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Bushwick Community's High School's fight against closure

The battle to save Bushwick Community High School from closure began even before Mayor Bloomberg first announced plans to “turnaround” nearly three dozen schools in January.

Staff at the school had already been hard at work to untangle itself from an accountability dragnet set by No Child Left Behind when Bloomberg made his announcement. Bushwick Community first landed in its predicament is because the state’s evaluation method didn’t consider Bushwick Community’s over-aged population when it plugged in four- and six-year graduation rates.

But the fight to save the school became more desperate as a final meeting to decide the school’s neared. GothamSchools covered the story closely in the final months and the video above captures the voices of some of the students and teachers who played key roles in the fight.

Despite their 11th hour rescue, the saga for Bushwick Community High School isn’t over. Enrollment and attendance waned during the months in which the school’s future status was in limbo.

And in a sign that could be foreboding for the other eight schools removed from the list of turnaround schools more teachers are planning to leave BCHS next year than most years, staff members said. For months teachers were told their jobs were no longer secure and many of them went on the offensive and found jobs elsewhere.

“This isn’t over,” David Donsky, a teacher at the school, said at the end of the video. “There’s a real battle over accountability should look like and, again, there has to be accountability. But what accountability looks like really looks like and how do you measure success in the classroom is up for a lot of debate.”

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