Newly created city schools outperform the rest – Chancellor

New schools created since 2002 have outperformed others in the New York City public school system, Schools Chancellor Joel Klein says in the just released 2010 high school progress report.

In the fourth annual progress reports for 422 New York City public high schools issued last week, the chancelor said that “after years of steadily rising graduation rates and increasing numbers of students on track to complete high school in four years, the city raised the bar for high schools to earn higher grades.

Even with a higher standard, the report said, “the distribution of grades is similar to last year’s.” In all, 40 percent of high schools earned As, 29 percent Bs, 21 percent Cs, seven percent Ds, and three percent Fs. Last year, 45 percent earned As, 29 percent Bs, 19 percent Cs, seven percent Ds, and less than one percent Fs.

The chancellor made the announcement at Manhattan Bridges High School—one of the highest-scoring high schools in the city, where he was joined by Council of School Supervisors and Administrators President Ernest Logan, Deputy Chancellor for Performance and Accountability Shael Polakow-Suransky, and Manhattan Bridges Principal Mirza Sanchez Medina.

High school progress report grades are based on student attendance rates, progress toward graduation and graduation rates, and the results of parent, student and teacher surveys. Overall, this year’s progress peports showed students improving across these measures, with schools opened since 2002 leading the way.

The Department of Educatin says the results reflect the success of a sustained small school initiative that has created nearly 500 new schools over the past eight years, nearly 300 of which serve high school students.

“The strong showing of these schools is consistent with a report published last year by the research firm MDRC, which showed that New York City’s new, small schools had outperformed other schools on key measures,” according to the report..

“As we step up our efforts to prepare every graduate for college or careers, there are encouraging signs of progress—more kids are earning credits on time and passing Regents exams, and there’s no sign of letting up,” Klein said. “By creating more small high schools and rewarding progress, we’re much closer to our achievement goals.”

For the first time this year, families will have access to new, one-page summaries that make it easier to understand their school’s strengths and weaknesses. These Progress Report Overviews are designed to highlight clearly the key measures by which schools are graded: student progress, student performance, and school environment. The overviews also provide a brief explanation of how each measure is calculated and describe any additional credit earned by the school for success with English language learners, students with disabilities, and low-performing students.

“This year’s Progress Report results show that many more City students are making tremendous progress—a credit to the hard work of our principals, teachers, parents, and students,” Deputy Chancellor Polakow-Suransky said. “Our next challenge is to make sure our schools are also preparing students for success beyond high school. To that end, this school year we’re introducing college readiness measures into the high school Progress Reports to track how well our high schools are meeting this more rigorous standard.”

As part of a citywide campaign to improve college readiness and college completion rates, the 2011 Progress Reports will phase in new metrics designed to measure how well a school is preparing students for college. Next year, the reports will track the extent to which students participate and succeed in rigorous, college-level coursework in high school; meet college preparatory standards; and enroll in college.

Of the schools that received Progress Reports today, 133 received As (40 percent), 97 received Bs (29 percent), 69 received Cs (21 percent), 23 received Ds (seven percent), and nine received Fs (three percent). Out of 422 high schools, 91 did not receive grades this year either because they are being phased out, or because they did not have a graduating class.

This year’s high school Progress Reports contained the following notable results:

180 schools received the same grade as they did in 2009; 46 schools improved by at least one grade, while 82 schools went down.

Five schools scored above 100: Theatre Arts Production Company School and Marble Hill High School for International Studies, in the Bronx; and Brooklyn International High School at Water’s Edge, Williamsburg Preparatory School, and Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design, in Brooklyn.

New schools opened since 2002 outperformed schools opened prior to 2002, particularly schools without academic screens. The average score for new unscreened high schools that opened since 2002 was 68.1 out of 100 points. The average score for all other unscreened high schools was 60.0 out of 100.

Report Methodology

Progress Reports give each school an overall letter grade based on three categories: school environment (15 percent of the grade), student performance (25 percent), and student progress (60 percent). “School environment” includes the results of surveys taken by more than 920,000 parents, students, and teachers last spring, as well as student attendance rates. “Student performance” measures graduation outcomes and rewards schools based on the rigor of the diplomas students receive. “Student progress” measures how well schools are helping students progress towards graduation by amassing course credits and passing Regents exams. Schools that do an exemplary job closing the achievement gap can earn additional credit.

Three-fourths of a school’s Progress Report score comes from comparing the school’s results to the 40 or so other high schools in the City serving the most similar student populations. The remaining one-fourth of the school’s score is based on a comparison with all high schools citywide.

In October, the City released its progress reports for schools serving students in grades K-8—including, for the first time, 27 early childhood schools and 28 District 75 schools for students with disabilities. Due to the state’s decision to retroactively raise the bar for passing its annual exams, grades for those schools followed a set distribution, so that 25 percent of percent of schools received As, 35 percent Bs, 35 percent Cs, four percent Ds, and one percent Fs.

Schools that receive a grade of D, F, or a third consecutive C on the Progress Report and schools that receive a rating below “proficient” on the Quality Review are considered for intensive support or intervention.

All progress reports are available now on the Department of Education Web site.

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