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FACT SHEET:

School for Community Research and Learning (08X540)


December 2010

Fact Sheet: Proposed Phase-out and Replacement Scenario for


the School for Community Research and Learning
Overview
 Based on an extensive review of data and community feedback, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) has
determined that the School for Community Research and Learning (SCRL) is unable to turn around and cannot provide a
high-quality education to its students. The DOE is proposing that SCRL be phased out.
 Proposing to phase out 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. SCRL would complete phasing out in
June 2014. The replacement process would also be gradual. Bronx Bridges High School opened in the Adlai E. Stevenson
building where SCRL is located and began enrolling ninth grade students in September 2010. Bronx Bridges High School
would gradually phase-in as SCRL’s enrollment decreases and would be fully phased in by June 2014.
 We hope you share our view that we can—and must—do better for students. The DOE will continue to work closely with
SCRL staff and families to ensure that all students receive the support they need to succeed in school.

Summary
 In 2009-2010, the four-year
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graduation rate (including August graduates) at SCRL was 53%, well below the
citywide average of 63%.
 Last year, SCRL earned an overall D grade on its Progress Report, with a D grade on Student Performance, a D grade on
Student Progress, and a C grade on School Environment. The Progress Report results for SCRL put the school in the
bottom 6% of all high schools that received a 2009-2010 Progress Report.
 Last winter, the Panel for Education Policy (PEP) voted to phase out SCRL based on evidence that the school was unable
to improve student performance significantly. A lawsuit prevented the DOE from following through with those plans. The
performance of SCRL over the last year reaffirms that SCRL continues to struggle.
 SCRL staff and families have worked hard to improve the school. The DOE has also offered considerable support to
SCRL, including extensive training for school leadership and teachers, creating opportunities for students to participate in
campus athletic teams and clubs, and working with the school to help students who have fallen behind get back on track to
graduate. Unfortunately, these efforts have not turned the school around.
 During conversations with the SCRL community, parents had some positive feedback about several hard-working
teachers and the school’s new website but expressed concerns about a lack of communication from the school. They
said the school does a particularly poor job of staying in touch with parents of struggling students.

What would the proposal mean for current students?


If this proposal is approved, SCRL would be phased out gradually over the next several years. Below are enrollment plans for
current SCRL students, if the school is phased out.

 Current first-time ninth grade students would have the option of completing high school at SCRL or may participate in
the high school admissions process and apply to attend a different school as a 10 th grader in September 2011.
 Current repeat ninth grade students would complete high school at SCRL if they earn credits on schedule. As the
school becomes smaller, these students would receive more individualized attention through graduation to ensure they are

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The graduation rate cited here represents the City’s calculation of the four-year graduation rate on the school’s 2009-2010 Progress
Reports. It is similar to the State method, and typically there is only modest deviation between our calculation and the State rate. Citywide
four-year graduation rates for the Class of 2010 are still being audited by the New York State Education Department and will likely not be
available until Spring 2011. The most recent available four-year graduation rate (including August graduates) for New York City was 63%
for the Class of 2009 and the citywide Regents graduation rate for the same year was 46%.

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receiving the support they need to succeed. Students would also be encouraged to meet with their guidance counselor to
review progress toward graduation and consider applying to a transfer school.
 Current 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students who are on track to graduate would complete high school at SCRL if they
continue to earn credits on schedule. As the school becomes smaller, students would receive more individualized attention
through graduation to ensure they are receiving the support they need to succeed. Students would also be encouraged to
meet with their guidance counselor to discuss all of their options.
 Current 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students who are not on track to graduate should meet with their guidance
counselor to discuss options. Students could complete high school at SCRL or consider applying to a transfer high school.

If SCRL is phased out, the school would no longer admit new ninth grade students after the end of this school year. SCRL
would continue to serve students currently enrolled in the school until the school completes phasing out in June 2014.

Background
SCRL Has Struggled for Years
 Last year, SCRL’s four-year graduation rate (including August graduates) was 53%, well below the citywide average of
63%. SCRL’s graduation rate ranks in the bottom 12% of high schools citywide and in the bottom 18% of high schools in
the Bronx. In 2008-2009, the four-year graduation rate at SCRL was 44%, placing the school in the bottom 5% of high
schools citywide and in the bottom 3% of high schools in the Bronx.
 If Regents diplomas alone counted toward graduation—as will be the case next year—the 2009-2010 four-year
graduation rate at SCRL would drop to 26%, well below the citywide average of 46%.
 SCRL earned an overall D grade on its Progress Report last year, with a D grade on Student Performance, a D grade on
Student Progress, and a C grade on School Environment. SCRL ranked in the bottom 6% of high schools citywide
receiving a 2009-2010 Progress Report. SCRL earned an overall C grade on its 2008-2009 Progress Report, with a D grade
on Student Performance, a D grade on Student Progress, and a B grade on School Environment.
 Last year, only 76% of first-year students at SCRL earned at least 10 credits. That same year, only 48% of students in their
second and 51% of students in their third year accumulated at least 10 credits. Earning at least 10 credits is a key predictor
of future student success because students who fall behind often have trouble getting back on track to graduate.
 The school’s attendance rate continues to be very low. Last year, the attendance rate was 79%, seven percentage
points below the citywide average of 86% for high schools. In fact, this attendance rate is among the very lowest for
any high school in New York City, placing SCRL in the bottom 12% of high schools in regard to attendance. In
2008-2009, the attendance rate was 78%, placing the school in the bottom 9% citywide in regard to attendance.
 SCRL was rated “Proficient” on its most recent Quality Review in 2007-2008. During Quality Reviews, experienced
educators 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. “Proficient” is equivalent to a score of three
out of four.
 Safety issues have been a concern at SCRL in recent years. On the 2009-2010 New York City School Survey, 28% of
students reported feeling unsafe in the hallways, bathrooms, and locker rooms. That same year, 9% of parents expressed
concerns about their children’s safety. In addition, 39% of teachers reported that discipline and order were not maintained
at the school.

