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Department of Education to close Sheepshead Bay High

Sheepshead Bay High School flunks out

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The city has begun the process of “phasing out” Sheepshead Bay High School following a March 11 vote by the Panel for Education Policy.

The panel, which has the final say in the matter, aims to close the ailing school by 2017, replacing it with a new public high school, two charter high schools, and a district transfer high school, all due to open by this September.

Beginning in the fall, Sheepshead Bay High School will no longer accept incoming freshman, and will phase out students by grade for the next three years.

New York City’s public schools receive grades A through F just like their students, albeit on an annual basis, reflecting the students’ progress and performance, the school’s environment, and — as of the 2011-2012 school year — the school’s ability to prepare students for college and careers. In the 2011-2012 school year, Sheepshead Bay High School received an overall D grade on its progress report, with F grades in the student progress, student performance, and school environment subcategories, and a C grade in its ability to prepare students for college and careers.

Prior to last year’s progress report, the school received an overall D on its 2010-2011 report card, and two consecutive C grades in the years before, which the city says shows a persistent regression in the quality of education the school provides its students.

“In light of the fact that performance at Sheepshead Bay has continued to decline, the DOE believes that Sheepshead Bay is not able to improve quickly to support student learning,” read a Department of Education press release. “Given the school’s declining performance, the DOE now believes that only the most serious intervention, a gradual phase-out and eventual closure of Sheepshead Bay, will address the school’s declining performance and long-standing struggles and allow for new school options to develop in building K495 that will better serve future students and the broader community.”

Sheepshead Bay High School’s four-year graduation rate was a mere 51 percent in 2012, placing it in the bottom 14 percent of city school’s in that category. If a current student hasn’t graduated by the time the school is set to close, the Department of Education will help the family to identify another school for the student to attend until graduation.

The soon-to-shut school also suffered a low attendance rate of 80.1 percent, below the city’s 85.4 percent average and again putting Sheepshead Bay High in the bottom 14 percent of schools. Students also felt unsafe at the school, with only 65 percent of students reporting feeling safe on school grounds, placing it firmly in the dubious bottom three percent of school’s citywide.

Following several years of bad report cards, the school was designated as a Persistently Low Achieving school in July, 2010, and Sheepshead Bay High was awarded a School Improvement Grant to the tune of $1,550,000 per year for the next three years in 2011.

However, following last year’s bad reports, the School Improvement Grant was revoked, as the city plans to pursue its plans of phasing out the high school.

Naturally, not everyone is happy to see the long-time educational institution go the way of the dinosaurs, especially since it will be replaced by charter schools.

“I don’t like to see charter schools replacing local schools, which serve local children,” said Plumb Beach Civic Association president Kathleen Flynn.

Ari Kagan, the area’s democratic district leader and a candidate to replace Councilman Michael Nelson, said that closing one high school and opening another doesn’t seem like the right direction to improve education.

“While I am not against reform and appreciate that times change, this closure and collocation plan will not serve the students, parents or teachers of our community,” said Kagan. “The Department of Education’s main goal should be improving the public school system, and this will not help reach that goal.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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Reader Feedback

Kim from knapp street says:
yes i agree the school should close. its really not a good school stated by many reports out there not many kids graduate there grade as a school is a D in my opinion it should be closed down i will be a freshmen next year sept 4 2013 and i really would not like to go there thanks for your time
June 9, 2013, 12:39 pm
Peter Brown from New Mexico says:
I am a graduate of SBHS in 1964 and don't see why this
school must be closed. Why not improve programs
and overhaul the curriculum and replace faculty and
monitor progress closely? The building is a good one,
is it to be wasted? If the school is to be "closed," why
not replace the program in the same building with a
charter school or whatever is done nowadays. I cannot
see wasting the building, which is well situated within
it's community and architecturally very good.
May 22, 2014, 8:19 am
anonymous SBHS 1965 grad from Sheepshead Bay now in NJ says:
I was always proud to be a SBHS grad. I received an excellent education there which led me to Brooklyn College and a successful career. SBHS once had one of the highest ratings in the City.I don't know what brought about the decline of SBHS and why the BOE allowed the school's academic standing to deteriorate.

