Volume 74, Number 40 | February 9 - 15, 2005

New secondary schools to be academically rigorous

By DIVYA WATAL

Five new schools are slated to open in Greenwich Village, the Lower East Side and Chelsea this September as part of a plan to create 52 small secondary schools in the city, according to the Department of Education.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein announced the plan last week. Over 6,750 students will enroll in the new small schools, which offer personalized learning environments and academically rigorous standards, according to the mayor’s office. There are already 105 such schools in the city.

Greenwich Village Middle School; James Baldwin School for Expeditionary Learning; Technology, Arts and Sciences Studio; Lower Manhattan Arts Academy; and Urban Assembly Academy of Government and Law are the five new schools, which will all go into buildings that have existing schools.

Greenwich Village Middle School, or I.S. 896, located at 490 Hudson St., is an ongoing “program that is being converted into a distinct school in its own right,” according to Kathleen Brady, a spokesperson for the Department of Education.

James Baldwin School for Expeditionary Learning is modeled after Humanities Preparatory Academy, with which it will share building space at 351 W. 18th St. The school will provide “a diverse student body with a personalized, interdisciplinary, college preparatory education,” according to the school’s brochure.

Technology Arts and Science Studio is a middle school that will go into P.S. 19, the Asher Levy School, at 185 First Ave. between 11th and 12th Sts., according to Brady.

The two Lower East Side schools — Lower Manhattan Arts Academy and Urban Assembly Academy of Government and Law — will share campus space with H.S. 445 Seward Park High School at 350 Grand St. The high school, which is being phased out, currently shares space with three other small schools: High School for History and Communications, New Design High School and Dual Language and Asian Studies High School.

The Lower Manhattan Arts Academy will focus on academic excellence through the arts. Students will study a particular art, such as visual, choral, instrumental, dance or drama, and work with professional artists during classes, according to the school’s brochure.

The Urban Assembly Academy of Government and Law will focus on preparing students to become future leaders in governmental, legal and public service fields, and it will offer specialized courses on government, law and justice studies, according to its brochure.

Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields questioned the space availability for the new schools.

“Only 20 of the new schools will be housed in newly constructed or leased space or converted from existing programs, leaving 30 to be shoehorned into already occupied school buildings,” she said.

The Department of Education is organizing several “New School Information Fairs.” To find out about times and locations, call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov.

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