Demand for the School is Low, Suggesting that Families Are Seeking Better Options2
 Demand for SCRL has fallen over recent years. SCRL has one limited unscreened program to which students may apply
through the high school admissions process. Demand for SCRL has declined from 3.3 applications per seat for September
2009 enrollment to 2.4 applications per seat for September 2010 enrollment for the same number of seats.

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Audited enrollment data are not yet available for the current school year. Enrollment data are from the 2009-2010 school year, audited as
of October 31, 2009. Demand data reflect high school admissions applications submitted in early December 2009 for students beginning
high school in September 2010. This data captures the demand for SCRL prior to the DOE’s proposed phase-out of SCRL. As a result,
these enrollment and demand figures do not reflect the impact of that proposed phase-out announcement.
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Despite Our Best Efforts, Performance at the SCRL Remains Low


We recognize that SCRL staff members have worked hard to improve the school, but the school has not turned around. Over
the previous years, the DOE has offered numerous supports to the SCRL, including:

Leadership Support:
 Helping the principal develop the SCRL’s Comprehensive Education Plan and set school goals.
 Training for school leadership in writing curriculum and implementing the new state standards.
 Connecting administrators with other schools to learn effective practices that could be replicated at SCRL.
Instructional Support:
 Training around improving classroom instruction, curriculum planning, and lesson design.
 Supporting the creation of individualized training plans for each faculty member to enhance formal and informal classroom
observations.
 Helping SCRL select grade-team and department leaders; team leaders meet weekly to discuss ways to improve school
culture and student achievement.
 Supporting the school’s use of data to improve instruction for English language learners, special education students, and
students performing below grade level.

Operational Support:
 Coaching on budgeting, human resources, recruiting and retaining talented teachers, and compliance issues.
 Helping the school maximize its budget resources to align with school needs.
 Working with the school to increase student attendance and prevent freshman long-term absences.
Student Support:
 Training for the guidance counselor on how to use scholarship reports and graduation tracking systems.
 Helping SCRL create P.M. school classes for math and social studies.
 Creating opportunities for students to participate in campus athletic teams, clubs, and the Lehman College partnership,
which gives students access to literacy tutoring, work-study, and a campus health clinic.

We Know That We Can Do Better


Like most New York City public schools, SCRL serves a high-need population: 26% of students require special education
services and 15% are English language learners. But other schools serving similar students have achieved far better results.
 At Morris Academy for Collaborative Studies, a Bronx school, 25% of students require special education services and
19% of students are English language learners. That school achieved a 67% four-year graduation rate in 2009-2010, with
35% of students earning Regents diplomas.
 While all students are still not where we’d like them to be, these schools are getting far better results while serving a
similar mix of students to SCRL.

Community Feedback
On November 15, 2010, Bronx High School Superintendent Elena Papaliberios held meetings with the School Leadership
Team and parents at the school to discuss what is working at SCRL, what isn’t working, and how we can work together to
serve students better. Parents had some positive feedback about several hard-working teachers and the school’s new website
but expressed concerns about a lack of communication from the school. They said the school does a poor job of staying in
touch with parents of struggling students.

Supporting Current and Future Students


We Remain Focused on Helping SCRL Students Succeed
During the proposed phase-out, the DOE will build on our past efforts to help the school by:
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 Providing teacher training around issues including curriculum planning, improving teaching practices, and tailoring
instruction to individual student needs.
 Fostering opportunities for teachers and administrators to connect with colleagues in other more successful schools,
allowing them to learn from one another, improve teaching, and better support students.
 Facilitating partnerships with community-based organizations to support youth development initiatives at the school.

What You Can Expect


Within the next two weeks, you will receive a letter notifying you that the formal proposal to phase out SCRL has been
published and that a joint public hearing to be held at the school has been scheduled. The joint public hearing will be held in
January 2011 by the DOE, District 08 Community Education Council and SCRL’s School Leadership Team, among others.
The Citywide Council for High Schools will also be invited to participate in the joint public hearing. During this hearing,
community members, including parents and students, will be able to share their thoughts on the phase-out proposal.

The proposal to phase out SCRL will be voted on by the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP), which is composed of members
appointed by Mayor Bloomberg and the five Borough Presidents, during a public meeting scheduled for the first week of
February 2011. During this meeting, the public will have another opportunity to comment on the proposal. If the PEP
approves the proposal, SCRL will not accept new ninth grade students next school year.

Sharing Your Concerns and Questions


The DOE is seeking your feedback on the proposal. We will record your comments and include them in our analysis of
public feedback, which is presented to the PEP prior to their vote on the proposal. Please submit any comments you have at:

Phone: 212-374-3466
E-mail: HS.Proposals@schools.nyc.gov

We also encourage you to visit the Website created to serve SCRL at


http://schools.nyc.gov/community/planning/changes/bronx/SCRL. We will update that Website regularly with important
dates, answers to frequently asked questions, and new information as it becomes available.