News and Speeches

Mayor, Chancellor Announce the Opening of 42 New Schools in September


333 New Schools Created Since 2002 Provide Better Choices at Every Grade Level in Every Borough

Sixteen Transfer Schools to Open in the Fall, Surpassing City’s 2005 Goal of Creating 15 New Transfer Schools

Mayor and Chancellor Make Announcement at 1650-Seat Sunset Park High School Under Construction in Brooklyn and Set to Open in September

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today announced that 42 new schools will open across New York City in September, bringing the total number of schools created under this administration to 333, not including charter schools. Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein originally promised to establish 200 new schools to provide more good choices to students and their families. The success and popularity of new schools led the Mayor and Chancellor to continue creating these high-quality options after meeting the goal in 2007. Included among the new schools that will open in September are three new transfer schools that will serve high school students who have fallen significantly behind. These new transfer schools bring the total number of transfer schools created since 2005 to 16, in line with the Mayor’s promise to open 15 transfer schools before the end of his second term. The new schools announced today were chosen from 118 proposals submitted to the Department of Education (DOE) by educators, community-based organizations, elected officials and intermediary groups. The Mayor and Chancellor were joined for the announcement at the new 1650-seat Sunset Park High School building in Brooklyn by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Assembly Member Cathy Nolan, and Sunset Park High School task force chair Julie Stein-Brockway.

    “Tens of thousands of students—across all grade levels, throughout five boroughs, including both our most accomplished students and those who have struggled—are thriving today in schools that didn’t exist in 2002,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “These new schools give families more choices and create competition that makes all schools better.”

    “New schools are working well for students, especially those in traditionally underserved areas of the city,” said Chancellor Klein. “These schools are graduating 76 percent of their students, nearly 15 points higher than the city-wide average, and these successes are particularly remarkable given that new schools enroll a higher percentage of high-need and low-performing students than do other schools.”

    Nine of the new schools are elementary schools; four will begin in pre-kindergarten or kindergarten and continue through eighth-grade; 14 are middle schools; one will serve grades six through twelve, and 13 are high schools. Three of the 13 high schools are transfer schools—high schools that enroll students who are at least two years behind in credit accumulation or who have already dropped out. One of the 13 high schools—The Cinema School—is a selective high school that requires students to meet rigorous academic criteria before they can be considered for admission. Three of the high schools and the school serving grades six through twelve are career and technical education schools. One additional school—the High School for Excellence and Innovation—will serve students who are over-age and under-prepared for ninth grade. The Administration is also committed to supporting new charter schools, 25 of which were recently approved to open in New York City as early as September 2009.

    The Department of Education matched approved proposals with potential school locations based on demographic need and community input, particularly in traditionally underserved areas of the city where failing schools are being closed. Eighteen of the 42 new schools will replace schools that are being phased out. Six will open in newly-constructed school buildings that will alleviate overcrowding. Sixteen new schools will open in underutilized schools or schools that are phasing down enrollment. Sites for two new schools are still in the process of being determined.

New School Performance under the Children First Reforms

    The latest new schools will build on the success of the 291 new schools that have opened since 2002. In 2007, the most recent year for which graduation rates are available, the graduation rate for new small schools with senior classes topped 75 percent for the second consecutive year. In 2006, 15 new small secondary schools graduated 77 percent of their first class, compared to a citywide graduation rate of 60 percent. In 2007, a total of 47 new small secondary schools with senior classes graduated 76 percent of seniors. Thirty of these schools are located in schools previously marked for closure, where the collective graduation rate in 2002 was 35 percent.

    Historically-underserved students in new secondary schools earn more credits in ninth grade than their peers citywide, which is a key predictor of on-time graduation. Seventy-five percent of English language learning students in ninth grade at new schools last year earned at least ten credits, compared to 56 percent of English language learning students in other schools citywide. Fifty-nine percent of students who need special education services in ninth grade at new schools last year earned at least ten credits, compared to 42 percent of students who need special education services in other schools citywide. Seventy-three percent of Latino students and 74 percent of African-American students in ninth grade at new schools last year earned at least ten credits, compared to 62 percent and 61 percent respectively in other schools citywide.

    Thirteen percent of students in new small secondary schools are English language learners and 12 percent require special education services, compared to 11 percent and 12 percent, respectively, in other schools citywide. Ninety percent of students in new small secondary schools are black or Hispanic—compared to 71 percent of students in schools citywide. More students entered these schools last year performing below grade level on their eighth-grade English language arts (ELA) or math examinations—36 percent did not meet grade-level standards in ELA and 44 percent did not meet grade-level standards in math, compared to 29 percent in ELA and 32 percent in math at other schools citywide.

Transfer Schools

    Transfer schools, which enroll students who are at least two years behind, have also been successful, graduating over-age, under-credited students at a rate of 56 percent. Similar students who remained in comprehensive high schools achieved a 19 percent graduation rate. All new transfer schools include ‘Learning to Work‘ programs through which students receive college and career counseling and in-depth job-readiness training, including paid internships. Learning to Work transfer schools currently serve a student population that is 92 percent black or Hispanic. To date, more than 7,600 students have graduated from schools with Learning to Work programs. The three new transfer schools build on the success of the 13 transfer schools opened since 2006, and fulfill the Mayor’s commitment to opening at least 15 new transfer schools as part of his Learning to Work Initiative.

Selective Schools

    Several of New York City’s selective high schools, which enroll students who have demonstrated high academic achievement, rank among the most competitive secondary schools in the country. This year, 29,000 students took the specialized high school entrance exam to qualify for enrollment into one of the specialized high schools—the most competitive selective schools—and thousands more applied for seats in other selective high schools. The Cinema School in the Bronx, a new selective school, advances the Mayor’s commitment to create seven new selective high schools before the end of his second term. Brooklyn Latin, which opened in 2006, Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, and Engineering, which opened in 2007, and Bard High School Early College II and NYCiSchool, which both opened for the first time this school year, are the four schools opened previously under this initiative.

How to Apply

    Last month, guidance counselors distributed directories of new high schools to eighth-grade students, and earlier this month hundreds of eighth-grade students and their families attended new high school fairs. Individual new school information sessions are ongoing. Eighth-graders were encouraged to apply to the new high schools, including new selective schools, by submitting New High School Choice Forms to their school guidance counselors by the February 26 deadline. If seats remain available in new high schools after the supplementary round of high school admissions, families can apply through their borough enrollment office.

    Students who have completed at least one year of high school and are considering enrolling in a transfer school should contact their guidance counselor or visit the Office of Multiple Pathways to Graduation Web site.

    Current eighth-grade students who will be entering high school significantly behind grade-level will be notified this spring about enrollment at the High School for Excellence and Innovation. These students will be invited to an information session and have the opportunity to participate in an intake meeting with school staff. Admitted students will participate in a summer orientation. The school is scheduled to open with 81 students in September and will grow each year to a maximum of 324 students.

    Families interested in enrolling children in a new elementary or middle school should call their borough enrollment office.

    Click here for a list of the new schools opening in September.