53 Bronx schools placed on state’s ‘shape up or close’ list

Almost half the city’s 123 schools placed on the state’s newly released warning list need to shape up or face closure are in the Bronx.

Fifty three Bronx schools, ranging from elementary to high schools made up 43 percent of the list of 221 failing schools across New York state issued by the state Department of Education.

They represent the bottom five percent of all state schools, based on federal government guidelines.

That includes graduation rates below 60 percent and low test scores.

Among the Bronx high schools on the list are Christopher Columbus, John F. Kennedy, Lehman, Dewitt Clinton, Banana Kelly, Samuel Gompers, Grace Dodge, Jane Addams and Alfred Smith.

Lehman High School was recently placed on the city Department of Education’s reorganization plan, and had its name changed Throggs Neck High School, with half the teachers there required to re-apply for their jobs.

But the city lost both a court case and an appeal after both the United Federation of Teachers and the Council of Supervisors & Administrators filed a lawsuit to halt the change.

The city now has until next month to come up with plans to improve the situations at those schools on the state’s list.

And according to published reports, it must reach an agreement on new teacher evaluations by January or face the loss of some state funding.

“There is still more work to do, and we will continue to support our struggling schools while holding them accountable to the high standards our students deserve,” New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said in a statement.

The state had to produce the list of failing schools – as well as the teacher evaluation method – to qualify for a waiver from the No Child Left Behind federal mandate.

According to GothamSchools, school districts can shift funding now used for after-school tutoring programs to the school improvement plans for an extended learning day and slighty more spending on parent involvement.

State education officials said some schools can work their way out of the “priority” designation if they show significant improvement this school year, but they must still stick to their reform program for three years.

For a complete list of schools on the state’s Priority Schools list, go to www.p12.nysed.gov/accountability/documents/2012-13PrioritySchools.xls.