Posts tagged "john dewey high school"
March 19, 2013
A middle school in eastern Queens has been hit particularly hard by the limits of the city’s high school admissions system, according to a local elected official who wants a new high school program opened to serve shut-out eighth-graders.
City Councilman Mark Weprin announced during a council hearing today that 67 students at M.S. 72 in Springfield Gardens wound up without a match last week when high school admissions decisions came out. The students made up 20 percent of the eighth grade, meaning that M.S. 72 students went unmatched at twice the citywide rate.
“There are 67 kids who think they did something wrong,” Weprin said. But their only offense, he said, is that students at M.S. 72 — which posts lower-than-average test scores but has a selective program — often don’t want to go to the high school most likely to accept them. (more…)
November 6, 2012
Teachers from John Dewey High School reported for duty to Sheepshead Bay High School on Monday with a sinking feeling. Months after narrowly escaping closure, the school had struggled since September to settle on programs for its 1,900 students and, if that were not enough, its Gravesend building had caught on fire during Hurricane Sandy.
Now they thought students and staff would have spread out among three different school buildings, including Sheepshead Bay, for the foreseeable future.
“It could be, without a doubt, another nail in the coffin,” one teacher said about the planned relocation. “It’s a whirlwind to be told to go here or there.”
The school’s staff spent Monday deciding who would report where on Wednesday, and creating new schedules for their students. Then, late Monday evening, teachers got a phone call from the Department of Education with unexpected news: Dewey would be able to reopen right away after all.
Teachers said the phone call came as a welcome surprise, but some said they thought the location was the least of Dewey’s worries.
Last week, Chancellor Dennis Walcott cited Dewey as one of the most severely damaged schools in the wake of the hurricane. And teachers said they had received no hints that the school would be ready to reopen any time soon, even after Principal Kathleen Elvin stopped by the building to assess repair efforts on Monday morning and afternoon. But department officials said the School Construction Authority had been able to install a generator and get Dewey’s boiler to work, making the building safe for students and teachers.
The quick return was exactly what some teachers said they thought the school needed. (more…)
November 5, 2012
As more than 90 percent of city schoolchildren head to school today for their first day back after Hurricane Sandy, some with extra sweaters to ward off cold, Department of Education officials will have their sights set on the 102 schools that still cannot reopen.
The number of school buildings unable to accommodate students fluctuated over the weekend, but by Sunday night, department officials determined that 57 schools were so damaged that they must be relocated and 29 schools still lacked power, down from nearly 200 at the beginning of the weekend. Another 16 schools are housed in eight buildings that have for the last week been used as shelters for New Yorkers displaced from homes and hospitals by the storm.
The roughly 73,000 students who attend the schools are expected to return to classes on Wednesday, after the entire city takes another break for Election Day on Tuesday, when many schools will function as polling centers.
In the next two days, officials aim for power to be restored to schools that lack it, shelters closed and cleaned, and damaged schools shoehorned into other locations. But Mayor Bloomberg said the transition back to school — coming after students and teachers alike have had their homes and neighborhoods disruption — would likely be rocky.
“We just can’t predict who’s going to show up where … and we’re obviously going to have problems,” Bloomberg said during a news conference on Sunday. “We’ll just have to bear it, but we’ll have a day between the first day and the second day of school – namely Tuesday – and we’re going to use that day to straighten things out to the best of our ability.” (more…)
November 1, 2012
Despite massive transportation problems, ongoing power outages, and dozens of buildings so severely damaged that they cannot be used in the near future, the city is moving forward with a plan to open schools by Monday, one week after Hurricane Sandy swept across the city.
On Wednesday, Mayor Bloomberg announced that students would return to classes next week and that teachers would be required to report for work on Friday to prepare. Chancellor Dennis Walcott told reporters today that the timeline was firm.
“There are no ifs ands or buts about it,” Walcott said. “They will open. We know they’ll open.”
But exactly where each of the schools will open is an unresolved question. Of the city’s roughly 1,200 school buildings, 174 are still not operational today because of flooding, loss of power, or other damages, Walcott said, a number that had declined by about 25 since Wednesday.
Of them, 44 buildings housing 79 schools are considered “severely damaged” and will have to undergo major repairs before they are safe for students, he said.
The severely damaged schools include Brooklyn’s John Dewey High School, where officials said today a transformer fire had essentially burned through the building’s electrical system, and Beach Channel High School in Queens, where flooding caused the school’s boiler to burst and leak oil into Jamaica Bay. Walcott said the department was now working with city’s Department of Environmental Protection to contain the spill.
Students and teachers from the severely damaged schools, and from schools that still do not have power, will be sent to other locations when classes resume on Monday. The alternate locations, which could involve dividing some schools across multiple sites, had not yet been finalized this afternoon, Walcott said. (more…)
September 12, 2012
Most years at John Dewey High School, scheduling mistakes were scattered and quickly corrected, students say. But this year, they say, entire programs are wrong. And they say that so far, little has been fixed.
“All of our schedules are messed up, and a lot of the classes we want to take we can’t,” said Darlene Tinsley, a senior at the Brooklyn high school.
“I passed my classes in summer school, and they gave me all sophomore classes. I’m supposed to be a junior,” said Debra Galindez. “I heard everything was done in mid-August and they didn’t really look at anyone’s transcripts.”
Over at High School of Graphic Communication Arts in Hell’s Kitchen, Jamie Striharsky, a senior studying photography, said disorganization reigned on the first day of school, with many students scheduled for classes they did not request — including one calculus class with so many students it filled three classrooms.
