Tech International to close, conceding defeat


Tech International Charter School in Kingsbridge will close its doors at the end of the school year, conceding it has fallen short of its goals, officials said, amid concerns about disciplinary and academic problems.

Officials at SUNY, which oversees charter schools, will continue working with Tech International through the end of the 2016-2017 school year to ensure its students, who attend grades six through eight, “receive the best education possible,” Michelle Bianchi of the SUNY Charter Schools Institute said Thursday.

“The Tech International Charter School board, at the end of its charter term, has made the difficult but admirable decision to voluntarily turn in its charter under the statute,” she said in an email to The Press.

“To take a hard look and conclude that the original vision for the school was not met and then work to transition families to stronger schools is a leadership decision the Institute greatly respects,” Bianchi said.

Tech International experienced a rocky tenure since it first opened its doors nearly five years ago at 3120 Corlear Ave.

The school went through three executive directors, two principals, a 50 to 60 percent student turnover and saw 90 percent of teachers leaving after their first year, principal Ryan McCabe told a meeting of Community Board 8’s education committee in November.

There were also “financial issues, issues of student suspensions, issues of student discipline,” McCabe said. “Issues of student learning were kind of rampant in the school.”

He did not immediately respond to a request for comment on his school's planned closing.

McCabe's faculty tried to turn things around since he came to Tech International in July 2015.

“In the 16 months that we have been there, we’ve cut student suspension in half. We’ve increased learning in many ways,” he told the November meeting. “We returned 95 percent of our students from last year to this year.”

The school also expanded its staff to include two deans of students to ensure that arrivals and dismissals ran smoothly and added advisors for every grade level, McCabe told the community board meeting.

But despite those efforts, only 13 percent of Tech International students met state standards on New York’s English exams and 16 percent of students met state standards on the math exam during the 2015-2016 school year. This shows a slight improvement of about 2 percentage points from the previous year.

The district’s and the city's results for English in the 2015-2016 year were 24 percent and 37 percent, respectively. For math, the figures stood at 20 percent in the district and 32 percent citywide.

During the 2014-2015 academic year, the district stood at 18 percent for both English and math, and the city stood at 30 percent for English and 31 percent for math.