herbert lehman high school

'Dramatic Intervention'

New York

Confusion reigns at schools affected by arbitrator's hiring rule

New York

At two schools not saved from turnaround, the hearings go on

Grover Cleveland High School students march around the Ridgewood, Queens school's perimeter before the closure hearing. When public hearings about the city's plans to "turn around" two large high schools began last night, few of their supporters had heard that other schools had been spared the aggressive reform process. Herbert H. Lehman High School and Grover Cleveland High School were not among seven top-rated schools that the city announced yesterday would not undergo turnaround after all. The controversial process requires schools to close and reopen with new names and many new teachers. A third school slated for a public hearing Monday night, Brooklyn's School for Global Studies, had its turnaround plans withdrawn. But at Lehman and Cleveland, the hearings went on without interruption — with students, teachers, and graduates at each offering more than three hours of testimony about their schools. Cleveland Diana Rodriguez, the senior class president at Cleveland, saw the surprising news about changes to the turnaround list on her phone during a pre-hearing rally organized by students. “Obviously Cleveland is not on the list. This is very disappointing for us but we will not give up,” she said. “Tonight we will show that we have a voice and will not give in.” That voice grew strained over the course of the afternoon and evening from loud chants and cheers. Before the closure hearing, Rodriguez led a band of students — including one dressed in a tiger costume — on a march around the neighborhood. As they passed the Q54 bus on Metropolitan Avenue, the driver honked repeatedly at the procession and other cars joined the chorus. More students joined when the group returned to the school's entrance on Himrod Street, until the rally swelled to nearly 50.
New York

A Lehman teacher reflects at start of week's turnaround hearings

Hearings This Week Monday School for Global Studies, Brooklyn Grover Cleveland HS, Queens Herbert H. Lehman HS, Bronx Tuesday HS of Graphic Communication Arts, Manhattan William Cullen Bryant HS, Queens Wednesday J.H.S. 166 George Gershwin, Brooklyn Thursday I.S. 339, Bronx Richmond Hill HS, Queens Among the many people set to attend a hearing tonight about the city's plan to "turn around" Herbert H. Lehman HIgh School is a teacher who has spent time on both sides of the documentary eye. James McSherry, who has taught writing and film at Lehman for the last 20 years, was the subject of not one but two recent student reporting projects at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. In one story (above), by Nabil Rahman, McSherry empathizes with his students and shares pieces of his life story, saying, "I know what it's like to be hungry, to be lost, to be forgotten by a system that really doesn't care." A second story by Alex Robinson (below) focuses on the turnaround plans and McSherry's response to them. McSherry won't be alone in opposing the turnaround plan tonight. Anne Looser, the school's UFT chapter leader, sent a press release last week drawing attention to the hearing and calling on the Department of Education to keep Lehman open with the same teachers. And students, too, are organizing to oppose the turnaround plan, which would require the school to be closed and reopened with a new name and many new teachers. Lehman's hearing is among eight taking place this week. They are listed at the right.
New York

PEP okays slate of co-locations but tables some contract votes

Teachers and students from Lehman High School were among those protesting the slate of city co-location plans at Wednesday's Panel for Educational Policy meeting. More than 60 parents, teachers and students trekked to Chelsea last night to beg Panel for Educational Policy members to reject a slate of space-sharing proposals. As usual, the panel approved all of the proposals — but when it came time to vote on a series of contracts later in the evening, three were tabled unexpectedly after several members said they could not cast impartial votes. Three panel members who were appointed by Mayor Bloomberg said their ties to the City University of New York were too close to allow them to vote on contracts relating to CUNY. After they recused themselves, an unusual occurrence, four panel members who comprise a consistent opposition block also said they would not cast votes on the contract, making it impossible for the contracts to get enough votes to pass. The panel did approve a $20 million, three-year contract for six nonprofit groups that have been working since last summer in 14 schools that were supposed to get money from the federal government through the School Improvement Grant program. That money did not materialize after the city and teachers union were unable to agree on new teacher evaluations. Now the city plans to ask the state to restore the funds when it submits applications for "turnaround" at the schools — but the restoration wouldn't happen until next year. The panel members okayed a $6.5 million payment for the partnerships for this year. The contracts will be canceled next year if the state does not restore the federal funds at the schools, according to a Department of Education spokesman. The turnaround plans are not on the agenda until next month's panel meeting, but they came up again and again on Wednesday evening. Several of the proposed co-locations were set for schools that could be closed and reopened under the turnaround program, drawing criticism from parents and students who attended the meeting.
New York

As some schools protest turnaround plans, others wait and see

New York

City adds high schools, charter schools to possible closure list

Three schools that are getting millions of dollars in federal aid are among 27 schools newly added to the list of schools that could be closed. Department of Education officials announced today that they had added 17 high schools, six charter schools, and the middle school grades of four secondary schools to the list of schools they are considering closing. The schools join 20 elementary and middle schools where the city began "early engagement" meetings in September about . The high school additions include three schools receiving federal "transformation" funding; troubled Lehman High School, which handed out the most suspensions in the city by far; and most schools that got F's on this year's progress reports. Seven of the schools are in the Bronx, where large high schools say they are straining to serve high numbers of needy students; five in Manhattan; three in Brooklyn; and two in Queens. Department officials compiled the shortlist by looking at schools’ progress report grades, their Quality Reviews, the results of state evaluations, and the efforts they’ve already undertaken to improve. But in holding early engagement meetings, the department hopes to learn why the schools are struggling and whether other efforts could help them, according to Marc Sternberg, the DOE deputy chancellor in charge of school closures. Echoing an argument that advocacy groups are pushing at schools on the potential closure list, teachers union president Michael Mulgrew said he thought the department was not entering the engagement meetings in good faith.
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