Charter schools are not the answer. They just siphon funds away from the public schools. Sheepshead needs a complete revamping to return to its former glory.
Oct. 18, 2014, 1:34 pm
Janelle says:
I graduated from SBHS in 2011. There were many things that went wrong in this school. One of the main issues I believe is it became a dumping ground for student who didn't do well coming out of middle school. Also, the ESL student population at this school was HUGE. It created diversity but I feel that in some ways it may have affected the school performance. I personally think I got a great education. The teachers were good. I was prepared for college because I went to school, didn't mess around, and had a family that expected nothing less than the best. I received scholarships and will be graduating Magna Cum Laude from University in a few months. They did end up phasing out this school. My little brother will be a part of the very last graduating class of SBHS this coming June. I dont believe this school should have closed. However, the correct resources should have been provided to the teachers and students. It hurts to Sheepshead go but that's the way he cookie crumbles. I hope in the end it was worth it. GO SHARKS!
Jan. 18, 2015, 8:45 pm
Debbie from Former Grad says:
This is typical of the insanity of Education Departments in this country. The school, the physical structure, has not played a role in the students' failure. Neither have the teachers. As the article stated, students are choosing not to come to school. That, alone, would lead to their failure. Using limited funds to reconfigure Sheepshead is a waste of taxpayer's money. Let the students who want an education continue attending SBHS. Provide an alternative program somewhere else for the "less motivated" students. Then see how fast the school returns to its former glory.
June 1, 2015, 2:24 pm
Anonymous from Sheepshead Bay says:
I just found out that sheepshead bay HS is closing. I began HS in Sept of 1963 and the school was all of 2 years old. My friends and I felt privileged that we were lucky enough to go to a new school. To hear of the deterioration of the school breaks my heart. I have many memories of attending Sheepshead; some good, some not so good. I had the best English teacher there. His name was Mr. Rivlin. I can truly say that attending his class has left a lifelong impression on me. I agree with comments from Debbie and anonymous that it is not the school's fault, but indeed the BOE! for not paying attention to what was once a great school.
June 1, 2015, 11:45 pm
2010 grad says:
I had a great four years at sheepshead. During my four years there i definitely seen alot of changes going on witth the school. The school started accepting other kids who were kicked out of other schools for whatever reason. This school is an amazing school with great staff. It was like a family and it is sad to see the school going down. The principal when i attended sheepshead Bay did all she can to keep the school open. I blame the education system for the lack of resources which was coming into the school. Closing a school is not going to solve the problem with graduation rates. If the resources isn't there what more can be done. I will truly miss the bay. I feel bad for the teachers who loved sheepshead. But when its all said and done " Once a shark always a Shark"
July 1, 2015, 8:21 am
Bob Brener from Sheepshead Bay says:
As an alum of this great school (1971-1975) I am heart-broken to hear the news. Great memories with great teachers, and fond memories of good friends in those days is the only consolation we all now have. Mr. Mangano was my all time favorite teacher. He and this great institution will be severly missed. Our class (1975) raised funds for the football team we never had, but cared to carry on after we graduated. I guess we can all live through our memories of our high school days and know Thomas Wolfe was right- We cannot go home. (except through our memoies). R.I.P S.B.H.S.
Oct. 15, 2015, 9:30 pm
Keith from Out of state says:
Im trying to get hold of my college basketball coach--Ron Kestenbaum. I understand he retired in 2004 from sheepshead bay high school as athletic director. Can anyone help?
Nov. 14, 2015, 2:03 am
S from Nostrand ave. says:
Always will have special place in my heart.
March 22, 2016, 4:29 pm
Russell Kirby from Batchelder Street says:
How can it be that the taxpayers and the elected officials can allow an institution as an important as a High School to close in this manner?
As a graduate, Class of 1976, I can assure you that the curriculum that were offered at the time, the Faculty and Administration, were ALL top of the line.
Our Pretzel Booth helped fund the Sharks, even though we never had a chance to see the team on the field.
Our School Spirit was embodied in Sing, which was an amazing learning, and theatrical experience.
How sad to "give up".
The policy of Charter Schools is contrary to the fundamentals of a "free" Public Education System, which, I feel is a cornerstone of our what really made, and makes "America Great".
April 12, 2016, 4:36 pm
observer from out of state says:
I attended SBHS in the 70's. While I had many good teachers and honors courses, it was a scary school even back then. Race riots, stabbings, almost daily MACE sprayed in the halls one year; not such fond memories. I graduated as soon as possible and went off to college. Sound like it went even further down-hill since I was there. Sad overall.
May 1, 2016, 5:03 pm
MIKE from Haring St, 2 blocks away from SBHS says:
I graduated in 79. Even back we didn't fell safe. I used to somehow escape from the school to run home to go to the bathroom in my house ,that was only two blocks away, because I was scared to go to the bathroom in the school.
July 15, 2016, 4:22 am
Logical69 from Crown Heights says:
I graduated from Sheepshead Bay in 1985. When I went to the school the school was awesome. It was the school that had a diversity of cultures which sometimes we did not get along but for the most part many of us did. What became the biggest problem for the school was many of the kids who started coming to the school were from a less than adequate family, meaning this students were not from families or have parents that reared to try to teach their children to try and have respect for others. The school was or still a mostly Caucasian neighborhood with the influx of different ethnic nationalities. This ethnic mixture created confrontation between Caucasian and swarthy people and or Caucasian people and Asian people; these were normally the ignorant ones. Nevertheless the school was outstanding and had Automotive and metal shop classes. Sheepshead was also one of the first schools that had co-op programs which student worked one week and the following week went to school. I was one of those students able to join the program. So before I was even able to graduate I was able to see what it was like to be part of the real work force which to me was one of the most important things the school had to offer. A school do not change it adapts... it is the people who change. This school did well with the worst of the Worst students tossed in with the brightest of students so its logical to surmise that the school district would send even more students with problems to Sheepshead Bay school. This was in earnestly to improve these problematic young people or to make said school fail so it could be put the Auction block to be sold as Charter School or turned into apartment building with awesome view of the ocean three blocks away. I say this because if this charter school mysteriously fail, We will see a 30 story building built by Donald Trump in its place.
Dec. 10, 2016, 2:32 pm

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