One Bronx middle school could be subject to takeover by an independent entity this school year, the only school in the state that did not make enough progress to avoid that fate.
The school, J.H.S. 162 Lola Rodriguez De Tio, is one of three schools in New York City and 10 statewide that were considered “persistently struggling” and given a year to make “demonstrable improvement” or face new management.
J.H.S. 162 did not hit its targets, the State Education Department announced Wednesday afternoon. That means schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña has 60 days to appoint an outside entity, such as a school improvement expert or nonprofit, to oversee the school. The city could also decide to close or merge the school.
Each persistently struggling school had to make at least 40 percent progress on a“demonstrable improvement index” to avoid independent receivership — and J.H.S. 162 reached 38 percent, missing some indicators by less than one point.
The announcement comes after Chalkbeat reported earlier this week that the state had blown its own deadline to decide whether its lowest-performing schools would be subject to outside management.
In a press release, the State Education Department characterized the announcement as good news for most schools that had been considered “persistently struggling” — which means they have been among the state’s lowest ranked schools since at least 2006.
“There is much more to be done but we are pleased with the turnaround that has started and, with continued support, can further progress in these schools,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said in a press release.
School officials at J.H.S. 162 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The school is also part of the city’s “Renewal” turnaround program, which gives struggling schools access to social services and other supports.
The city Department of Education has previously indicated that it may close or merge certain struggling schools, but it was not immediately clear if city officials planned to take that route in this case in lieu of appointing an independent entity. State officials said a merger or closure could relieve the city’s obligation to appoint an outside manager.
“The chancellor’s first priority is doing what’s best for kids and we will ensure our next steps support students and families in receiving a high-quality education,” city education department spokeswoman Devora Kaye wrote in a statement. “We’ve been clear that all options are on the table, and as we move forward, we will work closely with the school community to ensure stability and continuity in classroom learning.”
This article was first published on Chalkbeat New York on October 5.