Less than six years after opening its doors, a small school opened by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration might be on its way to closure.
Cypress Hills Collegiate Prep (CHCP), which shares space in the Franklin K. Lane building with three other schools on Jamaica Avenue in Brooklyn, received some bad news along with a “D” on its annual progress report – the city might move to close the school after only two graduating classes.
A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Education (DOE) said, “We have not made any decisions yet and we are still in conversation with all of our struggling schools to determine what is working and what is not in these environments.”
However, even the possibility of closure seems unfair to advocates for the school who believe CHCP hasn’t gotten a fair shake. The mostly low-income student population graduated at a 58 percent rate over the past two years, three points below the city average. This prompted students and parents to rally at the school on November 21, many blaming cuts in funding for the low grades.
Advocates of the college preparatory school contend that CHCP has not been given a chance to succeed and manages to do what it can without basic resources like a library which doesn’t seem fair to students like Jarlyn Vasquez.
“The DOE hasn’t given us a chance to develop enough, to reach our goals in attendance and student performance,” said the 16-year-old sophomore. “They should give us more time. They should also give us more resources. For example, the campus library is closed [and has been for more than a year], no students can use it. Most of us don’t have another library we can go to for books and computers. If the campus library would be open again, then students could go in, do their work, and improve their grades and attendance. This would improve the school’s overall progress report.”
Vasquez believes that if the school enters into a “phase out” process, the students that remain there will be forced to cope with even fewer resources.
“If the school gets phased out, the school will lose even more resources and students in the phase out will get even less of what we need,” said Vasquez.