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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

No closure on horizon for Clinton

By Sarina Trangle
Posted

 

DeWitt Clinton High School has been spared by the Department of Education. 

The DOE announced Tuesday that it would craft an action plan to improve DeWitt Clinton High School instead of closing, phasing out or truncating the school, as it had considered doing earlier this fall. 

After Clinton received its second consecutive “F” on the annual school Progress Report in November, the department flagged the 3,720-student school for early engagement. During early engagement, the DOE meets with students, teachers and parents to solicit feedback that will help the department decide what action to take. 

Although the department had targeted the school because it said Clinton fell within the 5 percent of lowest performing high schools statewide and was plagued by persistent safety concerns, it relented after hundreds of alumni, parents, students and staff spoke out against tampering with Clinton at a Dec. 6 meeting.

“Based on feedback we received from the DeWitt Clinton school community and a thorough review of multiple school data, we believe that developing an action plan will lead to the best outcome for current and future students,” DOE spokesman David Pena wrote in an e-mail.

Such a strategy may include changing Clinton’s leadership, enhancing professional development, directing more grants to the school or creating smaller learning environments by reducing enrollment. The DOE gave no timeline for when the action plan would be drafted or implemented.

Alan Ettman, an English teacher and the United Federation of Teachers chapter leader at Clinton, said he supports the idea of the DOE replacing the administration since Principal Geraldine Ambrosio had planned to retire before early engagement talks began.

Ms. Ambrosio did not return a call for comment.

However, Mr. Ettman said Clinton would continue to fight an uphill battle unless the department revised its enrollment practices or directed more resources to the school. 

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