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Martin Van Buren High School was removed from the Priority Schools list after improving its graduation rates.

Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village is one of 27 schools statewide that will be removed from Priority School status, a state designation given to schools with low graduation rates and poor scores on state testing.

The New York State Department of Education announced on Dec. 1 that the school at 230-17 Hillside Ave. had improved enough to be removed from the list.

“Removal from Priority School status shows the hard work being done by students, teachers and administrators at these schools and I applaud them all,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “While we’re seeing progress in struggling and persistently struggling schools, there is still a great deal of work to be done to reduce the gap between our expectations for success and the reality of the results for students in these schools.”

School must pass several hurdles to be removed from Priority School status including meeting participation rate requirements for English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics in the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years. For high schools, the four-year graduation rate must have been at least 60 percent for the past year and either the four-year or five-year graduation rate must have been at least 60 percent in the year prior to that.

The four-year graduation rate at Martin Van Buren High School during the 2014-2015 school year was 55 percent, which is below the 70 percent average citywide and 73 percent average borough wide.

During the 2016-2017 school year, the school brought its four year graduation rate up to 67 percent and its six-year graduation rate to 68 percent from 62 percent in 2014-2015.

“These schools are working hard to collaborate with stakeholders to address the needs of their students, and the results so far are promising,” Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia said. “At the same time, we must remain mindful that only sustained and accelerated progress in these schools can create the level of progress necessary for us to meet our goals for all of New York’s children.”

In the 2016-17 school year, a total of 90 city schools were designated as Priority Schools based on 2014-2015 data.  In 2012-13 there were 122 schools identified as Priority Schools, marking a 25 percent decrease in Priority Schools citywide.

The high school was also formerly on the Struggling Schools list, which made the school subject to the state’s receivership law. Under the law, the school superintendent can develop a school intervention plan; convert schools to community schools that provide wrap-around services; expand the school day or school year; and remove staff and/or require staff to reapply for their jobs in collaboration with a staffing committee as long as the school is still designated a Priority School.


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