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Lehman once again warned by DOE of possible closure

Bronx Times

Here we go again!

Lehman High School may once again face a shakeup - or possible closure -after barely scraping by in a city Department of Education report card.

The DOE warned the east Bronx school that it could wind up on the chopping block if it doesn’t shape up.

Lehman was among 24 secondary schools citywide on the DOE’s annual report card released Monday, Nov. 26 that Deputy Schools Chancellor Marc Sternberg said are struggling.

Eight other Bronx high schools and middle schools were also named on the endangered list.

D’s and F’s

Lehman’s latest DOE progress report gave the school a D, with an overall score of 40.5 out of a possible 100, greater than or equal to four percent of high schools citywide.

The school received Fs in student progress (earning class credits and passing Regents Exams), student performance (graduation rates and types of diplomas earned), and school environment.

Sternberg said the DOE has begun “early engagement conversations” with the school.

“These are difficult but important conversations to have to ensure that we are holding our schools to the highest of standards,” said Sternberg. “The goal of these discussions is to gain a better understanding of what’s happening at these schools and give them the opportunity to talk about the challenges they face; the strategies and interventions already underway; and what strategies or interventions will be most meaningful to the school as they move forward.”

The one positive in the report was College and Career Readiness, the measure of how well the students are prepared for life after high school, with Lehman earning a B.

The school was rated as “developing” in terms of “instruction that prepares students for college and careers, school organization, and quality of learning environment,” the same score as rating as year - below well-developed and proficient but higher than underdeveloped.

Pols respond

Both Assemblyman Michael Benedetto - a former teacher - and Councilman Jimmy Vacca ripped the DOE, with both saying that the situation had deteriorated at Lehman over the past few years because of DOE’s own mismanagement of the school.

Benedetto was disheartened that the DOE’s position was once again that the school may close, this time for the 2013-14 school year.

“The uncertainty that the DOE created last year by trying to close Lehman, they are creating again,” said Benedetto. “This must stop. The fact is that all of Lehman’s current problems are caused by DOE’s own failed policies.”

Last year the school was put on a list for “turnaround” as part of a federal program. Before courts blocked the move, this could have resulted in removing up to half the school’s staff, into a citywide substitute teaching pool.

“One minute the Department of Education states they are determined to turn Lehman High School around,” said Vacca. “Now its on a possible closure list.”

Both Vacca and Benedetto said that the school has started to improve, with Benedetto offering words of support for Lehman principal Rose LoBianco .

According to the progress report, Lehman has a four-year graduation rate of 50.2% and a six year rate of 64%, with attendance at 78.6%.

Some 23.8% of students have a Individualized Education Plan in place - meaning they meet federal criteria of being labeled with a learning or other disability.

The full report can be found on the DOE’s website at schools.nyc.gov.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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