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New York

City makes way for screened Beacon High School's expansion

New York

Grads honored for overcoming obstacles credit their supporters

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake. The death of a parent. Physical disability. Algebra 2. Those are just some of the obstacles faced by 193 members of the class of 2012 who convened on Tweed Courthouse last week for a reception of Remarkable Recipient Award winners. Each high school principal can nominate one student for the award, now in its sixth year. GothamSchools spoke with some of the honorees at the event to find out what helped them through their toughest times — and what academic work will stick with them even as high school fades into the past. Tashelle Woods, School of Legal Studies, Brooklyn Tashelle Woods is not only the first in her family to go to college, but the first to graduate from high school, and maybe even complete the ninth grade. Woods suffered the loss of both parents and five half-siblings, and she also endured myriad health problems, including lymphedema, asthma, and a cancerous mass on her thyroid. Undaunted, this fall, she will attend Alpharetta State College in Georgia, where she plans to study biology or health science. Inspired by her own doctors, she aims to be a pediatrician or a pediatric nurse. What helped her through her toughest times: "My doctors are my outlet for me. I'm very comfortable around them. They made this whole process of me recovering and getting diagnosed with different things easier. Growing up it was just my mother — I call her my mother, but she's my grandmother — and she's 69 right now, so a lot of things, she was not up to par about, she didn't have knowledge about.
New York

In HS admissions numbers, hints of change at selective schools

An earlier timeline for the city's high school admissions process didn't equate to a higher match rate between students and schools. Data released today by the Department of Education about high school admissions show that 90 percent of the 77,137 eighth-graders who applied to high school this year were matched with a school during the first round of the city's admission process, just under half to their first-choice schools. But about one in 10 did not get into any school, roughly the same proportion as last year, when the city induced a flood of applications to top schools by listing schools' graduation rates in the high school directory for the first time. Students who did not get a seat will have to choose from schools that did not fill up in the main round of the admissions process, likely because too few students sought spots in them. The data also reveal at least small strides in two enrollment areas the city has identified as problems. First, the number of black and Hispanic students offered spots at the city's specialized high schools inched upward, although it remains woefully low. Plus, students with disabilities will also get a second chance to win admission to a number of selective schools as part of a city initiative to require those schools to enroll more special education students. The admissions decisions, which schools will begin distributing to students today, come a full month earlier than the city has ever before informed most students about their high school placements. That's because the city shifted this year to a unified admissions schedule for the first time.
New York

A year after fatal field trip, Walcott ramps up trip regulations

With end-of--year excursions planned at many schools, the city has adopted new rules for field trips, particularly those that involve water. The new regulations come nearly a year after Nicole Suriel, a sixth-grader at Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, and Engineering, drowned during a field trip to a Long Island beach. An investigation found that the school had not collected permission slips for the trip and took the students to a beach that was not patrolled by lifeguards. Now, schools will have to collect Department of Education permission slips for each trip, ensure that lifeguards are present when students swim and that lifejackets are worn during other water activities, and send extra chaperones on trips with more than 30 students. The new rules were developed during a review process that began after Suriel's death, department officials said. Typically, the Panel for Educational Policy must approve new regulations before they can go into effect, but Chancellor Dennis Walcott decided that the field trip rules should be adopted immediately on an emergency basis. “Tragically, last year we lost one of our students in an accident on a school field trip to the beach. While we can never change history, we can take action to prevent future tragedies and better protect our students on field trips," Walcott said in a statement. "That is why today I signed an emergency order expanding supervision requirements for field trips and strengthening guidelines around swimming."