The schools Chancellor is trying to reorganize some of the city's largest public high school buildings to make them safer and more welcoming. NY1's education reporter, Lindsey Christ, spent the day with the Chancellor to check on the results.
Chancellor Carmen Farina allowed NY1 to join her as she toured 18 high schools that share space in four sprawling buildings.
The purpose of the visit is to see how schools sharing the same building are working together.
She calls it her co-location initiative, a project that began last year, at the Lehman High School campus, which houses six schools and had seen a spike in violence.
The effort has expanded to include five more buildings housing 9,000 students.
"There is no downsides to collaborating," says Farina.
School buildings once housed a single school but under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg many of the large struggling schools replaced several small schools to cater individually to students.
But there can be friction among schools and their students sharing a building.
In the past, Farina said she was not a fan of the small schools movement.
Now, she says small schools can work if they work together.
"It's not about small versus large," says Farina. "It's how do you get the best of both. And how do you make sure that when they're in a building, they work together."
At the George Washington Campus in northern Manhattan, students can now take courses offered at the other schools in the building. In the Bronx, new Advanced Placement courses are now open to students enrolled in any of the five schools at the Evander Childs Campus.
"I think the AP courses are really cool," says a student. "I think it's a great idea for us to be with other kids from other schools."
At each of the six campuses now covered by Farina's initiative, the principals are now required to meet several times a week. Campus-wide committees of students and parents also meet.
At the Springfield Gardens Campus in Queens, students say it has improved security.
"It's a better energy," says another student. "When you walk in to the school, you feel excited."
Public school buildings still have metal detectors, but like at the Thomas Jefferson Campus in Brooklyn, each building now has a common college advising center and a parent welcome center.