Around 10 parents and a dozen students attending the rallied outside of the school early Monday morning in a last-ditch effort to save the all-boys middle school and high school from closure.
The group braved the bitter cold at 7:00am, more than an hour before the first bell, pleading for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the DOE to give their school a second chance. However, if the success of other schools that have made similar pleas is any indication, the decision to close the school is final, and the school’s fate likely is sealed.
It would be an unfortunate end for a school that started with such high expectations. ABCD was established in 2006 with the help of the Urban Assembly, a not-for-profit group that, since 1997, has been behind the creation of 14 - and counting - small, public high schools in New York City.
The school’s founding principal, Clyde Cole, chose a male-only academy to focus squarely on the needs of young black boys. However, after four years of progressively failing marks on its annual progress reports, the DOE replaced Cole with a new principal, Simone McIntosh, hoping she could help turn the school around.
But under McIntosh’s watch, the school didn’t fare much better. This year, ABCD’s middle school ranked in the bottom 8 percentile on its 2010-11 School Progress report, with an overall score 21.4 out of 100, and an overall grade of a D. The DOE announced early December the school would be closed by the end of the year.
But the protesting parents argued that the school had been lacking in critical resources to address students’ needs, such as a library and working computers, and that even after McIntosh was brought in, the DOE still failed to provide the school any support.
“We want Bloomberg to give these children a chance to perform and show what they’re doing,” said Shameka Travino, whose 14-year-old son attends ABCD as a freshman. “They didn’t have the backup from the DOE. They just put them in there and basically just left them there.”
The DOE will hold a final hearing for ABCD and its supporters, along with Frederick Douglass Academy and Satellite 3, two other Bed-Stuy schools slated for closure, on Thursday, February 9, at Brooklyn Tech High School, 6:00pm.