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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Clinton community speaks out against DOE co-locations

Sarina Trangle
Posted
Osjua A. Newton/The Riverdale Press
High School Senior Fatima Uddim, 17, holds up a sign at a Feb. 21 public hearing to protest the Department of Education’s proposal to co-locate two new schools inside DeWitt Clinton.

Clarification appended.

José Mejia delivered a math lesson at the Feb. 21 hearing on co-locating two other high schools at DeWitt Clinton.

The high school senior said that while his 12 years of schooling may look meager next to the degrees obtained by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other Department of Education officials, a few diplomas couldn’t compare to the 116-year history threatened by the DOE’s plan to introduce two district schools into Clinton next fall.

“Our school isn’t just the Macy program. It’s much more. And by taking away more programs and adding in new schools, you’re not just going to kill the resources, but you’re going to kill DeWitt Clinton’s spirit,” José said. “Our legacy is going to die.”

Regardless of whether the Panel for Education Policy approves the co-locations, education officials say they will cut Clinton’s student body by about 1,550 students and phase out half of its academic programs over the next four years to allow the school to focus in on individual students’ needs.

Beginning in September, the school will no longer admit freshman into its animal professions, future teachers and public and community service tracks. Macy honors gifted program in the sciences and humanities, health professions and business enterprise will continue accepting students.

The DOE aims to expand the community’s access to quality education by filling the building’s new space with two high schools. If approved, both schools would start with about 105 to 115 freshman in 2013-2014 and add a grade every year until their registers included between 420 and 460 students apiece in 2016-2017, according to the DOE’s educational impact statement on the proposal.

The schools would share large spaces such as the library, pool, Montefiore school based health center, alumni office, dance studio, two record rooms and three gyms.

Dozens of people who showed up at the hearing said the co-locations would not help Clinton improve its 50 percent four-year graduation rate or to move away from the “priority” label it received for ranking among the 5 percent of lowest performing schools in the state.

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