N.Y.C. To Open 3 High Schools for Disruptive Students

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The New York City school system this fall is planning to open three small high schools for disruptive students, including those who have been suspended for weapons possession.

Chancellor Joseph A. Fernandez initiated the creation of the three "borough academies'' in an attempt to provide an "educationally appropriate'' and highly structured setting for students who are not functioning in a traditional high school, according to a memorandum last month from Mr. Fernandez to the board of education.

The schools, which would supplement the existing alternative-schools system, would serve students who are facing or have been placed on long-term suspensions of up to one calendar year. Students involved in assaults or who bring weapons to school usually draw a long-term suspension, Frank Sobrino, a spokesman for the school system, said last week.

Students would stay at a borough academy temporarily until they could return to a regular school setting, Mr. Sobrino said.

Students ages 15 and older who volunteered with the agreement of their parents would be eligible for admission. Some middle school students could be admitted, according to Mr. Fernandez's memo.

The academies, with enrollments of 100 to 150 instead of a typical New York high school's 2,000 to 3,000 students, are designed to offer intensive assessment, expanded learning opportunities, enhanced guidance services, and credit-bearing community service, among other services, officials said.

The academies will be located in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. Specific sites have not yet been selected, Mr. Sobrino said.

The school district has also launched a similar program in Manhattan for 100 to 150 "high risk'' high school students. Wildcat Service Corporation, a community-based organization, is conducting the Manhattan program under a $750,000 contract. Wildcat has developed a program combining social services with academic and vocational activities, according to the school system.

Mr. Sobrino could not provide a budget figure for the three borough academies. But he said the expense of setting up each campus would not likely exceed the cost of the contract for the Wildcat Service Corporation school.--M.L.

Vol. 12, Issue 02

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