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NYC DOE Fact Sheet On Closure Of IS 231 In Queens

NYC DOE Fact Sheet On Closure Of IS 231 In Queens

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Published by: City Limits (New York) on Dec 06, 2010
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NEW YORK, NY 10007
UPDATED FACT SHEET:I.S. 231 (29Q231)December 2010
Fact Sheet: Proposed Phase-out and Replacement Scenario forI.S. 231 Magnetech 2000
Based on an extensive review of data and community feedback, the New York City Department of Education (DOE)has determined that I.S. 231 is unable to turnaround and cannot provide a high-quality education to its students. TheDOE is proposing that I.S. 231 be phased out and replaced.
Proposing to phase out and replace a school is the most difficult decision we make. We are proposing this
action because we think it’s the right thing for current and future
students in this community.
The phase out process would be gradual and happen over the next several years. The school would complete phasingout in June 2013.
The replacement process would also be gradual. Two or three new schools would be opened in the building where I.S.231 is located and would begin enrolling sixth grade students next September. The new schools would gradually grow
as I.S. 231’s enrollment decreases. The new school
s would serve the same area as I.S. 231 and would be located in thesame building that currently houses I.S. 231.
We hope you share our view that we can
and must
do better for students. The DOE will continue to work closelywith I.S. 231 staff and families to ensure that all students receive the support they need to succeed in school.
I.S. 231 Magnetech 2000 has struggled for years.
Last year, only 25% of students were on grade level in English,and only 21% of students were on grade level in math
putting I.S. 231 among the lowest-performing schoolsin the entire City.
I.S. 231 earned an overall D grade last year on its Progress Report, with D grades in both the Student Progress andStudent Performance sub-sections. The school did earn a B grade on the School Environment sub-section.
I.S. 231 staff and families have worked hard to improve the school. The DOE also provided considerable support toI.S. 231, including extensive training for school leaders and teachers, helping the school restructure into small learningcommunities, and working with the school to secure partnerships with community-based organizations. Unfortunately,these efforts have not turned the school around.
During conversations with the I.S. 231 community, we heard concerns about how the school is not challengingor properly supporting its students and a lack of communication between parents and the school. While the
community had some positive comments about the school’s leadership and recent improvement in school
culture, we do not believe these components are enough to move I.S. 231 in the right direction.
What would the proposal mean for current students?
If this proposal is approved, I.S. 231 would be phased out gradually over the next few years. However, current sixth andseventh students would stay at I.S. 231 as it phases out.Below are the enrollment plans for current I.S. 231 students, if I.S. 231 is phased out and replaced.
Current sixth, seventh, and eighth grade
would complete middle school at I.S. 231.I.S. 231 would no longer admit new sixth grade students after the end of this school year. Next school year, I.S. 231would serve students in grades seven and eight. Then, during the following school year, I.S. 231 would only servestudents in grade eight. Phase out would be complete in June 2013.
I.S. 231 Has Struggled for Years
The overwhelming majority of I.S. 231 students remain below grade level in English Language Arts and math.
Last year, only 25% of students were performing on grade level in English
putting I.S. 231 in the bottom 44%of schools citywide and making I.S. 231 the lowest-performing middle school in District 29.
Last year, only 21% of students were performing on grade level in math
putting I.S. 231 in the bottom 12% of middle schools in the entire City and again making I.S. 231 the lowest-performing middle school in District 29.
With so few students performing at grade level, I.S. 231 students must make substantial progress to get back on track.Unfortunately, I.S. 231 is in the bottom quarter of middle schools citywide in terms of learning growth in English andin the bottom 5% of middle schools citywide in terms of learning growth in math. If such poor performance continues,I.S. 231 students will fall even further behind their peers in other schools.
I.S. 231 earned a D grade last year on its Progress Report, including D grades on the Student Progress and StudentPerformance sub-sections. I.S. 231 earned an overall grade of C in 2008-2009 and an overall grade of D in 2007-2008,making this the third consecutive year that I.S. 231 earned a grade of C or lower on its annual Progress Report.
I.S. 231 was rated
on its most recent Quality Review in 2009-2010. During Quality Reviews, experiencededucators spend several days visiting a school, observing classrooms, and talking to staff, students, and parents.Schools are rated on a four-point scale
with “well
developed” as the highest rating.
During the 2008-
2009, the school’s attendance rate was 92%, equal to the average attendance rate for middle schools
citywide, but still ranking I.S. 231 in the bottom quarter for District 29 when it comes to middle schools.
Safety issues have been a concern at the school.
On the 2010 New York City School Survey, one in threestudents
reported feeling unsafe in the hallways, bathrooms, and locker rooms at I.S. 231. Parentsalso worry about the safety of their children at I.S. 231, with 24% reporting that they felt their children wereunsafe at school.
