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Jamaica HS, Campus join impact list

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The campuses will join seven other "impact schools," including Newtown High School in Elmhurst, on the city's list of dangerous schools. Violent crime at Jamaica High rose by 50 percent from September through Jan. 7 of this year over the same period last year and overall crime jumped 47 percent at Campus Magnet, according to the Department of Education.Officials at the two schools could not be reached for comment because of the winter holiday.Impact schools are based on the Police Department's impact zone program in which extra officers are deployed to high crime areas. In schools, the increased force is paired with a zero tolerance policy for breaking the discipline code.Impact schools also get extra resources for counseling, peer mediation and conflict resolution, said Department of Education spokeswoman Dina Paul Parks."It's a pretty holistic program," she said. "They also look at a number of other kind of indicators of what's happening in the school," including attendance and graduation rates, she said.Since the program began in January 2004, 15 schools that were labeled impact schools have been taken off the list. Mayor Michael Bloomberg cited drops in violent crime of 16 percent this year and 45 percent last year at these schools.But some were skeptical of the program. State Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica), the former president of the District 28 Community Education Council, said more of the burden of improving violent schools falls on parents and the students themselves."Until young people decide they are going to go to school to get an education, we're going to have that problem," she said.Huntley added that Springfield Gardens High School, which was on the impact list from January to September 2005, is still a source of complaints for her office. The school reported a 42 percent drop in crime during that period, according to the DOE."I don't know if they're any better," Huntley said.At Campus Magnet, the former site of Andrew Jackson High School, the school has already been divided into four small schools, which is one of the administra­tion's answers for large troubled high schools. Some suggested that was could be a source of problems."You create more bureaucratic bumbling because now you have four principals in one school," said Walter Lynch, a former member of the Citywide Council on High Schools. "Some campuses it worked well, other campuses it didn't."Reporter Craig Giammona contributed to this report.

Posted 7:16 pm, October 10, 2011
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