with,” Sergio said about the fair, which more than 30,000 people attended over two days. “It’s a wake-up call on what you need to do and how you need to do it — you definitely can’t wait until the last minute.”
Nicole had already identified about a dozen schools in the city’s high school directory that seemed to speak to her interests in art, math, and science. But she said narrowing down her choices hadn’t yet given her much piece of mind.
“It’s scary: You don’t know if you’re going to get accepted, and then once you get there you don’t know if you’ll like the teachers,” she said. (more…)
October 2, 2012
The white cockatoo perched on a student’s shoulder during last weekend’s Citywide High School Fair was just one squawking example of the lengths schools go to set themselves apart from eighth-graders’ 500 other high school options.
But for a small group of schools, those that the Department of Education tried but failed to close, winning the affections of eighth-graders could mean the difference between life and death.
The schools were slated for an aggressive overhaul known as “turnaround” until an arbitrator ruled this summer that the process violated the city’s contract with the teachers union. Turnaround would have caused the schools to close and reopen with different names, teachers, and programs. The high school of another school, Manhattan’s Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing Arts, was never at risk, but its reputation suffered when the city moved to shutter its middle school.
All of the schools are under pressure to demonstrate demand by December, when high school applications are due and when the Department of Education announces its annual school closure proposals. The department frequently cites low demand as a major reason for moving to close schools.
Many of the ex-turnaround schools already have lower-than-usual enrollment, after last year’s tumult, which started in the middle of the high school admissions progress. Many also now have new principals, programs, and organizational problems. Still, the staff and students who spoke to GothamSchools on the second day of the fair said they are putting their best foot forward.
Long Island City High School
During a brief lull in the fair on Sunday, juniors Arissa Hilario and Wendy Li took a break from waving families over to the Long Island City High School booth to admire Winter, an umbrella cockatoo from George Washington Carver High School making the rounds in the area for Queens schools. (more…)
July 26, 2012
New York City’s process for assigning students to schools still sets some of the schools up to fail, State Education Commission John King charged today.
“I continue to have concerns about enrollment,” King said. “I worry about the over-concentration of high-needs students in particular buildings without adequate supports to ensure success.”
King made the comments to reporters during a break in a meeting of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s state education reform commission, which met this morning in the Bronx.
City officials have acknowledged King’s concerns when petitioning the state for aid, but they have never conceded that high concentrations of needy students could hurt schools. Today, the Department of Education official in charge of enrollment said recent changes to the way some students are assigned to schools, made quietly last summer, were meant to increase choices for families, not respond to King’s concerns or help struggling schools.
King’s concerns reflect longstanding criticism about the Bloomberg administration’s school choice policies. For years, critics have charged that the department overloads some schools with needy students, making it hard for them to show progress or even sustain their past performance. An internal department report completed in 2008 and obtained by GothamSchools last year concluded that a high school’s size and concentration of low-achieving and overage students strongly predicts its graduation rate. (more…)
February 9, 2012
For the third year in a row, the city’s data watchdog has concluded that the schools the city is trying to close serve especially needy students.
In 2010 and 2011, the Independent Budget Office put together longer reports about the city’s school closure proposals on the request of Robert Jackson, chair of the City Council’s education committee. But this year, the office, which has a special mandate to scrutinize the Department of Education’s facts and figures, compiled details about the demographics, performance, and funding of schools on the chopping block on its own. Then it released the statistics in an easy-to-read, stand-alone format.
Among the many people who are receiving the IBO’s 13-slide presentation by email today are the members of the Panel for Educational Policy, who are set to vote on the closure proposals tonight, according to spokesman Doug Turetsky.
“It’s an accessible format so people can see the stats and come to their own conclusions,” he said.
UPDATE: Department of Education officials disputed some of the data in the slides and said the budget office had not given them as much time to review the report before publication as an agreement between the two offices requires.
They urged the IBO not to release the report and then to retract it once it was published because data on at least one slide did not match information the city had provided. The budget office retracted one slide that showed change over time in the number of students with special needs at the schools.
But other slides showed that the schools up for closure enroll more than the average proportion of students who have disabilities, are overage, or are considered English language learners, confirming analyses published elsewhere. (more…)
October 26, 2011
Behind the letter grade that each city high school received this week is a mess of data.
Progress report scores take into account everything from how many ninth-graders earned six credits in academic courses to the number of overage students to the relative performance of students with special needs. The city’s spreadsheet containing the underlying data for the progress reports runs to more than 200 columns.
