Although New York City public schools progress reports for academic year 2011/2012 will not be made public until the week of November 26, Bernard Gassaway, principal of Boys and Girls High School, met with his staff on Tuesday to inform them early that BGHS would receive yet another “F.”
This year’s “F” grade is the second in a row for BGHS, but Gassaway insisted that despite the grade, the school-- Brooklyn's first and oldest high school-- was making progress and simply needed more time for improvement.
News of the "F" will continue what has become a downward trend for BGHS, known to most in the community as The Pride of Bed-Stuy.
However, "Bed-Stuy's Pride" has struggled over the past three years to keep its doors open, as the school's progress reports have shown no improvement. Aside from its failing grade on the 2010/2011 progress report, BGHS received a "C" in 2009/2010 and a "D" in 2008/2009.
And like last year, Gassaway insists he is not swayed by his school’s failing grade and remains fully committed to transforming Boys and Girls High School into a top urban high school.
“But it will not happen overnight,” he said. "I am not one to make excuses and I am totally transparent. Our goal is to meet students where they are and to address their social and academic needs."
Gassaway pointed to a plan he launched in collaboration with the school’s advisory council, to transform the school into a full-service community school and said it was still in its early stages.
The plan includes the implementation of learning communities, including the Booker T. Washington Transfer Program for students that are over aged and under credited. There’s also a Scholars Academy to enable high-performing students to obtain early college credits; and the CARE Center established to help meet students’ social, emotional, economic, and mental health challenges, and several other programs.
“I have done in-depth research on this model, and I know that it works and it will work at Boys and Girls High School,” said Gassaway.
“I trust that the community will continue to support us during this period of redesign and transformation,” he said. “I only ask for time and the resources to implement the plan.”