The New York State Department of Education has designated 12 New York City schools as “persistently dangerous” for the year 2010-2011.
Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), a school will qualify as “persistently dangerous” if it has, in two consecutive years, reported the occurrence of such serious crimes as homicide, sexual offenses, robbery, assault leading to personal injury, kidnapping, reckless endangerment, arson and possession, use or threatened use of a weapon.
The New York City schools making the list for 2010-2011 include four each in the Bronx and Manhattan, two in Brooklyn, and one apiece in Queens and Staten Island.
Is your child’s school listed here?
J.H.S. 123: James M. Kieran School (District #8)
1025 Morrison Avenue, Bronx, NY 10472
Phone: (718) 328-2105
At one time boycotted by parents frightened by reports of students ripping fixtures out of walls and dunking other students’ heads in toilets, this school’s pupils are said to be struggling academically, with a standardized test score ranking of 2. J.H.S. 123 also houses a pre-K to Kindergarten program, and hit the “persistently dangerous” list for the first time in 2009.
I.S. 190 (District #12)
1550 Crotona Park East, Bronx, NY 10460
Phone: (718) 620-9423
I.S. 190 is a middle school housed in the building formerly occupied by P.S. 61, an elementary school. Some of its mismatched furniture is said to be too small for the older children. With a test score ranking of 2, the school puts strong emphasis on technology, but 200 students must share 35 laptops. New to the list for 2010-2011.
P.S. 12: Lewis & Clark School (District #75)
2555 Tratman Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461
Phone: (718) 409-9040
A special education school, P.S 12 serves a population of 305 ninth-grade students with a ratio of seven pupils to every one teacher. This school first hit the “persistently dangerous” list in 2007.
I.S. 229: Dr. Roland N. Patterson School (District #9)
275 Harlem River Park Bridge, Bronx, NY 10453
Phone: (718) 583-6266
On New York State’s list of failing schools, this school’s atmosphere is a bit rowdy, in part because of its open floor plan. With classes separated by nothing more than dividers which reach neither from floor to ceiling nor wall to wall, students tend to wander in and out of classes other than their own. The installation of a new principal with good ideas could not prevent the school from making the list in 2009.
M.S. 332: University Neighborhood Middle School (District #1)
220 Henry St., Manhattan, NY 10002
Phone: (212) 267-5701
This Lower East Side school, housed in the former J.H.S. 56 building, opened in 2004. The school has a dress code and rewards children with good behavior “points” which can be redeemed for items from the school “store” or tickets to a dance. In spite of its good intentions, M.S. 332 first hit the “persistently dangerous” list in 2009.
J.H.S. 344: Academy of Collaborative Education (District #5)
222 W. 134th St., Manhattan, NY 10030
Phone: (212) 694-8750
With its stated aim of offering its students “intensive mathematics and technology programs,” J.H.S. 344 hopes to favorably position them for future success in related fields. This did not keep the school from making the list in 2009.
M.S. 256: Academic and Athletic Excellence (District #3)
154 W. 93rd St., Manhattan, NY 10025
Phone: (212) 222-2857
Despite its auspicious name, new school building and new principal, M.S. 256 reportedly has a way to go before achieving excellence in the academic arena. Emphasis on distinction not withstanding, this school first made the “persistently dangerous” list in 2009.
P.S. 63: William McKinley School (District #1)
121 E. Third St., Manhattan, NY 10009
Phone: (212) 674-3180
This East Village school boasts small class sizes, but poor test scores. The school assigns “job titles” to its students: “EMTs” are tasked with escorting sick classmates to the school nurse, “Recess Buddies” befriend lonely classmates, and “Reporters” make school announcements. In spite of its good intentions, P.S. 63 was added to the “persistently dangerous” list in August 2009.
J.H.S. 226: Virgil I. Grissom School (District #27)
121-10 Rockaway Blvd., Queens, NY 11420
J.H.S. 226 suffers under an extremely large student body of over 2,800, requiring the services of two principals. The sheer size of its population has been held partially responsible for a number of teacher assaults, gang violence and student knock-downs in the hall. The addition of surveillance cameras and security guards has not succeeded in keeping this school off the “persistently dangerous” list, on which it first appeared in the year 2009.
P.S. 22 (District 17)
443 St. Marks Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238
Phone: (718) 857-4503
Originally built to serve Pre-K to 3, now serves fourth and fifth grades as well, with many of its older students bused in from other parts of Brooklyn. Its suspension rate stands above the average for N.Y.C. elementary schools, and some students have been caught with knives. P.S. 22 first hit the “persistently dangerous” list in the year 2009.
P.S. 231 (District #75)
5601 16th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11204
Phone: (718) 853-1884
This “Special Ed” school serves approximately 274 students with a student-teacher ratio of 4-1. Eighty-five percent of its student body is male, and 15 percent are Limited English Proficient. Hit the list in 2009.
P.S. 14: Cornelius Vanderbilt School (District #31)
100 Tompkins Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10304
P.S. 14 mainly groups its students in “mixed-ability” classes. However, each grade also has a “top class” into which any student can enter based on academic excellence, high test scores, and teacher recommendation. The school focuses most intensely on mastery of the English language. Despite the cozily-curtained classrooms and nurturing teaching style, P.S. 14 first managed to hit the “persistently dangerous” list in the year 2007.
My child’s school is on the “persistently dangerous” list. What should I do?
The No Child Left Behind Act gives parents the right to transfer their children out of any school which has made the “persistently dangerous” list. If your child’s school appears on this list, it should have sent you a letter explaining your transfer rights.
If you wish your child to remain where he is, do nothing. You are not required to transfer your child. However, if you decide to do so, ask the principal of your child’s current school for a transfer form. Make sure to file before the deadline, and keep a copy for your own records. You can make your preference of new school known, but in the end, the final decision rests with the school district.
By encouraging the creation of these lists of persistently dangerous schools, the No Child Left Behind Act aims to empower parents of public school students to make the best choices for their children.
Education Law Center