Friday, February 24, 2017

The Renewal High Schools Continue To Lose Students.

Despite additional resources, a longer school day, and more money, the Renewal high schools continue to shed students.  Moreover, veteran teachers refuse to apply to these schools due to the added stress and accountability associated with teaching at the Renewal schools.  The result is an inexperienced and unstable teaching staff, who have a steep learning curve in the art of teaching and learning the curriculum.  Finally, parents refuse to send their academically proficient student to these struggling schools and since the DOE no longer allows these schools to get "over-the-counter" students, the schools continue to shed students.

For example, August Martin High School has shed 33% of the original 679 students since 2014.  In all the 31 Renewal high schools, only 3,371 students graduated, compared to 4,121 students back in 2013, the last year before the Renewal School program was established.  Worse yet, the 2016 graduation numbers is 10% less than the 2015 for all the Renewal Schools.

The dropout rate for the Renewal High Schools remain stubbornly high with 50% of the 31 Renewal High Schools having dropouts rates higher than before the Renewal program started. At the end of 2015 the 94 Renewal Schools shed 6,300 students since the start of the Renewal School program.

Since middle school students can choose to go to any high school they apply to, assuming they have the academic qualifications.  How does the DOE expect parents to subject their child as a guinea pig to an academically struggling school with an inexperienced teaching staff, and longer hours?  The answer is they don't.  Better yet how many of the DOE policymakers send their children to Renewal Schools?  How about "zero"! The DOE may claim they are turning the corner but the reality is the Renewal high schools are a failure and the DOE is simply pouring money in a bottomless black hole.

Its time to bring back the community high schools and zoning, while converting the Renewal School program back to a community high school. That's the only way to attract academically achieving students.


Anonymous said...

I am a pretty good experienced teacher and I have had good success with hard-to-teach students. But, I now work in a pretty good school by DOE standards. I have decent kids, colleagues, and admin. I have worked in 3 bad schools in my career. In each place the kids, colleagues, and admin made up the difficulty.

I couldn't leave a good job to work in a renewal school, not even for a big raise. Because, with Danielson, my data would be terrible. I would only work in renewal school if I got job security. I have said before, they should offer a pensionable raise and a waiver related to evaluations [so that you get a "protected" S rating or effective].

When we look at the closures, the ATRS, the Danielson nonsense, who could have faith that working in a renewal school by choice would be a good idea?

And yes, those schools will never be able to recruit good kids! What kids and parents would choose a failing school?

With Danielson, and in general, a teacher needs good kids in the classroom for high engagement and success on assessments.

So only desperate newbies will work in such renewal schools.

Anonymous said...

I've worked in a renewal school,HS for Contemporary Arts, in Evander. The staff was pleasant but dispirited . PD every day, during 4th period. Young principal that didn't know his ass from his elbow. Raging kids that were there to take art classes, but there was only one art teacher for the entire school. Most of the time they hung out in the stairwells or would run into any ATR or subs class. A complete free for all. Worse the chapter leader didn't seem to know basic rules, like you shouldn't have 50 students in a class or that ATRs couldn't be sent to other schools in the building to cover classes. (Although they did the same thing in HS for Writing and Communication Arts in the same building.) The teachers there were mostly veterans, miserable and told me they were only there because they were afraid of becoming ATRs.

Anonymous said...

Or forced Atrs with no choice would work in a renewal school.

Anonymous said...

Cubero is my friend but you right about him not knowing his ass from elbow

Anonymous said...

Chaz I really enjoyed this read. I'm a very experienced hs teacher in a decent school. I have seen it all and have some serious insight to the problems we face. Of course the ATR situation is a disaster, hiring kids off the street rather than placing our own. Renewal schools, make believe consultant positions, useless pd, class sizes, fair student funding, etc etc are top issues that if dealt with, the NYC system could actually start heading in the right direction. However I'd like to mention one key factor that I believe to be vital. You touched on it at the end of your piece here when mentioning "zoning".
Zoning works! Feeling good about your neighborhood, community and seeing families whom you live near heading to and from the school you are attending is so crucial and healthy. The amount of moms and dads I see each day and especially on the weekends, so be it at the local supermarket, church, dunking donuts, out for a jog, etc, really makes me feel part of the team. There's so many things going on in our neighborhood with the exact kids that go to my sons' schools. I compare to my school and I ask the kids where they live. One says near Yankee Stadium and another says all the way uptown. Another says Manhattan and another says co-op city. If you took a map of the Bronx and circled my school and then used different markers to draw a line from the school to where all these kids live, it would look like an American Airlines daily route plan. How kids are traveling 1 hour in all directions to attend any specific school is totally insane.
All kids have to take about 8 periods each day which include an English, Math, S.S., Science, Gym, and a Lunch. That's a guaranteed 6 classes out of 8 that must be taken at any high school. You can take English down the block from your house or you can take English an hour away, it's still English and it's the same class generally. Don't even think about telling me well in some schools the teachers are better. Gimme a break, it all evens out and if people think they can't get these 6 classes at their zoned school and have to send their child on a train and 2 buses because the school has the word "academy" or "leadership" in it, they are easily fooled by the DOE. So the remaining 2 classes are what/ Foreign Language, maybe music or art, maybe another. It's worth having thousands of kids travel hours and hours in all directions?
Isn't easier to zone a school and go to a building where you can represent your neighborhood and compete with the schools a mile or two away? It is so funny to see all these kids at my Campus wearing their senior hoodies, all different colors and logos. They don't even realize how silly it looks to have 3 schools on one floor. The experiences these kids are missing is such a shame.
Zoning is what revitalizes an environment. I said to my students, Do n'y you guys want to keep the community looking good? Their response was priceless, Mista, we don't live in this community.

Highly Effective King Clovis said...

Excellent points made 702. Excellent points made. I recall how at the school I was at last year we had to go do "intervisitations" with HSMSE. Well, we had to observe their teachers, they didn't really come into see our classes. Sometimes they did but they didn't last very long because they couldn't handle our kids.

I remember how after observing some classes, the A.P., our A.P. who wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed asked what we thought. It was great, obviously, because the kids were engaged in what the teacher was doing. The teacher wasn't doing anything special, they were reading White Man's Burden and discussing it in relation to Imperialism. I don't know a Global teacher who hasn't done that.

But I looked at my colleague, also a history teacher and we were like "what is the point of this?" There was literally nothing I could take from that class and apply it to my class. My kids were a lot different, had much greater needs and challenges that the school could not handle. And I know if you took my kids and put them in HSMSE, it wouldn't make a damn bit of difference.

I also remember one of those teachers coming in to teach a lesson for one of my colleagues. To show him "how it's done." So to speak. This was a class of 6 kids, Special Ed English, real tough, challenging kids. The regular teacher had a great rapport with them, it wasn't always perfect but it worked. This hot shot comes in and in about 10 minutes was like "I'm done."

It was humorous but also indicative of the sad situation. No matter what we did, we'd mostly get Developing, maybe some would get effective. Quite a few got Ineffective, and they weren't inneffective teachers. Meanwhile I would sometimes meet some teachers at HSMSE or La Guardia or take your pick of a good school when doing Regents grading. Always would be "Oh yeah, I got Effective" or "Highly Effective." And you look at what they do, yeah they have some stuff which is lights out, I think most of us do have some lessons that just kill it, but most of our stuff isn't that amazing.

So I don't know, I think the Zoning could have something to do with it. Won't make a bad school into a great school, but could do something towards helping it improve and making it respectable. Of course, the DOE has to give a crap, and I don't firmly believe they do.

Anonymous said...

FariƱa has failed, and has made things much worse.