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UPDATED FACT SHEET:

KAPPA II (05M317)
December 2010

Fact Sheet: Proposed Closure Scenario for KAPPA II


Overview
 Based on an extensive review of data and community feedback, the New York City Department of Education (DOE)
has determined that KAPPA II is unable to turnaround and cannot provide a high-quality education to its students. The
DOE is proposing that KAPPA II be closed.
 Proposing to close a school is the most difficult decision we make. We are proposing this action because we
think it’s the right thing for current and future students in this community.
 KAPPA II would close at the end of this school year, rather than phase out, because the school currently serves very
few students—only 36 current sixth and seventh grade students. Next year, current KAPPA II sixth and seventh grade
students would attend other District 5 middle schools.
 We hope you share our view that we can—and must—do better for students. The DOE will continue to work closely
with KAPPA II staff and families to ensure that all students receive the support they need to succeed in school.

Summary
 KAPPA II has struggled for years. In 2010, only 9% were on grade level in English language arts (ELA) and
only 17% of students were on grade level in math—putting KAPPA II among the lowest-performing schools in
the entire City.
 KAPPA II earned a D grade last year on its Progress Report. In the prior two years, KAPPA II earned a D and a C.
KAPPA II was rated “Undeveloped with Proficient Features (UPF)” on its most recent Quality Review, indicating
serious deficiencies in the way that the school is organized to support student learning.
 Last winter, the Panel for Educational Policy voted to phase out KAPPA II based on evidence that the school was not
able to improve student performance significantly. A lawsuit prevented the DOE from following through with those
plans.
 KAPPA II staff and families have worked hard to improve the school. The DOE has also offered considerable support
to KAPPA II, including extensive training for administrators and teachers, help with budgeting to ensure resources are
closely aligned with school and student needs, and identifying strategies to improve attendance and school safety.
Unfortunately, these efforts have not turned the school around.
 During conversations with the KAPPA II community, we heard concerns about students not getting the
education they need to be successful in high school and persistently low parental involvement. While the
community did have positive feedback about improved communication and discipline at the school, we do not
believe these positive components are enough to move the school in the right direction.

What would the proposal mean for current students?


If this proposal is approved, KAPPA II would be closed at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.

Below are enrollment plans for current KAPPA II students, if the proposal is approved.

 Current sixth and seventh grade students will be offered a seat at another District 5 school. He or she may also
participate in the lottery for any public charter school that has open seventh grade seats.
 Current eighth grade students will complete middle school at KAPPA II. If he or she does not meet graduation
requirements by the end of the 2010-2011 school year, he or she would be offered a seat at another District 5 middle
school. He or she may also participate in the lottery for any public charter school that has open eighth grade seats.

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Background
KAPPA II Has Struggled for Years
 The overwhelming majority of KAPPA II students remain below grade level in English language arts and math.
 Last year, only 9% of students were performing on grade level in English, placing KAPPA II in the bottom 5%
of middle schools citywide. In 2008-2009 performance in English was in the bottom 13% of middle schools in
New York City.
 Last year, only 17% of students were performing on grade level in math—placing KAPPA II in the bottom
10% of middle schools citywide. In 2008-2009, performance in math was in the bottom 10% of middle schools
in New York City.
 KAPPA II earned a D grade last year on its Progress Report, including a D for the Student Performance, Student
Progress, and School Environment sub-categories.
 Progress Report grade scores have been declining at KAPPA II. The school earned a B on its Progress Report in 2006-
2007, a C in 2007-2008, and D grades in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010.
 KAPPA II was rated “Underdeveloped with Proficient Features” on its most recent Quality Review, indicating serious
deficiencies in the way that the school is organized to support student learning. During Quality Reviews, experienced
educators spend several days visiting the school, observing classrooms and talking with staff, students, and parents.
Schools are rated on a four-point scale, with “well-developed” being the highest rating.
 The school’s attendance rate last year was 91%, slightly below the citywide average of '92% for middle schools.
 Safety issues have been a concern at the school. On the 2010 New York City School Survey, one in three
students—33%—reported feeling unsafe in the hallways, bathrooms, and locker rooms at school. Additionally,
75% of teachers reported that discipline and order are not maintained at KAPPA II.

Demand for the School is Low, Suggesting that Families Are Seeking Better Options
 KAPPA II currently enrolls 69 students, including only 13 sixth graders, 24 seventh graders, and 32 eighth
graders. Total enrollment is down from 193 students just two years ago. With such an extremely low enrollment
level, KAPPA II cannot afford to offer its students a full range of middle school classes and services, including after-
school and extracurricular programs.

