New York

Fourteen city schools land on state review list

Fourteen New York City schools landed on the state’s list of “schools under registration review,” the state education department announced today.

That’s down four from last year, after three city schools were added to the list this year but seven schools were removed. Schools are placed on the SURR list if their English and math scores on state exams are farthest from a state-set standard, prompting the threat of closure if the schools do not improve.

The three schools added to the list this year are all high schools, Washington Irving High School, the School for Global Studies and the Grace H. Dodge Career and Technology High School. All seven of the city schools removed from the list are elementary and middle schools.

“The SURR process has served New York well, particularly in terms of improving English and math results in the lowest performing elementary and middle schools,” State Education Commissioner David Steiner said in a statement. “Now we must align SURR with the process we’ve created for identifying and helping the Persistently Lowest Achieving schools. Doing so will focus greater attention on those schools that have had unacceptably low graduation rates for many years.”

The state’s list of “persistently lowest achieving” schools, which it announced in January, singled out the bottom 5 percent of schools to target for replacement or closure. Nearly 60 schools statewide — primarily high schools with low graduation rates — landed on that list, including 34 New York City schools.

The SURR list is much smaller, and includes a higher percentage of low-performing elementary and middle schools. Currently, 29 schools throughout the state have SURR status, the lowest number since the program began in 1989.

Beginning next year, state education officials said, schools will be given SURR status if their combined reading and math scores place them among the lowest in the state. Graduation rates will also be added as a factor in determining SURR status for high schools.

State education officials said those changes would likely mean a large increase in the number of schools placed on the SURR list next year.

Of the 14 city schools currently on the SURR list, four are in the process of closing. Three schools that would have been newly placed on the SURR list this year — Robeson, Columbus and Maxwell High Schools — were omitted because of the city’s recent decision to phase them out.

Several of the city schools that remain on the SURR list have recently performed well on the city’s accountability measurements. Three of the schools, P.S. 230, P.S. 12 and the West Bronx Academy for the Future, all received A’s on their most recent progress report cards. P.S. 230 received a $165,000 bonus and P.S. 12 received a $135,000 bonus based on their scores.

Chancellor Joel Klein praised the city for reducing its number of schools on the SURR list from 77 when Mayor Michael Bloomberg assumed control of the school system, and he attributed that drop to the mayor’s policies.

“Due to the dramatic actions we’ve taken – including phasing out failing schools and replacing them with high quality schools that students want to attend – we now have fewer SURR schools in New York City than ever before,” Klein said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is yet another sign of the tremendous progress we’re making to prepare students for college and the workplace.”

Here are the New York City schools currently on the SURR list. The complete list of schools in the state and the list of schools removed from the SURR list this year are available here.



Washington Irving High School 310200011460


Newly Identified – Group 17


New Explorers High School 320700011547


Corrective Action – Group 16 (Closing)


MS 424 – Hunts Point School 320800010424


MS 201 closed in June 2007 and was replaced by MS 424, which has assumed its SURR status.


PS 230 320900010230


Corrective Action – Group 16


MS 399 321000010399


Corrective Action –  Closing (6/2012)


Grace H Dodge Career and Technical High School 321000011660


Newly Identified – Group 17


West Bronx Academy for the Future 321000011243


Corrective Action – Group 16


School for Global Studies 331500011429


Newly Identified – Group 17


Boys and Girls High School 331600011455


Corrective Action – Group 16


Canarsie HS 331800011500


Corrective Action – Group 14 (Closing 6/2011)


Franklin K. Lane 331900011420


Fourth Year Redesign – Group 10 (Closing 6/2012)


Bushwick Community HS 333200010564


Corrective Action- Group 15


Far Rockaway 342700011465


Third Year Redesign – Group 12 (Closing 6/2011)


PS 12 307500012012


Corrective Action – Group 13A

call out

Our readers had a lot to say in 2017. Make your voice heard in 2018.

PHOTO: Chris Hill/Whitney Achievement School
Teacher Carl Schneider walks children home in 2015 as part of the after-school walking program at Whitney Achievement Elementary School in Memphis. This photograph went viral and inspired a First Person reflection from Schneider in 2017.

Last year, some of our most popular pieces came from readers who told their stories in a series that we call First Person.

For instance, Carl Schneider wrote about the 2015 viral photograph that showed him walking his students home from school in a low-income neighborhood of Memphis. His perspective on what got lost in the shuffle continues to draw thousands of readers.

First Person is also a platform to influence policy. Recent high school graduate Anisah Karim described the pressure she felt to apply to 100 colleges in the quest for millions of dollars in scholarships. Because of her piece, the school board in Memphis is reviewing the so-called “million-dollar scholar” culture at some high schools.

Do you have a story to tell or a point to make? In 2018, we want to give an even greater voice to students, parents, teachers, administrators, advocates and others who are trying to improve public education in Tennessee. We’re looking for essays of 500 to 750 words grounded in personal experience.

