PARENTS, LEADERS PROTEST PROPOSAL TO MOVE HIGH SCHOOL

Brandeis High School on West 84th Street has become home to a hodge-podge of different high schools, as well as Upper West Success Academy, Eva Moskowitz’s controversial charter school.

Now the city Department of Education is considering closing down Innovative Diploma Plus High School, one of the high schools in the building, and reopening it in Washington Heights. Locals expect that the department wants to make room to allow the charter school to grow. They say that goes against the city’s previous statements that there was more than enough room for all of the schools to coexist.

The city is holding a meeting about the proposal at Brandeis High School tonight at 6 p.m.

Parents of the students who will be affected, and local leaders plan to hold a protest before the meeting at 5 p.m. at the school:

“Today at 5 pm, please join Public Advocate Bill de Blasio; Comptroller John Liu; Assembly member Gale Brewer; parents, students and teachers from Innovative Diploma Plus High School; members of CEC3 and CEC6; and other parents, students, teachers and community members – for a 5 pm press conference/protest and a 6 pm Public Hearing regarding the removal of IDP from the Brandeis complex and its re-siting in an inadequate 90 year old leased building in District 6, Washington Heights.  Both the press conference and the hearing will be held at the Brandeis High School complex, 251 West 84th Street.

While the DOE’s Educational Impact Statement provides no rationale for the removal, and separation of IDP’s 180 students from the other high schools in the complex, the DOE’s office of Portfolio Planning made its intentions clear to CEC3 and the District 3 community in October:  the DOE’s number one planning priority for District 3 would be to secure additional space at Brandeis for Upper West Success Academy elementary school students to matriculate in middle school.”

The DOE hasn’t responded to our request for comment, but released an impact statement saying that the relocation “would provide the school with its own building and move the school into District 6, where a plurality of its students reside.” Read the whole impact statement here.

If you can’t make it to the meeting, but still want to comment:

Written comments can be sent to D03Proposals@schools.nyc.gov. Oral comments can be left at 212-374-3466.

Noah Gotbaum, who has opposed Success Academy’s expansion plans, wrote the following response to the DOE’s proposal:

“All,

Today at 5 pm, please join Public Advocate Bill de Blasio; Comptroller John Liu; Assembly member Gale Brewer; parents, students and teachers from Innovative Diploma Plus High School; members of CEC3 and CEC6; and other parents, students, teachers and community members – for a 5 pm press conference/protest and a 6 pm Public Hearing regarding the removal of IDP from the Brandeis complex and its re-siting in an inadequate 90 year old leased building in District 6, Washington Heights.  Both the press conference and the hearing will be held at the Brandeis High School complex, 251 West 84th Street.

While the DOE’s Educational Impact Statement provides no rationale for the removal, and separation of IDP’s 180 students from the other high schools in the complex, the DOE’s office of Portfolio Planning made its intentions clear to CEC3 and the District 3 community in October:  the DOE’s number one planning priority for District 3 would be to secure additional space at Brandeis for Upper West Success Academy elementary school students to matriculate in middle school.

Given, however, that Upper West Success is a K-2 school, and wouldn’t be enrolling middle school students for at least 3 years, our community is asking:  Why is the DOE Removing Innovative Diploma Plus HIgh School from the Brandeis Campus?

Please join us today as we demand transparency and answers from the Department of Education regarding the future of IDP, it’s 180 vulnerable and traditionally underserved transfer students, the Brandeis High School campus, and District 3 and District 6 as a whole.

BACKGROUND: Why is the DOE Removing Innovative Diploma Plus HIgh School from the Brandeis Campus?

This evening at 6 pm, the DOE will hold a public hearing at the Brandeis Campus on West 84th St. to discuss the Chancellor’s proposal to re-site Innovation Diploma Plus High School (IDP) to 17 rooms of a leased 1920 building on West 183rd Street in District 6.  Currently, the DOE leases several floors to serve as a primary school annex.

IDP is a “transfer” high school, which enrolls some 180 of this City’s most underserved and vulnerable students.  Most are overage, and all are under-credited and have struggled to get through high school.  Every one of IDP’s 180 students is Black or Latino.  For these students, IDP generally represents their last opportunity at a high school diploma.

