Under a new assessment system, the state Education Department last week identified 16 Queens schools that were failing to help disadvantaged students make progress on state exams.
The schools were among 221 singled out across the state where low-income students, English language learners, students with disabilities and those of certain ethnic and racial groups scored in the bottom 5 percent on math and English tests or with graduation rates below 60 percent for the past few years.
Eight borough high schools the city attempted to restructure last year — Newtown in Elmhurst, Grover Cleveland in Ridgewood, Flushing, August Martin in South Jamaica, Richmond Hill, John Adams in Ozone Park, William Cullen Bryant in Astoria and Long Island City — were automatically added to the list.
The other schools put on the list were Martin Van Buren in Bellerose, Beach Channel in Rockaway Park, Jamaica, Excelsior Preparatory in Springfield Gardens, MS 53 in Far Rockaway, JHS 8 in South Jamaica, IS 192 in Hollis and PS 111 in Long Island City.
In May, the U.S. Department of Education granted New York state a waiver to the No Child Left Behind Act, which the state argued set unrealistic and unattainable goals.
“The state’s new system more closely resembles the city’s school Progress Reports by recognizing growth and measuring students’ college and career readiness,” said city Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.
While the new system has resulted in fewer schools being identified as struggling compared to last year, the state noted that “interventions and supports will be more intensive and extensive.”
The city will be required to come up with a comprehensive improvement plan that will be implemented at each school no later that the 2014-15 school year.
The poor-performing designation gives the city more flexibility on how it spends federal dollars at schools with large low-income student bodies, and makes available new funding through the Obama administration’s Race to the Top Initiative.
It also makes the schools eligible to apply for School Improvement Grants, although the state withheld the city’s SIG funding last year when the city DOE and United Federation of Teachers failed to come to an agreement on a teacher-evaluation system.
The state also recently released its report on school violence for the 2010-11 school year. No borough schools were added to the list of persistently dangerous schools.
Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4574.
©2012 Community News Group
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