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Christopher Columbus Educational Campus
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The massive Christopher Columbus High School building, renamed the Christopher Columbus Educational Campus after the original school closed in 2014, has been divided into small schools in an effort to improve attendance, graduation rates and safety. Each of the schools has a distinct mission and its own dedicated space. Some of the small schools are quite successful, but at least one did so poorly that the Department of Education closed it All share the cafeteria, gyms, auditorium, culinary arts studio and outdoor field. Students participate in campus-wide sports teams and orchestras. Students and visitors must pass through metal detectors to enter the building.
Collegiate Institute for Math and Science is the most academically demanding of the small schools, where students may take multiple Advanced Placement courses and choose from a slew of interesting electives. The High School of Language and Innovation offers a longer school day and lots of support to recent immigrants needing to learn English. Astor Collegiate focuses on math and science and has added technology courses. Pelham Prep has a partnership with University of Vermont, which offers free trips to its campus and help applying to college.
Bronxdale High School, has a non-traditional structure with students spending long stretches of the day working on group and individual projects. Global Enterprise High School, opened in 2003, closed in June, 2014 because of poor performance.
Columbus once served roughly 4,500 students. In 2004, the Department of Education (DOE) reduced its' size to a population of 1,600 students as small schools opened in the building. The changes caused a lot of tumult: The small schools lured away many of Columbus's experienced faculty and high-achieving students, and students who were left at Columbus were forced to attend school on second sessions. "My kids suffered terribly during the transition to smaller schools," Principal Lisa Fuentes told Insideschools in 2008. "The second session started at noon and the younger students didn't want to come in that late. Columbuss attendance rate fell to 69 percent that year. By 2008, the last time Insideschools visited Columbus, the school had rebounded from its low point, but was still struggling with below average performance.
In February 2011, the Panel for Education Policy approved the DOEs proposal to phase out Columbus High School. Students who were already enrolled were allowed to stay, but no new students were admitted. Columbus officially closed in 2014, replaced by the new small schools. (Laura Zingmond, August 2012)Read more