Sunday, September 23, 2012

Satellite Student Highlighted on National Television

Schomburg Satellite student, Morgan Asencio, was highlighted in the ReelWorks film, American Dropout, on PBS this Saturday, September 22.

The show aired nationally as a part of the PBS program American Graduate.

The program promoted organizations that are working to increase awareness about and address our nation's high school graduation rates.

In the ReelWorks film, Morgan, along with high school students from around the city, discusses her struggles with completing high school in the traditional 4 year path. She then shares her goals at Satellite and beyond.

Our principal, Marsha, also gets to share her expertise in working at a transfer school. She explains that schools must recognize that students are coming from a wide range of challenges, and that despite their struggles, students should always be seen as successes.

Stay tuned for a showing at Schomburg Satellite coming soon!

Thanks to ReelWorks for working with us and sharing stories from our community.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Arturo A. Schomburg Satellite Academy Bronx

After co-location of a fourth school in the Bronx Regional Campus, Schomburg Satellite Academy opens on a new floor.

The co-location and move was driven by a top down and undemocratic process that took approximately 50% of the classroom space from a transfer school (more to come) and yet we managed to maintain the entirety of the administrative, teaching and office staff minus one and plus one.

We are honored to open the new school year with dignity, invigorated by the determination of our namesake Arturo A. Schomburg to "...research diligently the annals of our time and bring back from obscurity the truth of our heritage, of our power."

Monday, April 23, 2012

Save Bushwick Community HS--Transfer School

  1. Petitioning Deputy Chancellor Sternberg
    Created by Jesus Gonzalez

Link to Petition: 
Why This Is Important
Dear Deputy Chancellor Sternberg,

I am writing to ask that you grant a waiver to remove 32K564, Bushwick Community High School (BCHS), from among the 33 schools slated for the turn-around model at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.

BCHS is a transfer school serving students 17-21 years-old who have had unsuccessful experiences at other high schools in the city. Most students begin at BCHS at the age of 17 or 18, with fewer than 15 credits. Therefore, it is almost impossible to graduate students before their cohort expires. BCHS should not have the standards in the metrics for graduating students at the same timeline as other schools. As a result of the current metrics with which schools are assessed (that does not take into account the unique characteristics of transfer schools) BCHS has been placed on the PLA list.

However, students at BCHS routinely demonstrate improved outcomes over their prior school experience(s). On the transfer school-specific Alternative Cohort, BCHS made AYP for Regents exam performance in the 2010/11 school year. Additionally, the school’s NYC Progress Report highlights much of its success. Compared to the other transfer schools, BCHS is given a 95% for improving student attendance, a 90% for its English Regents pass rate, and a 100% for its Math Regents pass rate. This means BCHS is performing at the top of our peer group of schools in these vital areas. These factors contribute to our grade of “B” for “Student Progress.”

Please work to stop the closing of BCHS by granting a waiver that will allow it to continue to provide such a vital service to students who have been failed by their previous schools. Thank you in advance for your efforts.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Notice: Hearing on Co-locations in New York City Public Schools

Hearing on Co-locations in New York City Public Schools

The City Council’s Education Committee, chaired by Council Member Robert Jackson, will hold an oversight hearing on the Co-locations in New York City Public Schools.  Below is information regarding the upcoming hearing:

  • Hearing title:   “Oversight: Co-locations in New York City Public Schools   
  • Date:              Thursday, April 19, 2012
  • Time:              1:00 pm (*public testimony is estimated to begin after 2:30pm)
  • Place:              250 Broadway - Committee Room, 16th Fl.

One of the key education reforms adopted by the Bloomberg administration is the expansion of school choice options by opening charter schools and new traditional district-operated public schools.  Since 2002, the Department of Education (DOE) has opened more than 500 new schools. To accommodate the growing number of new schools, DOE has increasingly used the strategy of “co-location,” that is, siting multiple schools in a single building.  While some schools have shared buildings successfully for years, DOE’s increasing use of co-locations has become highly controversial.  In many school communities, parents, teachers, students and other stakeholders have objected to new schools being sited inside existing school buildings.  

Objections have centered on lack of adequate consultation with affected school communities as well potential overcrowding and difficulties inherent in sharing facilities.  The most contentious co-locations have involved charter schools sharing space in district school buildings.  In some cases, critics contend that the charters have enhanced facilities, smaller classes and other resources that the host school does not have, leading to conflicts among schools.
This hearing will focus on issues and concerns that have arisen from DOE’s efforts to co-locate multiple schools, whether district or charter, in a single facility.
We invite members of Community Education Councils, parents, students, educators, advocates, and all other stakeholders and interested members of the public to testify at this hearing.  Testimony will be limited to 2-3 minutes per person to allow as many as possible to testify.  Although the hearing starts at 1:00 pm, the Administration (Department of Education), as well as other witnesses (such as elected officials) have been invited to testify and answer questions from Council Members at the outset, so we do not expect to hear from others until sometime after 2:30pm.  

