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School Dedicated To Emergency Management Among New Proposed City Schools

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Less than a year after Hurricane Sandy, the city will open the first public school in the country dedicated to emergency management, and it won't be the only new school inspired by the storm. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

The city's operations center is not normally where new principals spend time planning their schools, but the Urban Assembly School of Emergency Management is a brand new concept.

"We spoke to FEMA with this idea. FEMA helped collaborate a larger network of emergency management industries, such as Homeland Security, American Red Cross, and they really kind of jumped on the idea of 'Yes, we need this because the field of emergency management is changing,'" said Rodolfo Elizondo, the school's principal.

The Urban Assembly School of Emergency Management will open in September with 115 ninth graders. Students will choose a major: emergency management, response and recovery or emergency technology and communications. In science, they'll learn meteorology. In math, they'll calculate changes in flood zones.

"Sandy is a very special case, because it's something that is going to be very relevant and recent to our students' ideas," Elizondo said. "But New York City is at the hub of emergency management."

On Tuesday, the mayor announced plans to open 78 new public schools in September. Seven will be career and technical schools, including Emergency Management, as well as Energy Tech, a six-year high school where students will graduate with an associate's degree. It will be run in partnership with Con Edison and National Grid.

"When you think of Sandy, it really shows you why this school is so important, and that now is the right time," said Ken Daly, president of National Grid New York.

The Bloomberg administration will have opened 656 new schools. They've also closed 164 schools for poor performance, a controversial policy that the mayor said should continue under the next mayor.

You should always close those that are at the bottom," he said. "You want to work with them to make them better, but there is always going to be a bottom 10 percent, and why should we settle for that?"

That can include new schools. Nineteen of those closed recently were opened under the mayor's leadership.

As for the Urban Assembly School of Emergency Management, it will open in a Manhattan school building used as a shelter during Hurricane Sandy. It can perhaps be used as a case study for future students.

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