In the Educational Impact Statement (EIS) required for this re-siting, the DOE does not explain the reasons for moving IDP from Brandeis.  SO WHY IS THE DOE REMOVING IDP FROM BRANDEIS?

Certainly it’s not about overcrowding at the current location in the Brandeis complex: The DOE has stated, and still states, that there is and has always been adequate space for all the schools in the complex to grow – including IDP and the newly installed Upper West Success elementary school.  This was a key point of the EIS for Upper West Success 2 years ago.  Additionally, the DOE recently confirmed that the 10 rooms that would be vacated by IDP would not be required for any other use or existing Brandeis complex school now or in the future.  SO WHY IS THE DOE REMOVING IDP FROM BRANDEIS?

Certainly, its not about better facilities and programs:  The D6 site has no gymnasium, no health clinic, no science lab, no auditorium, no garden, no weight room, no black box theater, and no Lyfe Center childcare facilities for underage mothers as at Brandeis.  The DOE instead would need to build a “fitness center and/or science lab” in the new site at a cost of $1.5 to $3 million simply to provide basic state requirements to the IDP students.  There also are no other high schools at the leased building which means that IDP’s successful collaborations would end with the other three new small high schools in the Brandeis complex including the common arts programs, the joint course offerings, and the combined sports programs and teams including the PSAL award-winning soccer team.  SO WHY IS THE DOE REMOVING IDP FROM BRANDEIS?

Certainly, it’s not about a more favorable Washington Heights location or making the students’ commute easier or bette: Despite DOE citing that the largest percentage of students at IDP hail from District 6 rather than District 3, students, and a look at the subway map, shows that a vast majority of the IDP students would actually have to travel further to get to the Washington Heights site than their current commutes to Brandeis.  And none have stated they wish to leave the Upper West Side site. SO WHY IS THE DOE REMOVING IDP FROM BRANDEIS?

Certainly, it’s not because the IDP community wants to move:  The IDP community including teachers, parents and students overwhelmingly want to stay in the Brandeis complex.  In the attached student petition now signed by almost every IDP student, they cite the shorter commutes to Brandeis, the strong facilities and shared programs, the cooperation with the other Brandeis high schools (Frank McCourt, Urban Assembly for Green Careers, Global Learning Collaborative), and a feeling of safety in both the neighborhood and inside the school building where there have been almost no incidents of violence of any kids at IDP.  SO WHY IS THE DOE REMOVING IDP FROM THE BRANDEIS CAMPUS?

Certainly, it’s not because the D6 Community wants this re-siting: District 6 CEC members and Norther Manhattan elected officials are against this move as well and believe the space inappropriate for IDP (see letter from CEC and from electeds).  Instead, they want options explored for the Washington Heights building and real say in what goes into their district; not a transfer school in an inappropriate and inadequate building for these IDP students.

SO WHY IS THE DOE REMOVING IDP FROM THE BRANDEIS CAMPUS?

In addition to the DOE warehousing space for Upper West Success Charter’s future use, why – if the charter doesn’t need the space for 3 years – would the DOE ship IDP’s minority overage high school population next year to wholly inadequate facilities in Northern Manhattan?   We hope to receive answers to these questions – and others – this evening.  Please join us.

noah eliot gotbaum

community education council district 3″

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    1. Batya Lewton says:

      I fully agree with Noah Gotbaum. IDP must remain at Brandeis.

      I attended the Press Conference and was deeply impressed by the IDP students who were so passionate about remaining in the safe environment of Brandeis.

      Eva Moskowitz should ask her Hedge Fund backers to build schools for her Academy.

      The Charter school movement is not about better education for children but rather it is about ending Public Education.

      The DOE must not move the IDP students from Brandeis.

      Batya Lewton

      • EN says:

        My children attend the Upper West Success Academies and it is incredible. It is a public school. The changes it is making to the way our children are taught are innovative and exciting. We should be embracing the changes, not fighting them. I would agree that we need to find a solution here for everyone though as far as the high school is concerned.

    2. Christine says:

      Somewhat related – heard St. Agnes on WEA/87 is closing at the end of the school year. Anyone have any info?

    3. Dante says:

      they should close this school permanently..tired of dealing with these punks when school lets out…