Sheepshead Bay High School on fast track to closure

Sheepshead Bay High School parents and teachers are furious over the news that the Department of Education is moving forward with its plans to close the Avenue X school after sparing seven public institutions facing the same fate.

A yearly city-issued report card for the Sheepshead Bay High School dropped from a C grade in 2010 to a less-than-stellar D last year, but parents argued it has shown other signs of improvement.

Parent Coordinator Salvatrice Shipone said hallways are cleaner, student brawling is down and the graduation rate has risen by 17 percent since 2003.

“We’ve been improving every year,” Shipone said. “Is it perfect? No. But we’ve come a long way.”

Sheepshead Bay High is on a list of public schools slated for closure under a turnaround program where federal dollars are allocated to learning institutions that reopen under a new name and fires half of its staff by July 1.

On Monday, the Department of Education removed seven schools from the list that received A or B grades in the last year, including Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in Borough Park and William E. Grady Career and Technical High School in Brighton Beach.

A city panel will vote on closing Sheepshead Bay High School, as well as the rest of the schools on the list, at a hearing on April 26.

But Shipone believes Sheepshead Bay High might be saved.

“There’s still high hopes that the city will reconsider,” she said. “It’s not over yet.”

Department of Education spokesman Frank Thomas said schools like Sheepshead Bay High School would benefit from the program.

“This is an opportunity to assess and keep what is working, and also bring in a new wave of talent,” he said.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.

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