 Please make sure you fill out a witness slip on the desk of the Sergeant-at-arms if you wish to testify.  If you plan to bring written testimony, please bring at least 20 copies.  If you are unable to attend the hearing and wish to submit written testimony, please email your testimony to

Please share this information with any interested groups or individuals. Thank you for your assistance and we look forward to seeing you on April 19th!

Please note - hearing dates and times are subject to change.  For information about hearings and other events, check the Council's website at or, if you'd like to receive email notices of upcoming hearings, you can sign up at the following link  All hearings are open to members of the public. 

Summary Public Hearing: Implementation of Federal School Intervention Models (Turnaround) in NYC (Assembly Standing Committee on Education)

Education Committee Hearing on Implementation of Federal School Intervention Models in NYC, April 11, 2012, 10:30AM - 5:00PM.

NYSED Commissioner John B. King and NYCDOE Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Suransky and Sternberg spoke in support of Turnaround models to support rapid changes toward increasing school achievement.

The Education Committee was highly concerned about:
  1. Lack of transparent NYSED oversight of the Regents Reform Agenda, which supports the use of Race to the Top funds to implement the Turnaround model (including lack of oversight of Educational Partnership Organizations and Local Educational Agencies)
  2. NYCDOE inability to provide proof that the Turnaround model is effective way to improve schools
  3. Lack of community input regarding implementation of radical Turnaround model

  • Commissioner King spoke favorably of the NYSED Joint Investigation Teams that assess intervention needs of public schools, although the JIT does not involve parents or teachers from the school. 
  • NYC DOE cited successful turnaround school, but later Leonie Haimson stated that Suransky's school was successful because it had small class sizes.
  • Assembly Member Benedetto represented Lehman HS on multiple occasions stating Lehman did not have time to implement Restart funds.
  • AM O'Donnell consistently argued that DOE goals are admirable but DOE does not listen to communities, and that funds would better be used to lower class sizes.
  • AM Brenner suggested that Race to the Top funds only account for a minuscule percentage of the annual school budget (the fight for major changes in schools is a fight over pennies) implying that school closures/Turnaround/Restart/Transformation/Co-location along with teacher evaluation mechanisms, and push for Common Core Standards are simply part of a political fight rather than real concern over appropriate spending allocations.
  • AM Hon. Catherine Nolan (Chair of Committee on Education), angry about the Turnaround model at her school Gover Cleveland HS in Queens, was concerned mostly about lack of oversight and accountability measures. She stated on more than one occasion that she had not anticipated or intended school closures when she supported application for Race to the Top funds. She requested that NYC DOE reconsider implementation of radical Turnaround model for September, especially because it is not proven effective for improving school achievement.
  • All Assembly Members present, including AM Millman, Clark, O'Donnell, Benedetto, N Rivera, Brennan, Simanowitz, seemed concerned with unintended consequences of the Turnaround as a model for reform of public schools. The Assembly told NYSED and NYCDOE to expect FOILs for documentation of oversight and accountability measures.
  • However, Suransky, Walcott and Sternberg agreed that Turnaround is emotional but rapid transformation is necessary.
  • *NYSED and NYC DOE left after their testimonials and did not hear the testimonials of the following groups, however their representatives remained to take notes.


  • Ernest Logan, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, pointed to the blame game between the City and State, and that Turnaround is not an educationally sound model to support Persistently Low Achieving schools. He requested State Education Department oversight on local education authority, DOE and Chancellor to follow the rules.
  • Leo Casey, VP UFT, stated that Turnaround was the most disastrous policy of the Bloomberg Administration, largely because it continues to concentrate high needs students in a failure by design model, and called for 2 year moratorium on school closures.
  • Santos Crespo, Local 372 NYC Board of Education, related charter school co-location to apartheid in schools where some students are deemed better than others, and further that layoff of 642 BOE employees had a negative impact on school safety and support services. He suggested a lack of oversight in how Turnaround might increase school crime, bullying and drug use because of the shifting of teachers and BOE employees.
  • Leonie Haimson, Exec. Dir. Class Size Matters, argued that Race to the Top funds should be used to lower class sizes as a proven effective model to increase school achievement. She suggested that Community Education Councils be given weight in decisions regarding school closure / co-location.
  • Paola de Kock, NYC Citywide Council on High Schools, opposed the Turnaround model because it relies on replacement of personnel using "fundamentally arbitrary criteria" and relies on inexperienced teaching force from Teach for America. Further that DOE use of SIG funds is reckless when taking into account the unintended costs of ATRs, new teacher training and opening of new schools. She also mentioned how the Brooklyn Community School should not have been on the list of Persistently Low Achieving schools because it is a transfer school and therefore cannot be held to the 4 year cohort graduation rate, but that it is too late to do anything for that school.
  • Natasha Capers, Coalition for Educational Justice, PS/IS298 in Brownsville, stated that PS/IS298 is facing Turnaround with no clear explanation from the DOE and that using the Turnaround model in a community school is like replacing 50% of your family.
  • Elizabeth Buiss, Teacher John Dewey HS, stated that as a Restart school, Dewey had written a DOE-approved Comprehensive Education Plan to improve their school, but only given 4 months to implement the CEP when the DOE stated they would be up for Turnaround. Interestingly the Educational Impact Statement for the Turnaround proposal uses the same model that Dewey's School Leadership Team crafted for their CEP.
  • Dirk Peters, Teacher Schomburg Satellite Academy Bronx and Better Bronx Schools, stated that Race to the Top promotes opening of charter schools, which has been implemented through the school co-location model. Further that SUNY and State are not engaging in oversight of co-location of charter schools in DOE public schools.
  • Community Education Council 3 urged a cease on school closures and co-locations until all questions presented by the Assembly have been answered by NYC DOE and NYSED.
  • Students from Grover Cleveland HS, Lehman HS, Automotive HS, Sheepshead Bay HS, Legacy HS, El Puente, and others presented their lack of faith in the NYC DOE Turnaround model to increase school achievement, especially because it would remove 50% of their teachers.

