Grady High School saved! City takes school off chopping block

Grady High School has made the grade.

The Department of Education agreed to keep William E. Grady Career and Technical High School open this week, removing it from a list of 33 schools slated for closure after parents, teachers and students argued that its improving evaluation scores proved the once struggling Brighton Beach institution is on the road to recovery.

Supporters said Grady’s annual city-issued report card, which jumped from a D to a B in just two years, proved that the school deserved a second chance.

“That’s what got us off the list,” said Jane Marziliano, the parent of a junior at Grady who led a rally to save the school last month. “Everyone’s so relieved.”

Grady landed on a state list of failing schools in 2010, prompting the Department of Education to bring in Principal Geraldine Maione and put the school in a federally-funded transformation program that would have funneled more than $2 million to the school over the next three years.

But the funding never materialized: the Bloomberg administration and the United Federation of Teachers couldn’t agree on an appropriate teacher evaluation system by the end of 2011 — forcing the city to switch gears and sign Grady up for the harsher turnaround program, where federal dollars come only after the school is closed, half the staff is fired and a new school is created in the building — a disruption critics claimed would have derailed Grady’s progress.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott agreed, saying on Monday that Grady and six other schools on the chopping block that scored A and B grades on its city-issued report cards over the years — including Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in Borough Park — showed enough improvement to remain open.

“We have come to believe that these schools have strong enough foundations to improve,” Walcott said.

Opponents of the proposed closings cheered the Department of Education’s decision.

“The idea that A and B schools deserved to be closed made a mockery of the Department of Education’s system, as the agency has apparently now realized,” said Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers.

A city panel will decide the fate of the 26 other schools facing closure later this month — schools that include Sheepshead Bay High School.

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