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Officials Select Nine High Schools To Undergo A "Re-Start"

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As an alternative to closing some struggling schools, the Department of Education is now planning to hire outside managers to take control of more than a dozen of them, partly because it has no choice. NY1's Education reporter Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

The state has labeled 54 city schools persistently "low achieving." President Barack Obama's administration is offering $6 million to each school that puts plans in place to improve them, and is letting districts across the country choose from four different plans, whichever works best for each school.

City officials say three of the four plans are off the table because the Department of Education and teachers' union could not work things out. Some plans involve closing schools, firing most of the teachers or replacing principals, but the only plan the city will use this year is called "Re-Start."

Instead of replacing the schools' staff, "Re-Start" calls for the DOE to step aside and let outside organizations take over, similar to the way charter schools are run.

It is a model that has not been tried in the city before, and now more than a dozen schools will pioneer the strategy all at once, starting this fall.

On Thursday, DOE officials told nine schools they had been chosen for Re-Start and the rest will find out on Friday. So far, they are all high schools.

Bronx: Herbert H. Lehman High School, Banana Kelly High School, Bronx High School of Business, Grace H. Dodge Career and Tech.
Queens: Newtown High School, Grover Cleveland High School, Richmond Hill High School, John Adams High School.
Brooklyn: John Dewey High School.

In a letter to parents, DOE officials said the schools had been spared from closing and may keep the same principal and teachers. But now outside managers will oversee all decisions.

Educators at some of the re-start schools told NY1 they would need to spend the whole summer planning with the new managers. Yet it will be weeks, if not months, before the management organizations are selected, paired with schools and able to start the truly hard work.

Administrators told NY1 they are concerned whether it can all be done in time to make a real difference.

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