Jonathan Levin High School for Media and Communications
JUNE 2013 UPDATE: The Jonathan Levin High School for Media and Communications is being phased out and replaced after years of poor performance. No new students were admitted in September 2013, and the phase-out will be completed in June 2016. The DOE has proposed to open a new school in the building that would serve grades 6-12 with a focus on serving over-aged middle school students and supporting them through high school.
DECEMBER 2011 REVIEW: The vision: The chance to produce videos and to work in an in-school television studio gets kids excited about school.
The reality: Students stay in one classroom for most of the day as the teachers for different subjects rotate in and out. Principal Nasib Hoxha says that decreases the amount of time wasted between classes and helps keep kids safe. While the school, one of six small schools in the Taft Educational Campus, seemed orderly enough on our visit, it has a high rate of suspensions. Students must pass through metal detectors at the entrance. More than one-third of the students say they don’t feel safe in area around the school and about one-quarter say they don’t feel safe in the corridors or bathrooms, according to the Learning Environment Survey. The school has below average attendance and only about half the students graduate on time.
On the positive side, there is a pleasant television studio where students make their own news shows. The video teacher, Don Cerrone, was a “key grip” for 30 years in Hollywood and worked on the production of 100 feature films in Hollywood. Overall, the teachers at Jonathan Levin seem committed to helping students. We heard no raised voices on our visit and the staff was willing to give individual attention to students.
The school is named for Jonathan Levin, a teacher who was murdered at his home by a student in 1997. The teacher was the son of former Time-Warner chief Gerald Levin, and Time-Warner donated money to the school when it first opened in 2002.
Special education: About 50 students are in "self-contained" classes for special needs children only, and others receive extra help in regular classes under the program called "special education teacher support services" or SETSS.
Admissions: Educational option formula designed to ensure a balance of low- middle and high-achieving students. Call the parent coordinator to schedule a visit. (Clara Hemphill, December 2011)