List of schools that will get new management grows to 22

The list of low-performing schools the city plans to improve with a management-change next year grew to 22 today, when officials added 13 schools to the nine they announced yesterday.

This group of schools will begin what’s known as the “restart” improvement plan next fall. The restart plan is one of four programs districts can take on in order to win federal grants aimed at improving the country’s lowest-performing schools. It calls for putting an ailing school under new management.

Though city officials would have liked to use two of the other school improvement plans, they were unable to convince the teachers union to go along. Two of those plans — transformation and turnaround — would have required the union to allow the city to remove principals and teachers at some of these schools.

Under the restart model, the city will pair schools with non-profit education management organizations — a plan that’s less invasive than firing teachers or removing a school’s principal. One major question is whether it’s invasive enough.

Already, every public school in the city belongs to a support network whose job it is to give them instructional and operational guidance. These networks can make recommendations about which teachers should receive tenure, which principal should be selected to fill a vacancy, and who the school should hire for professional development, among other things.

“The value-added here is we’ll now have organizations that have explicitly come to us and expressed interest in turning around specific schools,” said DOE spokesman Jack Zarin-Rosenfeld.

“These schools will basically have an extra partner that’s more heavily focused on them, as opposed to a network, which is more generalized,” he said.

Education management organizations that sign on to partner with schools will have contracts with the city and will be paid with a portion of the federal grant money. City officials would not say how much those contracts will be worth.

Officials also announced today that a total of nine schools that are eligible for the federal improvement grants will not receive them next year. Plans to overhaul these schools, all of which could begin any of the improvement models next year, will be put on hold for another year while the city decides whether to close them or improve them as they are.

Schools that will undergo the restart model:

Washington Irving High School*
Boys & Girls High School
Sheepshead Bay High School
August Martin High School
William Cullen Bryant High School
Bushwick Community High Schoo
Herbert Lehman High School
Banana Kelly High School
Bronx High School of Business
Grace Dodge Career and Technical High School
John Dewey High School
Newtown High School
Grover Cleveland High School
Richmond Hill High School
John Adams High School
I.S. 339
J.H.S. 80 Mosholu Parkway
M.S. 391
John Ericsson Middle School
J.H.S. 22 Jordan L. Mott
I.S. 136 Charles O. Dewey
J.H.S. 166 George Gershwin

*Schools in italics were added to the list today

Schools that will not receive improvement grants next year:

High School of Graphic Communication Arts
Harlem Renaissance High School
W.H. Maxwell Career and Technical High School
Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical High School
Samuel Gompers Career and Technical High School
Jane Addams High School for Academic Careers
Fordham Leadership Academy
J.H.S. 142 John Philip Sousa
J.H.S. 296 The Halsey

*Schools in italics were added to the list today

Weekend Reads

Need classroom decor inspiration? These educators have got you covered.

This school year, students will spend about 1,000 hours in school —making their classrooms a huge part of their learning experience.

We’re recognizing educators who’ve poured on the pizazz to make students feel welcome. From a 9th-grade “forensics lab” decked out in caution tape to a classroom stage complete with lights to get first graders pumped about public speaking, these crafty teachers have gone above and beyond to create great spaces.

Got a classroom of your own to show off? Know someone that should be on this list? Let us know!

Jaclyn Flores, First Grade Dual Language, Rochester, New York
“Having a classroom that is bright, cheerful, organized and inviting allows my students to feel pride in their classroom as well as feel welcome. My students look forward to standing on the stage to share or sitting on special chairs to dive into their learning. This space is a safe place for my students and we take pride in what it has become.”

Jasmine, Pre-K, Las Vegas, Nevada
“My classroom environment helps my students because providing calming colors and a home-like space makes them feel more comfortable in the classroom and ready to learn as first-time students!”


Oneika Osborne, 10th Grade Reading, Miami Southridge Senior High School, Miami, Florida
“My classroom environment invites all of my students to constantly be in a state of celebration and self-empowerment at all points of the learning process. With inspirational quotes, culturally relevant images, and an explosion of color, my classroom sets the tone for the day every single day as soon as we walk in. It is one of optimism, power, and of course glitter.”

