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Clinton Hill School Named For Closing

Satellite Three on Gates Avenue to be phased out—that is, if DOE has its way.

The city Department of Education handed one Clinton Hill middle school a piece of unwelcome news Thursday.

M.S. 103 Satellite Three, serving grades 6 through 8 in a former elementary school building on Gates Avenue, was selected during the first round of school closures announced today.

The school is one of 11 slated to be "phased out." Three others were selected for "middle school truncation," which involves the relocation of grades 6 through 8 to other locations.

"These are never easy decisions, but when a school has failed to serve its students well year after year—even after receiving additional supports—we have a responsibility to provide students with better options," schools chancellor Dennis Walcott said in a statement released Thursday.

Part of Community Education District Council 13, Satellite Three has an enrollment of 274, according to InsideSchools.

The school scored a "D" in the DOE's latest progress report, with 33.7 percent demonstrating proficiency in math and 18.6 percent in English for the 2010-11 school year.

One group, Democrats for Education Reform, applauded the city's decision to shutter what it considered to be underperforming schools.

"These are schools that simply aren't worthy of Gotham's schoolchildren," said Joe Williams, DER's executive director. "The DOE has done everything in its power to help each and every one of these schools help themselves. They’ve given untold dollars, attention and professional development and the only thing our city has to show for the DOE’s efforts is another set of children unprepared for life’s challenges."

However, advocates for saving troubled schools—such as P.S. 22 in Prospect Heights—argued that closing down educational institutions should be a tool of last resort.

"We know that the school needs to make changes. But we want the DOE to consider other options first," said Simone Hawkins, budget director and education policy analyst for Councilwoman Letitia James, D-Brooklyn, who represents P.S. 22 as part of the 35th Council District.

James joined P.S. 22 parents and teachers on Nov. 30 in calling for a second chance for the school, which is still in danger of being shut by DOE.

“They love the school. They do believe that changes need to be made," Hawkins said. "But nothing is so impossible if given the support.”

The list now goes to the Panel for Education Policy, who must vote on the decision to shutter the schools.

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