Despite Our Best Efforts, Performance at KAPPA II Remains Low


We recognize that Kappa II staff members have worked hard to improve the school, but the school has not turned
around. To help the school’s efforts to improve performance, the DOE has offered numerous supports to Kappa II,
including:

Leadership Support:
 Helping the principal develop the school’s Comprehensive Education Plan and set school wide goals.
 Connecting administrators with other schools to learn effective practices that could be replicated at KAPPA II.
 Facilitation of a study group for the principal on effective teaching practices.
 Offering coaching to the principal on how to identify problems in classroom practices and improve instruction.
Instructional Support:
 On-site training for teachers in data analysis and aligning curriculum to the Common Core State Standards.
 Facilitating monthly literacy and math coach meetings on how to analyze data and use it to plan lessons.
 Arranging “learning walks” with the principal in order to provide feedback about instruction and make
recommendations for improvement.
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 Helping teacher teams identify the needs of English language learners, students with disabilities, and students
performing below grade level.
 On-site training for teachers by literacy and math content experts.

Operational Support:
 Hands-on operational and budget management training to ensure resources are properly aligned with student and
school needs.
 Guidance on managing relationships with the other schools on campus to allow for efficient and coordinated use of
facilities and shared spaces.

Student Support:
 Working with safety administrators to craft plans for a safe dismissal, given KAPPA II’s proximity to other schools.
 Assigning an attendance teacher to help develop systems to improve student attendance.
We Know That We Can Do Better
KAPPA II serves a high-need population: 28% of students require special education services and 6% are English
Language Learners. But other schools serving similar students have achieved better results.

 At M.S. 332 University Neighborhood Middle School, which is in the KAPPA II peer group, 31% of students of
students require special education services and 12% are English Language Learners. At that school, 21% of students
are on grade level in math and 26% are on grade level in English. In addition, students at M.S. 332 are achieving very
high levels of progress relative to their peers at other schools, especially in English. M.S. 332 earned a B on its most
recent Progress Report.
 At J.H.S. 151 Lou Gehrig in the Bronx, also in the KAPPA II peer group, 30% of students are English language
learners and 26% of students require special education services. This school has achieved an A on its Progress Report
for two years in a row. While only 15% of students are on grade level in English and 24% are on grade level in math,
J.H.S. 151 is in the top 10% of schools in the city in helping students make progress in English from one year to the
next.
 While all students are still not where we’d like them to be, these schools are getting far better results while serving a
similar mix of students to KAPPA II.

Community Feedback
On October 21, 2010, District 5 Superintendent Gale Reeves held a School Leadership Team meeting and parent meeting
at the school to discuss what is working at KAPPA II, what isn’t working, and how to work together to serve students
better. Approximately 10 parents attended the parent meeting. While they had positive feedback about improved
communication, safety, and discipline at the school, they also raised numerous concerns. Parents said:

 Eighth grade students are not being challenged and properly prepared for success in high school.
 Parental involvement is persistently low.

The School Leadership Team expressed similar concerns and also described a need for discipline to be consistent
throughout the school. Staff members, like parents, had positive things to say about improved communication between
the school and families and a new intervention program. However, these positive components are not enough to move
KAPPA II in the right direction.
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What You Can Expect


In January, we will host a joint public hearing with the District 5 Community Education Council and the KAPPA II
School Leadership Team, among others. As soon as the hearing has been scheduled, we will let you know and will also
share with you the formal proposal to close KAPPA II. During the hearing, community members, including parents and
students, will be able to share their thoughts on the closure proposal.

The proposal to close KAPPA II will be voted on by the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP), which is composed of
members appointed by Mayor Bloomberg and the five Borough Presidents, during a public meeting scheduled for the
first week of February 2011. During this meeting, the public will have another opportunity to comment on the proposal.
If the PEP approves the proposal, KAPPA II will not accept new students next school year and replacement schools will
begin growing in the building, starting next September.

Sharing Your Concerns and Questions


The Department of Education is seeking your feedback on the proposal. We will record your comments and include them
in our analysis of public feedback, which is presented to the Panel for Educational Policy prior to their vote on the
proposal. Please submit any comments you have at:

Phone: 212-374-3466
Email: D05Proposals@schools.nyc.gov

We also encourage you to visit the website created to serve KAPPA II at


http://schools.nyc.gov/community/planning/changes/manhattan/KAPPA2. We will update that website regularly with
important dates, answers to frequently asked questions, and new information as it becomes available.