Sheepshead Bay H.S. Slated For Closure And “Turnaround,” Hearing To Be Held March 28

A rally to save Sheepshead Bay High School when it faced closure in 2010.

You may have heard rumors that Sheepshead Bay High School is closing down to be replaced by four smaller academies operating under one principal. That is not the case, and no decisions have been made, but the school still faces a major overhaul.

The Department of Education is proposing to reform the Sheepshead Bay High School using the “turnaround” model. This means the city will rename the school and replace the principal and 50 percent of its teachers.

(There will be a public hearing on this proposal on March 28. The full information on the hearing can be found at the bottom of this article.)

The school stands to gain $1.55 million in federal funding from the School Improvement Grant program using this model.

Unlike other reform models, this does not mean they’ll be a flood of students pushed out of Sheepshead Bay High School and into other schools. All students will be automatically re-enrolled in the new school, which will also stay in line with Sheepshead Bay High School’s current programming of five Career and Technical Education programs and special education services.

The turnaround model means a dismissal of all of its teachers, who are then invited to reapply and interview for their jobs. The new administration is permitted to rehire up to 50 percent of the old teachers.

It’s not the first time the school has been on the chopping block, most recently protesting in November 2010 to stay open – a battle it won. The school’s principal also vowed to fight for her job.

We recently wrote about how the same model will soon be deployed at nearby William E. Grady High School, despite drastic improvements in recent years.

Similarly, Sheepshead Bay High School has been improving – though not as severely – in certain areas. The school’s overall grade dropped from a C to a D in the most recent progress reports. However, the school has demonstrated steady improvements over the past three school years in its first-year student achievements, graduation rates, regent diploma rates and attendance.

There will be a public hearing on this proposal on March 28 at 6:00 p.m. at the school (3000 Avenue X). Written comments can be submitted via e-mail to D22Proposals@schools.nyc.gov, and oral comments can be left at 212-374-0208.

The Panel for Educational Policy will vote on the proposal on April 26.

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