Demand for the School is Low, Suggesting that Families Are Seeking Better Options
I.S. 231 is a zoned school, but only 35% of zoned students attend. This means that 65% of students who areguaranteed a seat at the school choose to enroll elsewhere.
Despite Our Best Efforts, Performance at I.S. 231 Remains Low
We recognize that I.S.231 staff members have worked hard to improve the school, but the school has not yet turned
around. To help the school’s efforts to improve performance, t
he DOE has provided numerous supports to I.S.231including:
Leadership Support:
Offering the principal extensive training on using the Quality Review rubric as a tool for school improvement,formative assessments, Coordinated Early Intervention Services (CEIS), and ARIS, and on understanding NewYork State Education Department Differentiated Accountability (AYP) and essential learning outcomes.
Helping the principal develop I.S. 231’s
Comprehensive Education Plan and set school-wide goals.Connecting administrators with other schools to learn best practices that could be replicated at I.S. 231.
Instructional Support:
Training for teachers on individualized instruction, comprehension strategies, teaching English languagelearners, analyzing data and using it to inform instructional decisions, aligning formative assessments tostandards, and classroom management strategies.Working with I.S. 231 to implement Action 100, a program
that helps educators identify students’ level of 
understanding in individual subjects and strategies to help students improve.Restructuring the school into small learning communities.Helping I.S. 231 reorganize its school day into double period time blocks in order to maximize the time studentsspend on lessons.
Operational Support:
Guidance on implementing grant funding: $35,000 was used for coaching arts teachers, integrating the arts intoinstruction, partnering with cultural groups, math tutoring programs, teacher training, and trips to Brookhaven
National Science Laboratory and Calabro Airport; $27,000 was given to the school to start a bilingual Haitianprogram; and a $50,000 RESO-A grant was issued for upgrading technology.Extensive budget guidance to help administrators align resources to meet school needs.Coaching for school staff on human resources, recruiting and retaining talented teachers, building management,and operational compliance issues.
Student Support:
Helping the school implement Reach for Tomorrow, which is a computer program that allows students to work independently on math skills, and peer mediation/conflict resolution programs such as the National GuardProgram for at-risk boys and the Gifted Empowered Mature Scholars (GEMS) program for at-risk girls.Working with the school to secure student incentives for improved attendance; incentives included flights insingle-engine planes with the Young Eagles at Calabro Airport, the opportunity to participate in a DNAextraction at the Brookhaven Laboratory, and the chance for a free summer program at the University of California-San Diego.Supporting enrichment partnerships with the Lincoln Center Theatre, Manhattan Chamber of Dance, FlushingArts Council, Center for Culture, Studio in a School, Classroom Inc. Chelsea Bank Program, and UrbanAdvantage.
We Know that We Can Do Better
Like most New York City public schools, I.S. 231 serves a high-need population: 11% of students require specialeducation services, 4% are English Language Learners (ELLs), and 78% of students qualify for free or reduced-pricelunch. But other schools serving similar students have achieved better results.
At Jonas Bronck Academy, a Bronx school, 16% of students require special education services, 11% of students areELLs, and 85% of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. At that school, 40% of students are on grade levelin English, and 60% of students are on grade level in math. In addition, Jonas Bronck ranks in the top 43% of schoolscitywide in helping students make progress in English and in the top 13% of schools citywide in helping studentsmake progress in math.
At M.S. 319 Maria Teresa, a Washington Heights school, 6% of students require special education services, 37% areELLs, and 99% qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. At that school, 22% of students are on grade level in English,and 44% are on grade level in math. In addition, M.S. 319 ranks in the top quarter of schools citywide in helpingstudents make progress in math.
While all students are still not where we’d like them to be, these schools are getting better results while serving a
similar mix of students to I.S. 231.
Community Feedback
On October 27, 2010, District 29 Superintendent Lenon Murray held a School Leadership Team meeting and a parent
meeting at the school to discuss what is working at I.S. 231, what isn’t working, and how to work together to better serve
students. Approximately 40 parents attended.
While they had some positive comments about the school’s administration,
they also had concerns about the school. Parents said:
The school is not challenging or properly supporting its students; there is a lack of student motivation andencouragement.
There is a lack of communication between parents and the school; as a result, parents do not have strong partnershipswith teachers.
Overall parent involvement must be improved.The School Leadership Team expressed some similar concerns, but highlighted recent improvements in school cultureand programs. However, these efforts are not enough to move I.S. 231 in the right direction.
Supporting Current and Future Students
We Remain Focused on Helping I.S. 231 Students to Succeed
During the proposed phase out, the DOE will build on our past efforts to help the school by:

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