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Queens Chronicle

Most Queens Renewal Schools survive

Two in Rockaway will be closed; Four boro sites ‘Rise’ above the initiative

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Posted: Monday, December 18, 2017 11:31 am

All but two Queens Renewal Schools will remain open after student test scores, attendance and other factors improved over a three-year period, though some will have to stay in the program for an additional year, the Department of Education said Monday. 

The two borough sites slated for closure at the end of the school year are PS 42 and MS 53, both in Rockaway. 

The agency says seven others elsewhere in the city should be shuttered. 

The DOE said the closures, which will be voted on by the Panel for Educational Policy in February, were based on the schools’ test scores, enrollment, graduation rates, college readiness and more. Students at those sites will be “better served at the stronger school options available to them,” the agency said.

Additionally, 21 schools previously in the renewal program will now be labeled “Rise Schools,” ones that have met at least 67 percent of their benchmarks and have “demonstrated a sustainable school improvement structure” to build on with fewer resources from the DOE.

They will still be tasked with meeting target goals and must develop and enact a plan to meet them over the next two years.

In Queens, the Rise Schools are the Pan American International High School in Elmhurst, PS 197 in Rockaway, JHS 8 in Jamaica and John Adams High School in Ozone Park. 

Each will also receive new computer science instruction as part of the Computer Science for All program and new AP courses.

Those not named a Rise School will remain in the Renewal School program for another year in an attempt to meet or surpass benchmarks by next November, the DOE said. In Queens, the schools remaining in the renewal program are Flushing High School, Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village, August Martin High School in Jamaica, Richmond Hill High School, Long Island City High School and PS 111 in Long Island City. 

Those schools will be instructed to use extended learning time to close “specific achievement gaps in math and literacy,” and staff and leadership changes will be made there as well.  

The Renewal Schools initiative created longer school days at some struggling institutions, while providing $150 million in resources to address crucial issues.

Mayor de Blasio said at the start of the program in 2014 that those that did not show improvements would be closed. Some, including Public Advocate Letita James, have been critical of the program, saying it has not accomplished its intended purpose. The DOE is also proposing to close five other schools not in the renewal program — none are in Queens. 

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