Summary by Better Bronx Schools

The Education Committee did not take to the idea that using Race to the Top funding to promote co-location of charter schools was inherently connected to the Turnaround model. 

This implies that folks do not see a connection between co-location and future label as Persistently Low Achieving status followed by Turnaround implementation. 

Schomburg Satellite, although only facing co-location with a charter school in September 2012, may in the near future be slated to the same fate as Brooklyn Community School. Please lookout for negative reports about Schomburg Satellite.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bloomberg’s Four-Step Strategy To Kill a School

Bloomberg’s Four-Step Strategy To Kill a School

Juan Pagan, parent leader at Legacy HS and a member of the Citywide Council on HS, gave this eloquent speech at March 15 press conference in Foley Square:

It is beyond me how Mayor Bloomberg refers to himself as the “Education Mayor” when his educational reform policy is nothing more than a four-step strategy to kill schools.

Bloomberg’s Four-Step Strategy To Kill a School:

Devastate schools with years of budget cuts. Overwhelm the most struggling schools disproportionately (like it did to Legacy High School) with large numbers of students with high needs without resources, even as the cutbacks continue. Use flawed and fabricated data to wrongfully justify closing and phasing out schools. Overwhelm teachers with overcrowded classrooms, no resources, and demand optimum results, and then wrongfully punish them for doing their best.

  • [At Satellite, a transfer school, we have 100% high needs students. The DOE has used flawed and fabricated data to claim that there are more rooms on our floor than actually exist, and to boost the capacity #s 46% in order to take away 46% for the new school.]

Teachers are the lifeblood of our schools. Release Teacher Data Reports with flawed and inaccurate data and with a high margin of error, data that was collected experimentally and was abandoned by the DOE, but happily revived by the coercive tactics of Mayor Bloomberg to demoralize educators, pit parents against teachers, create doubt and discord among parents; confusion and fear.

  • [At Satellite, the DOE has pitted our community against one school that provides options for youths who are not successful in traditional schools against another school that provides options for youths who are not successful in traditional schools.]

Children are the soul of our schools. Make children feel as if they are the failures; disrupt the stability given by teachers and educators, create an adverse affect on their ability to learn and lead our children to falsely believe that they are the failures, when it is Bloomberg’s educational reform policy that is failing our children.

  • [Co-location at Satellite makes students feel like they are returning to their old schools bumping elbows with strangers and school security. It makes Satellite students feel that they will not get the credits they need. It makes Satellite students feel that their voices are not being heard: "One School One Floor!" rings the halls, the streets and the internet, but their voices are not heard.]

The final blow is inflicted by the Panel for Educational Policy, like a sword stabbed in the back of our education system, directly into the heart of our schools and then twisted and pulled out by the PEP. Schools closing and being phased out, like watching them bleed to death.

  • [Co-location at Satellite has been imposed by an undemocratic and flawed process. We demand an investigation of a flawed system.]

SCHOOLS DIE. And our children ultimately pay the price.

Mayor Bloomberg: You are NOT and shall NOT go down as the “Education Mayor.” You are and SHALL go down as the Executioner of our schools.

Mayor Bloomberg, if you think that you will only have to deal with the UFT, you are wrong. You will answer to the fathers and mothers and parents and guardians of the children of this city. You will answer to us!

Posted by 


YOUTH ON THE MOVE, local CBO, creates petition on behalf of Satellite Academy and Bronx Regional HS

Please sign a petition created by local youth who oppose co-location at Satellite Academy imposed by the DOE. 




Another Charter School CO-LOCATION looms for the South Bronx and immediately threatens the very existence of our good innovative public high school, Satellite Academy (SA).

As usual, the callous Bloomberg’s Department of Education (DOE), without any input of our parents, students, staff and Bronx communities, moves impose the ROADS II Charter School into the Bronx Regional High School Building complex where the three schools already exist (i.e. Bronx Regional, GED Plus, and Satellite Academy).

Without community input, the DOE arrogantly claims that ROADS II Charter School will have no educational impact!


Fully fund and support our Satellite Academy high school!

For more info go to:
Contact us at: Better Bronx Schools – BBS

Better Bronx Schools – BBS
Youth On The Move