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PR- 055-04
March 11, 2004


Academically Rigorous Schools to Create New Education Options for Students and Parents Across the City this Fall

Small High School Fairs to be Held for Eighth Graders

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today announced that 60 new, small and academically rigorous secondary schools will open this September. The new schools are part of the Department of Education's (DOE) Children First new schools initiative to create 200 effective small schools over the next three to five years.  The new secondary schools are small high schools, 6th through 12th grade schools, and middle schools created with the support of private commitments and developed through partnerships between DOE and leading non-profit education and community organizations, including New Visions for Public Schools, the Asia Society, the College Board, the Institute for Student Achievement, The City University of New York, the Center for Youth Development and Youth Education, the International Partnerships Schools, Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound, Replications, and the National Council of La Raza. The Mayor and the Chancellor made the announcement at Park West High School in Manhattan and were joined by Robert Hughes, President of New Visions for Public Schools, Gerry House, President of the Institute for Student Achievement and Randi Weingarten, President of the United Federation of Teachers.

"Through our Children First reform agenda, we are implementing the most ambitious new schools initiative in the nation," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. "These 60 new, small and academically rigorous secondary schools are a major step toward our goal of ensuring that every child in our City has the opportunity to attend a great school and get the education he or she deserves. The environments created by small schools are safe and supportive, and provide students individual attention.  Students who attend small schools perform better academically and are more likely to graduate and to go to college.  With the creation of these schools, we will pass the halfway point in our commitment to create 200 new, effective small schools by September 2007.  That's a pledge we've made to the people of New York, and we're going to keep it."

"We are creating small effective secondary schools in neighborhoods that are in dire need of high quality schools," said Chancellor Joel Klein. "Experience shows that small, academically demanding high schools have great success in improving student achievement and graduation rates.  The new schools we have developed with our outstanding partnership organizations will be strong learning communities with high expectations for student performance."

Of the 60 schools, 41 will be high schools with grades 9-12, four will be middle schools with grades 6 through 8, and 15 will run from grades 6 to 12. Each of these schools will begin with an average enrollment of just over 100 students in either the 6th or 9th grades. The schools will expand year by year.  At their largest, none of the high schools or middle schools will have a total student body of more than 500 students, and the schools that will run from grades 6-12 will have enrollments of no more than 525 students. 

Most of the new schools announced today are being supported through the $57.7 million commitment by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that was announced last fall.  The funds committed by the foundation are being used to plan, develop, and create a total of 77 new small schools throughout New York City over the next three to five years.

The new schools will provide traditionally underserved communities with access to rich, rigorous curricula, including college-readiness programs and smaller, close-knit school communities that foster strong relationships between students and adults. Many of the new schools will be located in the City's largest high school buildings, transforming them into campuses of effective secondary schools. As these campuses develop, DOE will work to support both the new and existing schools in the building, with building management councils" to coordinate activities, and by providing new funding to the existing schools serving as hosts of the campuses with multiple new schools. This funding will be used for educational supports such as after school programs, weekend academies and evening programs, and for youth development programs including mentoring, enriched guidance and counseling.

As previously announced, over the next two weeks DOE will be holding ten borough-wide and citywide New Small High School Fairs for eighth grade students who are interested in attending a new small high school during the upcoming school year. The borough-wide New Small High School Fairs will be held on Saturday, March 13th and on Tuesday, March 16th. The citywide New Small High School Fairs will be held on Sunday, March 14th and Saturday, March 20th. (A flyer is attached providing the specific locations and times of the Fairs.) Additional information can be found at  The deadline for students to submit new high school choice forms to their school guidance counselors is March 24th.

The new schools opening this fall were developed through partnerships with leading non-profit education and community organizations and coordinated by the DOE's Office of New Schools.  Each of the new small schools was planned and designed by a school planning team. In addition to the partnership organization, the majority of these teams included teachers, community organizations, parents, and students.  Planning teams worked with the Regional Superintendents and the Office of New Schools, and school plans were subject to a rigorous approval process.

Thirty-three of the new, small secondary schools being opened in September were developed through New Visions for Public Schools' New Century High Schools initiative.   The New Century High Schools initiative is aimed at transforming large high schools into campuses of small high schools, which combine academic rigor with youth development principles and community service.  The New Century schools announced today were made possible through private commitments from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Open Society Institute and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. All of the New Century Schools were approved by a core team that includes representatives of the Department of Education, the United Federation of Teachers, the Council of Supervisors and Administrators and the participating foundations.

"The New Century High Schools are pioneering a new kind of education that brings the assets and resources of over 120 community partners into our schools," said Robert L. Hughes, President of New Visions for Public Schools. "These collaborations will change the relationships between students, teachers, leaders, curriculum and community."

Twenty-seven of the new, small secondary schools were developed through DOE's new partnerships with outstanding educational non-profit and community organizations.  The lead partnership organizations that will be opening new schools in the fall of 2004: the Asia Society, The College Board, The Institute for Student Achievement, The City University of New York, The Center for Youth Development and Youth Education, the International Partnerships Schools, Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound, Replications, and the National Council of La Raza. 

Most of the new small schools opening in September are designed to have a particular focus and will use curricula based on that specific theme such as health sciences, history, applied math and sciences, culinary arts, engineering, law and justice, media studies, fire science and safety, architecture and design, international studies, the performing arts and others.  All share a commitment to academic rigor and a focus on student achievement.  The diverse portfolio of new schools includes schools ranging from the International School, which is dedicated to educating recent immigrants who are English Language Learners, to the High School for Fire and Life Safety, a school focused on preparing students for post-secondary education and careers in emergency response that was developed in collaboration with the New York City Fire Department, to the Bronx Preparatory School, a school with a rigorous college preparatory curriculum that was developed in partnership with the College Board.

Among the new schools opening this September are four small secondary schools created by DOE and the Center for Youth Development and Youth Education that are based on the nationally recognized "Diploma Plus" instructional model.  "Diploma Plus" is an academically rigorous program that offers an alternative educational path to students who have not succeeded in the traditional education system, including 9th graders who have been retained and high school students 17 years old and older, who are over-age and under-credited for their grades.  Diploma Plus offers students a performance-based route to earn a high school diploma.


Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson   (212) 788-2958

Jerry Russo   (DOE)
(212) 374-5141

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