Students and parents rally outside Cypress Hills Collegiate Preparatory Academy today. Photo by Emma Hulse.
Less than six years old, Cypress Hills Collegiate Preparatory School is the small-schools dinosaur on its campus — and it could be on the verge of extinction.
After just barely escaping an F on its latest report card, the DOE placed Cypress Hills Collegiate on a shortlist of schools that could be shuttered due to poor performance. The school had gotten an F on its first progress report grade in 2010.
Today, students rallied in front of the Franklin K. Lane building, where Cypress Hills Collegiate shares space with three other schools, to defend their school. The protest was the latest in a series of events supported by the Coalition for Educational Justice, which has helped community members at a number of schools at risk of being closed push back against the DOE’s characterization that the schools are low-performing. On Tuesday, parents and elected officials representing 15 of the 47 schools will bring that message to the DOE's Manhattan headquarters.
Before the rally, student organizers told me that Cypress Hills Collegiate would be more successful if there were more computers and elective courses and if students could use the building's library.
"It's not being used at all," said sophomore Odalis Rojas about the library. Rojas belongs to the Future of Tomorrow youth organization run by the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, which founded Cypress Hills Collegiate. "It is there for no reason."
Gabriel Cano, a senior on Cypress Hills Collegiate's student government, said instruction had grown more challenging during his time at the school. But it had also become less interesting, he said, with budget cuts causing the school to cancel cooking and sign language classes and reduce extracurricular activities.