Kristen Poindexter, Kindergarten, Spring Mill Elementary School, Indianapolis, Indiana
“I try very hard to make my classroom a place where memorable experiences happen. I use songs, finger plays, movement, and interactive activities to help cement concepts in their minds. It makes my teacher heart so happy when past students walk by my classroom and start their sentence with, “Remember when we…?”. We recently transformed our classroom into a Mad Science Lab where we investigated more about our 5 Senses.”


Brittany, 9th Grade Biology, Dallas, Texas
“I love my classroom environment because I teach Biology, it’s easy to relate every topic back to Forensics and real-life investigations! Mystery always gets the students going!”


Ms. Heaton, First Grade, Westampton, New Jersey
“As an educator, it is my goal to create a classroom environment that is positive and welcoming for students. I wanted to create a learning environment where students feel comfortable and in return stimulates student learning. A classroom is a second home for students so I wanted to ensure that the space was bright, friendly, and organized for the students to be able to use each and every day.”

D’Essence Grant, 8th Grade ELA, KIPP Houston, Houston, Texas
“Intentionally decorating my classroom was my first act of showing my students I care about them. I pride myself on building relationships with my students and them knowing I care about them inside and outside of the classroom. Taking the time to make the classroom meaningful and creative as well building a safe place for our community helps establish an effective classroom setting.”


Jayme Wiertzema, Elementary Art, Worthington, Minnesota
“I’m looking forward to having a CLASSROOM this year. The past two years I have taught from a cart and this year my amazing school district allowed me to have a classroom in our school that is busting at the seams! I’m so excited to use my classroom environment to inspire creativity in my students, get to know them and learn from their amazing imaginations in art class!”


Melissa Vecchio, 4th Grade, Queens, New York
“Since so much of a student’s time is spent inside their classroom, the environment should be neat, organized, easy to move around in but most of all positive. I love to use a theme to reinforce great behavior. I always give the students a choice in helping to design bulletin boards and desk arrangements. When they are involved they take pride in the classroom, and enjoy being there.”

moving forward

After Confederate flag dispute at Colorado football game, schools pledge to bring students together

PHOTO: Marc Piscotty
Manual High students.

Acknowledging “we may never have a conclusive picture of what happened,” two Colorado school districts sought to move past a controversy over whether a Confederate flag was displayed at a football game and open a conversation between the two school communities.

The principal of Manual High, Nick Dawkins, wrote in a community letter over the weekend that the visiting Weld Central High School team “displayed a Confederate flag during the first quarter of the (Friday night) game, offending many members of the Manual community.”

Officials from Denver Public Schools and Weld County School District Re-3J released a joint letter Tuesday saying that based “on what we have learned to date, however, the Weld Central team did not display the Confederate flag.” At the same time, it said, multiple Manual eyewitnesses “reported seeing spectators who attempted to bring a Confederate flag into the game and clothing with flag images.”

Going forward, students from the two schools — one rural and one urban — will participate in a student leadership exchange that has student leaders visit each other’s schools and communities to “share ideas and perspectives,” the letter says.

“At a time in our country when so many are divided, we want our students instead to come together, share ideas and learn together,” says the letter, which is signed by the principals of both schools and the superintendents of both school districts.

The alleged incident took place at a time when issues of race, social injustice, politics and sports are colliding in the United States, making for tough conversations, including in classrooms.

Weld Central’s mascot is a Rebel. Manual, whose mascot is the Thunderbolts, is located in one of Denver’s historically African-American neighborhoods.

Dawkins in his initial community letter also said “the tension created by the flag led to conflict on and off the playing field,” and that three Manual players were injured, including one who went to the hospital with a leg injury. He also said some Manual players reported that Weld Central players “taunted them with racial slurs.”

Weld Central officials vehemently denied that their team displayed the flag. In addition, they said in their own community letter they had “no evidence at this point that any of our student athletes displayed racially motivated inappropriate behavior.”

They said district officials “do not condone any form of racism,” including the Confederate flag.

Weld Central fans told the Greeley Tribune that they didn’t see any Confederate flag.

Read the full text below.