High School of Graphic Communication Arts
As of June 2016 the High School of Graphic Communication Arts has officially closed after years of poor performance. The Department of Education has proposed to open and co-locate a new district high school in the building. As of 2014, there were four other schools in the building: The Urban Assembly Gateway School for Technology, a school with a close knit community and lots of access to computers; The Business of Sports School, which uses interest in sports to develop and nurture business skills; Stephen T. Mather Building Arts & Craftsmanship High School, focused on hands-on learning and career preparation and Success Academy Hell's Kitchen Charter School.
The DOE began phasing out the High School of Graphic Communication Arts in September 2013, admitting no new students after that point. Graphic Communication Arts was a Career and Technical Education (CTE) school designed to train students for a trade as well as offer them regular academic classes. The school was originally founded as the High School of Printing in 1925.
The school faced many challenges before its closure. Attendance was poor and graduation rates were low. Students had to pass through metal detectors to get to class. A majority of students who responded to the 2010-11 NYC School Survey said students were disrespectful to teachers and to one another.
When Brendon Lyons became principal in 2011, there was hope that his new ideas and new energy would revitalize the school. He hired student aides to telephone classmates if they missed school. He gave teachers common planning times so they could discuss students' progress and coordinate lessons. He worked with his staff to ensure that the training the students received would prepare them for current jobs in industry—and not for yesterday's trades. He believed the best way to improve attendance was to make classes so exciting that students would want to come to school. At least in the classes we visited, his strategy seemed to be paying off: students in the photo dark room, an English class and a digital printing class were focused and engaged in their work. Class changes were calm, with no signs of rough-housing. However, the school was slated for closure two years after Lyons started at the school, and officially closed five years after he began his time as principal.
(original review Clara Hemphill, October 2011; updated and revised August 2016)