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9 Bronx middle and high schools may be cut

Bronx Times

The borough’s historic DeWitt Clinton High School and eight other borough middle and high schools have landed on the endangered species list.

The schools are facing major shakeups - or possible closure - after barely scraping by in city Department of Education report cards.

The DOE warned the schools that they could wind up on the chopping block if they don’t shape up.

The nine Bronx schools, among 24 struggling secondary schools across the city, are: in District Eight, Herbert H. Lehman High School and Holcombe L. Rucker School of Community Research; in District Nine, Bronx High School of Business, Jonathan Levin High School for Media and Communications and Leadership Institute; in District 10, DeWitt Clinton, Fordham Leadership Academy for Business and Technology, and West Bronx Academy for the Future; and in District 12, Bronx Regional High School.

Deputy Schools Chancellor Marc Sternberg said the DOE has begun “early engagement conversations” with the schools.

“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.”

Clinton report card

The largest school in terms of enrollment with 4,159 students, DeWitt Clinton is housed in a historic building on Mosholu Parkway.

But neither size nor historic sensibilities prevented the school from earning an overall F in the progress report released on Monday, Nov. 26.

The school, with a 90.4% enrollment of Hispanic and African-American students, received an overall grade of a 37.2 out of a possible 100, putting the school’s overall score greater than or equal to just 2% of DOE high schools.

Clinton slipped from the 12th percentile of high schools in 2010 to the 2nd percentile this year, the report stated.

In terms of a breakdown of the overall failing grade, the school received F’s on Student Progress (earning class credits and passing Regents Exams), Student Performance (graduation rates and types of diplomas earned), and School Environment, as well as rank of just 2.8 out of 16 for “closing the achievement gap.”

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 Clinton earning a B.

The school was rated as “underdeveloped” in terms of “instruction that prepares students for college and careers, school organization, and quality of learning environment,” with a quality review grade of 44 out of 100.

DeWitt Clinton’s attendance rate was 78%, according to its report.

C’s, D’s and F’s

As for other Bronx schools on the report card:

•Lehman received a D on its overall progress report, but a B for its College and Career Readiness, with an ranking in the fourth percentile of DOE public high schools.

•Holcombe Rucker got an overall progress report of a D, but received a C in student performance and college and career readiness.

•Bronx High School of Business received an overall grade of a C, but got an F in terms of student performance.

•Leadership Institute earned an overall grade of a D - which was made up of Ds on student progress and school enviorment and Cs in student performance and college and career readiness.

•Jonathan Levin received an overall grade of a D - comprised of Fs in student progress, student performance, and college and career readiness, and a C in school environment.

•Fordham Leadership Academy for Business and Technology got an F on the overall report card - by way of Fs in student progress and school environment, a D in student performance, and a C in college and career Readiness.

•West Bronx Academy’s middle school got a D on its overall progress report, and a C on overall progress report card grade for the high school.

•Bronx Regional High School received an overall grade of an F, never rising above an F except in college and career readiness, where it got a D.

The full reports 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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