Whether your piece is finished or you just have an idea to discuss, drop a line to Community Editor Caroline Bauman at

But first, check out these top First Person pieces from Tennesseans in 2017:

My high school told me to apply to 100 colleges — and I almost lost myself in the process

“A counselor never tried to determine what the absolute best school for me would be. I wasted a lot of time, money and resources trying to figure that out. And I almost lost myself in the process.” —Anisah Karim     

Why I’m not anxious about where my kids go to school — but do worry about the segregation that surrounds us

“In fact, it will be a good thing for my boys to learn alongside children who are different from them in many ways — that is one advantage they will have that I did not, attending parochial schools in a lily-white suburb.” —Mary Jo Cramb

I covered Tennessee’s ed beat for Chalkbeat. Here’s what I learned.

“Apathy is often cited as a major problem facing education. That’s not the case in Tennessee.” —Grace Tatter

I went viral for walking my students home from school in Memphis. Here’s what got lost in the shuffle.

“When #blacklivesmatter is a controversial statement; when our black male students have a one in three chance of facing jail time; when kids in Memphis raised in the bottom fifth of the socioeconomic bracket have a 2.6 percent chance of climbing to the top fifth — our walking students home does not fix that, either.” —Carl Schneider

I think traditional public schools are the backbone of democracy. My child attends a charter school. Let’s talk.

“It was a complicated choice to make. The dialogue around school choice in Nashville, though, doesn’t often include much nuance — or many voices of parents like me.” —Aidan Hoyal

I grew up near Charlottesville and got a misleading education about Civil War history. Students deserve better.

“In my classroom discussions, the impetus for the Civil War was resigned to a debate over the balance of power between federal and state governments. Slavery was taught as a footnote to the cause of the war.” —Laura Faith Kebede

Weekend Reads

Need classroom decor inspiration? These educators have got you covered.

This school year, students will spend about 1,000 hours in school —making their classrooms a huge part of their learning experience.

We’re recognizing educators who’ve poured on the pizazz to make students feel welcome. From a 9th-grade “forensics lab” decked out in caution tape to a classroom stage complete with lights to get first graders pumped about public speaking, these crafty teachers have gone above and beyond to create great spaces.

Got a classroom of your own to show off? Know someone that should be on this list? Let us know!

Jaclyn Flores, First Grade Dual Language, Rochester, New York
“Having a classroom that is bright, cheerful, organized and inviting allows my students to feel pride in their classroom as well as feel welcome. My students look forward to standing on the stage to share or sitting on special chairs to dive into their learning. This space is a safe place for my students and we take pride in what it has become.”

Jasmine, Pre-K, Las Vegas, Nevada
“My classroom environment helps my students because providing calming colors and a home-like space makes them feel more comfortable in the classroom and ready to learn as first-time students!”


Oneika Osborne, 10th Grade Reading, Miami Southridge Senior High School, Miami, Florida
“My classroom environment invites all of my students to constantly be in a state of celebration and self-empowerment at all points of the learning process. With inspirational quotes, culturally relevant images, and an explosion of color, my classroom sets the tone for the day every single day as soon as we walk in. It is one of optimism, power, and of course glitter.”

Kristen Poindexter, Kindergarten, Spring Mill Elementary School, Indianapolis, Indiana
“I try very hard to make my classroom a place where memorable experiences happen. I use songs, finger plays, movement, and interactive activities to help cement concepts in their minds. It makes my teacher heart so happy when past students walk by my classroom and start their sentence with, “Remember when we…?”. We recently transformed our classroom into a Mad Science Lab where we investigated more about our 5 Senses.”


Brittany, 9th Grade Biology, Dallas, Texas
“I love my classroom environment because I teach Biology, it’s easy to relate every topic back to Forensics and real-life investigations! Mystery always gets the students going!”


Ms. Heaton, First Grade, Westampton, New Jersey
“As an educator, it is my goal to create a classroom environment that is positive and welcoming for students. I wanted to create a learning environment where students feel comfortable and in return stimulates student learning. A classroom is a second home for students so I wanted to ensure that the space was bright, friendly, and organized for the students to be able to use each and every day.”

D’Essence Grant, 8th Grade ELA, KIPP Houston, Houston, Texas
“Intentionally decorating my classroom was my first act of showing my students I care about them. I pride myself on building relationships with my students and them knowing I care about them inside and outside of the classroom. Taking the time to make the classroom meaningful and creative as well building a safe place for our community helps establish an effective classroom setting.”


Jayme Wiertzema, Elementary Art, Worthington, Minnesota
“I’m looking forward to having a CLASSROOM this year. The past two years I have taught from a cart and this year my amazing school district allowed me to have a classroom in our school that is busting at the seams! I’m so excited to use my classroom environment to inspire creativity in my students, get to know them and learn from their amazing imaginations in art class!”


Melissa Vecchio, 4th Grade, Queens, New York
“Since so much of a student’s time is spent inside their classroom, the environment should be neat, organized, easy to move around in but most of all positive. I love to use a theme to reinforce great behavior. I always give the students a choice in helping to design bulletin boards and desk arrangements. When they are involved they take pride in the classroom, and enjoy being there.”