“There were 90 something kids,” she said in a phone interview last week. “As of now, I don’t even think there’s a teacher for the class. there was a security guard, and to be honest they were just like, ‘let’s move the kids out, the first 30 come here, the next 30, come here.’” (more…)
July 2, 2012
The city canceled meetings with the teachers and principals unions today as its lawyers prepare to seek a restraining order against a ruling that reverses thousands of hiring decisions at 24 struggling schools.
Both the United Federation of Teachers and the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators planned to meet with city officials this afternoon to figure out what would come next for the schools, which had been slated to undergo an overhaul process called “turnaround.” The process involved radically shaking up the schools’ staffs, which total more than 3,500 people. But the arbitrator’s ruling undid all of the changes.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew said the meeting was already on his agenda by Friday afternoon, just hours after the arbitrator ruled that the city’s staffing plans for the schools violated its contracts with the unions.
A main agenda item would have been figuring out a mechanism for staff members who were not rehired at the schools to reclaim their positions. Another issue, Mulgrew said on Friday, was whether the city and unions might instead try to hash out a teacher evaluation agreement for the 24 schools so they could undergo less aggressive overhaul processes and still qualify for federal funding.
But this morning, the city told the unions that the meetings were off.
Mayor Bloomberg explained this afternoon that he thinks the city should not have to abide by the arbitrator’s ruling until the arbitrator explains his reasoning. (more…)
June 19, 2012
The hiring process has hit snags at several “turnaround” schools where teachers have been told to reapply for their jobs this year.
Staff from many of the 24 schools that the city will close and reopen this year under a reform model called turnaround are complaining they are facing confusion and misinformation over who qualifies to be rehired and what will happen to teachers who are not rehired. At a handful of the schools, interviews were delayed by days because of last-minute administrative changes and unexpected time pressures. And some of the school-based hiring committees are working long hours but still falling behind.
Department of Education officials say the rehiring process is underway at all schools and is moving smoothly considering the sheer number of interviews that must be conducted. Any teacher from the schools who applies to stay on is guaranteed an interview, and about 2,600 of them have. They represent 85 percent of the 2,995 teachers currently working in the schools.
“All of the committees are up and running,” said Marc Sternberg, the deputy chancellor overseeing the turnaround initiative. “Some are ahead of others, and some are getting momentum now. Offers are starting to be made.”
But teachers at the schools say the interviews and offers are coming only after logistical hangups that complicated an already stressful process in the waning weeks of the school year. (more…)
June 12, 2012
With the 24 turnaround schools deep into the hiring process, a small handful of teachers gathered in front of Tweed this afternoon to show their opposition despite the rain.
Protesters from John Dewey High School Lehman High School grimly described their uncertain futures. But they did not renew any pleas to Department of Education officials to stop the turnaround. They were joined by several teachers from Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School, which the city placed on its original list of turnaround schools but later removed.
Marian Swerdlow, the FDR union chapter leader-elect, said she and several colleagues turned out this afternoon to show their support and register opposition to all school closures. She stood stone-faced in front of the DOE headquarters in a United Federation of Teachers rain poncho, holding a crumpled sign that read, “the turnaround model is all wet.”
The city cannot make any final hiring decisions at the 24 schools, which are closing this summer and immediately re-opening under the reform model known as ‘turnaround.’ But hiring committees made up of city and teachers union officials, school administrators and parents in each of the schools have been busily conducting back-to-back interviews with teachers hoping to keep their jobs. (more…)
April 18, 2012
The feeling at two Queens high schools Tuesday evening was as much pep rally as protest during public hearings about the city’s plans to close the schools in June.
The city wants to close and reopen the schools, Long Island City High School and Newtown High School, under the federally prescribed reform process known as “turnaround.” The process would require many teachers to be replaced, a prospect that students said has induced anxiety about what classes and clubs would be offered next year.
Students and teachers said unique elective and extracurricular options that currently exist — including boys gymnastics, robotics, and guitar — are a large part of what makes the schools special. They urged the Department of Education to preserve those features and revert to other improvement plans that would cause less disruption.
At a third school whose turnaround hearing took place last night, John Dewey High School, students and teachers have been mounting a vigorous defense since January, when the turnaround plans were announced. The three schools are among 26 whose turnaround proposals are likely to be approved when the Panel for Educational Policy votes on them next week.
Newtown High School
The crowd at Newtown gave forth whoops and cheers for every teacher who spoke, for every mention of the school’s winning robotics team, and for every nod to longstanding principal – and Newtown alum – John Ficalora.
But before there was cheer, there was tension when a top Department of Education official, Deputy Chancellor David Weiner, had not shown up 20 minutes after the meeting was supposed to begin. At 6:20 p.m., with Weiner an estimated 20 minutes away, Jesse Mojica, the Department of Education’s executive director for Family and Community Engagement, tried to start the meeting without him. (more…)
April 16, 2012
Debate about the city’s controversial plan to “turn around” 26 struggling schools did not pause for spring break, with a legislative hearing and protest focusing on the proposals last week.
But the school-based closure hearings, required as part of the turnaround process the city is trying to use, did go on hiatus. Now, after holding 15 hearings in the weeks before the break, the city has a dozen more to race through this week.
The turnaround plan will go on trial tonight at August Martin High School, whose principal was replaced the day before the break began. Supporters of Flushing High School, where a hearing will take place on Wednesday, are holding a rally this morning in Queens. Teachers at Brooklyn’s John Dewey High School, who were among the first to begin protesting the turnaround plans in January, are planning to turn out en masse at the school’s hearing on Tuesday. And supporters of Bushwick Community High School, whose low graduation rate is by design because it serves only students who have fallen behind in other schools, will make yet another attempt to convince Department of Education officials to keep their school open.
A full list of the hearings taking place this week is at the right. (more…)