Southern Brooklyn

Sheepshead Bay HS Rallies To Oppose Closure


The city again expanded its list of schools in need of closure or transformation, and Sheepshead Bay High School remains in the cross-hairs.

But administrators aren’t going along with the city’s plan without a fight. The principal is pleading for more time, and enlisting the community in a David versus Goliath battle with the city. A rally we be held at the school on Friday, November 19, at 3:00 p.m. to show support for the school.

We first wrote last year that officials were considering Sheepshead Bay H.S. (3000 Avenue X) for closure, but at the time the principal denied the claims. Since then, the city’s list of “persistently lowest achieving” high schools swelled from about a dozen to 34 – and now 47 – including the addition of John Dewey High School at 50 Avenue X, and William E. Grady Vocational High School at 25 Brighton Fourth Road.

The list of targets was created as part of a proposal for Race to the Top, a federal grant program aimed at encouraging states to be aggressive in fixing or closing their lowest performing schools. New York State stands to gain about $500,000 for every school it reforms using one of the federal government’s four models, which range in action from replacing the principal to closing the school entirely.

But the principal is now saying that Sheepshead Bay High School doesn’t belong on the list.

The four-year graduation rate is up to 63 percent, from 49 percent five years ago, according to Reesa Levy, the principal, and most students enter below grade level.

“We are working diligently on our academics,” she told the New York Times. “We improved our graduation rate; we make annual yearly progress. We believe, given a little more time, we could meet all of our targets.”

The school has already been granted a reprieve, after lawyers from the teachers’ union slapped the city with a lawsuit. At issue was a violation in the way schools and their communities were informed. In response to the action, the city implemented a new process, requiring at least four meetings to be held at each school. Parents, staff and the community can object to closure during the meetings.

With the new process – and the four options of transformation available to the city – it’s still unclear whether or not Sheepshead Bay High School will close. The city’s final decisions on all imperiled high schools are expected in mid-December.

Comment policy


  1. So the plan is to close nearly all south Brooklyn high schools and put tens of thousands of students where? Just John Dewey HS has 3500 students…

    As funny as “Walmart” answer is, it could seriously be their only option since nobody is hiring without at least a HS diploma. Better be a big Walmart, will need more space… How about closing a middle school too (IS 14)?

  2. Well.. as much as I hate kids who go to these HS’s including Lincoln.. hehe I think that they should stay open. If you close all these schools.. what happens to students? They will be assigned to new HS’s where they will be able to bring that schools grad rate down and .. with that in mind… what.. they will start closing every single school? If kid is a dumb-ass there is no helping him.

  3. If Sheepshead “closes” the building will not be boarded up. It will become a campus with 2 or 3 or 4 different schools in it, each using a separate entrance. It is the Bloomber / Klein / Gates model. Small is better. Whatever.

  4. Well, there ARE things you can do. You can attend the meetings, as noted in the article. We will try and let you know when those meetings are. It remains to be seen if they’ll be responsive to community opposition, as the meetings/hearings are a new element in school closings like this.

  5. I could not imagine that the Dept of Ed would be responsive to community opposition. Data is being used and abused to prove whatever the Dept of Ed wants. If Bill Gates is gonna give money to small schools, there will be small schools.

  6. Hundreds of them to hire all of the kids without high school diplomas.

    We shall be told shortly that an education is not a right, but a privilege. And the sweat shops ands child labor will return.

    Things were so much better before universal education and child labor laws.

  7. Fix the system! Make the parents bring their kids to the meetings with them! Make the children CARE! That’s the problem, they don’t care so they don’t read or study or anything. Kids go to school to show off what their parents bought them and to “hook up” with each other. They don’t care about school or what’s going to happen to all the people that lose their jobs.
    It’s the parents responsibility to MAKE them care, force them to study, force them to think, yup I said THINK, not about crap but about school.
    You guys are totally missing the point here if we all just sit here and say “off with those schools”. Yeah I want to get rid of these “bad” schools just as much as the next person, BUT what will that do? Where will they go? The system is already as messed up as it can be.
    Smaller class sizes, more teachers, and MORE PARENTS involvement is what these schools need. I hope that gets brought up in these meetings. Otherwise they are completely useless in my opinion.

  8. Just another in the ever growing list of Bloomburg debacles. I could not understand why in his infinite wisdom, that the school books had to be replaced every year? I should know, because every summer, my company would deliver new books throughout the city. I remember as a child getting hand me down text books that were just as good as new ones, and didn’t cost my parents an arm and a leg.

  9. I agree mostly all of my books were hand me downs. There was nothing wrong with it. Even my collage books were 2nd’s or 3rd which we would call them used books.

  10. Had trouble sleeping last night thinking about this, that what was once a great school (I thought), graduating seniors to Brown, Yale, MIT, etc. (not me, but others) — and during Abe Beame’s day, when the city really was bankrupt — has come to this. Dewey is uneasy under the same sword. Sheepshead had wonderful teachers who worked hard to make sure we did way more than just pass those tests, we aced them, we APed in all subjects.So, what’s changed? Is it really the standardized testing? Students came to these schools from all over Brooklyn back then, as they do now. The city was in far worse shape then.Sometimes I think the Mayor wants to scuttle South Brooklyn into the ocean.

  11. As a student at John Dewey High School, I really care about this. Here is a website that Im going to help manage that talks about these “Fight Back Fridays” that are going on all over NYC.

  12. It always amazes me to see kids that are in public schools that get so much and so many programs handed to them do nothing with it. Tons of money thrown down the toilet….I dont really blame the kids….I blame the parents. Look at catholic and private high schools. These parents make sure their kids are going to school and getting good grades. Catholic high schools have 100% graduation rate….why….because the parents are on top of them making sure they do what they are supposed to. Too bad for the students that are in these hell holes that have the ability to succeed. They should take the funds from these schools and give it to private and catholic schools where it will be used properly

  13. Please, instead of posting on a blog what “they shroud” do what don’t you as a taxpayer do something. At the minimum post a link to the money thrown down the toilet.

    Anyway, Catholic schools don’t have a 100% graduation rate, they can’t because they expel the students they don’t want. I can tell you that because they wind up in my kids public school

  14. You People Are Dumb. Number One if You Dont Attend Sheepshead Bay High School How Do You Know What Type Of School it is. “You People” Just Go By What You Hear Smh. The School is Fine.. it Went From Being One Of The Top Five Bad Schools in Brooklyn To Not Being On The List At All

  15. when i use to live across the street from it, i used to watch all the Fights it was really interesting how No one fights Fair…. it’ll always be like 4 kids beatin down on 1 kid who usually ends up being taking to the hospital…

    I dunno…..everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but from my perspective, it’s still shitty like it was, i mean they don’t even have Guards running out to break up the fights like madison does…..


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