Beach Channel High School
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Building overlooks Jamaica Bay
School closed for poor performance in 2014
The Beach Channel High School was closed in June 2014. The building now houses several small schools:
The Channel View School for Research, a school for 6th-12th graders, combines a focus on getting to college with hands-on activities and expeditions. The combination has produced high attendance and graduation rates and better-than-average preparation for college. A partnership with Jet Blue Airlines provides internships for older students and free flights for college visits.
The Rockaway Park High School for Environmental Sustainability offers students an opportunity to develop carpentry and culinary skills. The school is still new, and teachers struggle with attendance and discipline issues.
Rockaway Collegiate High School was created to offer students additional time and support to help them be successful in high school and college by extending school hours and adding a summer program. Students develop study plans with teachers and are required to submit portfolios of their work at the end of each grade.
Hurricane Sandy damaged the building in October 2012, and students were assigned to Franklin K. Lane School until January 2013.
Even before the hurricane, the Department of Education had decided to close the Beach Channel High Schooll after years of poor performance. No new students were admitted in September 2011.
Before closing, Beach Channel suffered from poor attendance, low levels of academic achievement and significant safety issues: More than one-third of the students responding to a DOE survey in 2010-2011 said they felt unsafe in hallways, lockers or bathrooms. Only one-third of teachers responding to the survey said order and discipline were maintained at the school. The school was the subject of a 2007 New York Times column, which described how an influx of disruptive students from outside the school's attendance zone contributed to an unruly atmosphere.
The building overlooks the wildlife haven of Jamaica Bay, a noted bird sanctuary and one of the components of the National Park Service's Gateway National Recreation Area. When Insideschools visited in 2002, the school was noted for its attractive oceanography program. From the school's private dock, students set sail into the bay to bring back fish and other water creatures to observe or nurture. The science department was filled with tanks of eels, crabs, and other marine life. Housed in a big, sprawling building, even with a sizable student population, Beach Channel was not filled to capacity. (Clara Hemphill, DOE statistics and newspaper accounts, December 2014)Read more
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