J.H.S. 80 changes name

While history may record that Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Penny Marshall once attended there, JHS 80 is now itself history.

The New York City Department of Education has wiped away over 90 years of school history by giving it a new name.

The iconic school, voted by the DOE to undergo the federal “turnaround” program, has been renamed the Norwood Academy for Communal Excellence at the Isobel Rooney Campus. The idea behind that mouthful of a name came from the new school’s proposed principal in collaboration with community leaders.

All that remains of its former title is Isobel Rooney, a beloved school board member who donated her entire life to the school. She was the school’s first Community School Board president who ran the CSB from 1970 to 1995.

The decision to keep part of the original name comes much to the chagrin of parents, students and education activists, who pleaded with members from the Panel for Educational Policy last month to keep the entire original name of the school at 149 E. Mosholu Parkway.

Deputy Chancellor Dr. Dorita Gibson, who oversaw the meeting, said she would relay the information to Chancellor Dennis Wolcott. She “heard the passion” and was able to honor part of the community’s request.

With the school now in “turnaround” mode, the DOE can request upwards of $1.8 million federal dollars to tweak the school’s curriculum.

Board members can also re-staff the school, laying off nearly 50% of teachers, under the new guidelines. Those removed can re-apply.

The UFT filed a lawsuit in response to the citywide re-staffing move early this month.

They claim the DOE circumvented the union’s contract agreement by laying off teachers in opened schools.

Both sides agreed to arbitration, granting meditators the right to decide whether the DOE violated its agreement with the UFT. A decision is expected by next month.

Hiring decisions on new teachers can be reversed by the arbitrator’s ruling.

As the Bronx Times has been reporting, JHS 80 is one of ten schools in the Bronx voted to be virtually closed and re-opened under a new school name by September.

Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or email [email protected].