Grover Cleveland HS saved from closing before DOE vote

Grover Cleveland HS saved from closing before DOE vote
Grover Cleveland HS
Photo by Christina Santucci
By Steve Mosco

Grover Cleveland High School was saved from the chopping block with only hours to spare before the Panel for Educational Policy was set to vote Thursday evening on the Department of Education’s plan to close 26 city schools, including eight from Queens.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said the decision to remove the Ridgewood school from the closure list came after several weeks of public hearings and close examination.

“Over the past several weeks, during public hearings and visits from my senior leadership, we looked closely at schools whose performance and quality of instruction have shown positive signs in the last two years,” said Walcott. “We have come to believe that two of those schools – Grover Cleveland High School and Bushwick Community High School – have demonstrated an ability to continue their improvements without the more comprehensive actions that are clearly needed at 24 other schools.”

Under the turnaround proposed for Grover Cleveland, the school would have closed and reopened under a new name with up to half of the teachers being replaced.

At public hearings, including a packed gathering in Ridgewood on April 2, school advocates said Cleveland had shown improved graduation rates in recent years and was also rated as proficient on a quality review.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) applauded the DOE’s decision to keep Grover Cleveland open and allow it to continue its work to improve.

“This news is a testament to the hard work of the school community, the students, parents and teachers and [Denise] Principal Vittor at Grover Cleveland,” said Crowley. “I was proud to stand with the community protesting the turnaround model, and I am relieved the DOE has listened to common sense and will keep the school open. We must continue to fight for the remaining schools that are still slated for closure.”

The fate of the other 24 city schools will be decided when the Panel votes in Brooklyn Thursday night.

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