NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLYOFFICE OF ASSEMBLYMEMBER ARAVELLA SIMOTASFor Immediate ReleaseApril 4, 2012Contact: Samantha Darche, 917-763-7694
Simotas Holds Rally to Save Bryant High School
Community and Leaders Speak Out Against DOE’s ‘Turnaround’ Proposal atBryant
ASTORIA, N.Y.- Assemblymember Aravella Simotas held a rally at William Cullen Bryant HighSchool yesterday in opposition to the NYC Department of Education’s proposal to dramaticallyoverhaul the structure of the western Queens institution.Simotas, a Bryant alumna, was joined by State Senator Michael Gianaris. Councilmember JimmyVan Bramer, community leaders, and Bryant students, teachers and parents in calling on the city toreconsider Bryant’s designation for the “Turnaround” model.“Our students come first, and we should always work to make improvements that ensure they getthe best education possible,” Simotas said. “But these drastic changes will only increaseuncertainty and stunt any progress that students, teachers and administrators have been able tomake.”"Putting Bryant High School through such an extreme turnaround would do more harm than goodand would undoubtedly jeopardize students' ability to learn,” State Senator Michael Gianaris said.“The disruption such a move would cause will hinder the education of those who should be firstand foremost in our minds. Our children deserve a good education provided by caring teachers,which can be achieved without invading and 'turning around' the entire school, its faculty and itsfunctionality."Bryant is on the state’s list of “Persistently Lowest Achieving” (PLA) schools. While the schoolshad originally been approved for targeted, less intrusive intervention models, Mayor MichaelBloomberg recently announced in his “State of the City” address that he would now attempt toimplement the “Turnaround” model. This approach, which needs state approval, would give thecity authority to close PLA schools, reopen them under new names and replace up to half of theteachers and staff.