Yonkers' Cross Hill Academy, Roosevelt High School, Put On Official Notice From State

A pair of county schools must improve their academic achievements or face a state-appointed overseer.

Although Westchester is known for its many excellent schools and innovative alternative education programs, New York State officials recently singled out two Yonkers schools for failing to meet performance expectations.

The schools, Cross Hill Academy and Roosevelt High School, are among twenty-seven statewide that officials have determined need to improve their academic performance within a year if they don’t want a state-approved overseer to step in.

New York’s approximately $142 billion state budget, which the legislature approved on Wednesday, makes room for this turnaround program.

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Roosevelt High School has a 72% graduation rate (up 6% from last year), and its Regents math scores are up 22% while their suspension rate has been cut by 60%.

So why is Roosevelt still on this list? “It’s a long process,” says Principal Ed DeChent. “Once you get on the list it takes time to get off and show progress. You have to show two to three years worth of growth before you can get off the list. It’s complicated.”

When asked about the school’s plans to take development even further, DeChent, who has only been principal for one year, said he was “prepared to do whatever it takes to improve the standing and status of our building. We are currently working with outside sources to do so.”

Getting into specifics, DeChent says Roosevelt will offer development programs to teachers. These programs are created based off administrators’ observations of teachers and any deficiencies they may have. DeChent says he feels confident that progress will continue; the goal for this year is to reach an 80% graduation rate. When it comes to discussing schools, DeChent made a point in saying simply telling a school it is “failing” is not a good way to facilitate improvement.

The principal of Cross Hill Academy, Brian Gray, declined to comment.

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