We sorted and re-sorted the spreadsheet to look at the city’s measures of school quality in different ways. Here are some of the most interesting things we found.
The top five highest-scoring schools include three schools for new immigrants (marked with asterisks):
Brooklyn International High School (Brooklyn)*
Manhattan Village Academy (Manhattan)
It Takes A Village Academy (Brooklyn)*
Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design (Brooklyn)
Manhattan Bridges High School (Manhattan)*
The top five lowest-scoring schools:
Manhattan Theatre Lab High School (Manhattan)
High School of Graphic Communication Arts (Manhattan)
Samuel Gompers Career and Technical Education High School (Bronx)
Herbert H. Lehman High School (Bronx)
Freedom Academy High School (Brooklyn)
Seven schools didn’t get progress reports after their data raised red flags with department officials: (more…)
October 25, 2011
Yesterday’s high school progress reports release put 60 schools on existential notice.
Fourteen high schools got failing grades, 28 received D’s, and another 14 have scored at a C or lower since at least 2009 — making them eligible for closure under Department of Education policy.
In the coming weeks, the city will winnow the list of schools to those it considers beyond repair. After officials release a shortlist of schools under consideration for closure, they will hold “early engagement” meetings to find out more about what has gone wrong. City officials said they would look at the schools’ Quality Reviews, state evaluations, and past improvement efforts before recommending some for closure. Last month, they said they were considering closure for just 20 of the 128 elementary and middle schools that received low progress report grades.
The at-risk high schools are spread over every borough except for Staten Island and include many of the comprehensive high schools that are still open in the Bronx, including DeWitt Clinton High School and Lehman High School, which until recently were considered good options for many students. They also include two of the five small schools on the Erasmus Campus in Brooklyn and two of the three small schools that have long occupied the John Jay High School building in Park Slope. (A fourth school, which is selective, opened at John Jay this year.)
They include several of the schools that received “executive principals” who got hefty bonuses to turn conditions around. (more…)
October 24, 2011
Nearly half of students who started ninth grade in 2006 are enrolled in college right now, but only a quarter of them were ready for it, city data shows.
The numbers were revealed today when the Department of Education released high school progress reports for last year. For the first time, the reports include data about each school’s course offerings and college enrollment rate, although that information will not be factored into schools’ grades until next year.
Schools that receive a grade of F or D, or get three C grades in a row, could face closure. This year, 41 schools received D’s or F’s, an increase over last year, while fewer high schools received A grades than in any year since the progress reports were created in 2007.
Speaking to reporters this morning, Shael Polakow-Suransky, the chief academic officer, attributed those changes to a tougher set of requirements around student performance on state tests, credit accumulation, and documentation for student discharges.
“I think we’re tightening things up and we’ve gotten a more precise result,” he said. (more…)
September 26, 2011
Eighth-graders and their parents began queuing up outside Brooklyn Technical High School on Saturday an hour before the annual citywide high school fair’s start time, and by 9:45 a.m. a long line of families wrapped around the block. When the doors opened at 10 a.m., they poured into the stuffy building, some of the tens of thousands of families that passed through the fair this weekend.
Inside, Brooklyn Tech’s eight stories were something of a labyrinth — but no more so than the high school admissions process itself. Parents and students that we met outlined varying strategies for navigating the fair and the journey to high school.
Laura Napiza and her daughter Samantha tried traversing the hallways but seemed completely lost. “We just got here and it’s very overwhelming,” Laura Napiza said. “We’re looking for a high school with a strong academic program that also has something that she’d be interested in. Right now she wants to be a teacher.”
They said their goal was to visit the Queens High School of Teaching, Liberal Arts, and the Sciences and Maspeth High School — if they could find those tables. Saying they planned to inquire about graduation rates, student-to-teacher ratios and extracurricular options, the mother and daughter disappeared into the melee.
Beverly Brailsford and her son Spencer Jackson came in with a clear plan of action: Head straight to the seventh floor and methodically work downwards, hitting only the schools with strong academic programs and track and field teams. First, though, the pair found a quiet hallway where they could sit down and prepare. With the high school directory in her lap, a pen in her hand, and a notebook turned to a fresh page, Brailsford took notes on schools such as Aviation High School and Medgar Evers College Preparatory School while Jackson played on his phone. “I think it’s more of a mom thing,” Brailsford said of the process. “As long as they have what he’s into, it works for him.” (more…)