City Announces New PROSE Schools Driving Innovation Across School System

  • Posted: Tue May 26, 2015 Updated: Mon Apr 23, 2018

PROSE program doubles in size to 126 schools serving around 48,500 students at all grade levels. PROSE schools suspend Department and union rules to drive innovations like longer school days, college-prep lecture and seminar classes, small-group instruction, hybrid courses that combine subjects like English and history

NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chancellor Carmen Fariña today announced that 64 more schools will become Progressive Redesign Opportunity Schools for Excellence (PROSE) schools for the 2015-16 school year, allowing them to suspend Department and union rules to innovate new ways to reach students. The PROSE program is currently in its first year and already includes 62 elementary, middle, and high schools. With this latest cohort, the program is ahead of schedule and nearly two-thirds of the way towards its target of spurring innovation at 200 schools.

The PROSE program, made possible through new contracts with the United Federation of Teachers and Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, created an opportunity to experiment at the school level in ways traditionally blocked by Department or union rules. Schools are using the PROSE program to adopt some of the most innovative education practices emerging from the grassroots, like lengthening their school days, combining subjects to deepen students’ understanding of relationships between science and math, and replacing rigid student-teacher ratios with more flexible ones that allow for advanced lecture-style classes that prepare students for college and small-group breakout sessions to help struggling students.

“Our public schools have educators and parents hungry to innovate new ways to reach their students. The reforms we are seeing through the PROSE program would have been unthinkable in a district school just a year or two ago, especially at this scale. We are unlocking new teaching practices that we can learn from and bring to more and more students across the City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“These PROSE schools are offering innovation with a purpose that best serves their school community,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “I am encouraged by the creative and impactful changes schools across the City are already making with this program and I look forward to seeing how the 64 new PROSE schools will serve their students and families while giving pedagogues an opportunity to innovate and improve academic outcomes.”

“We are doubling the size of the PROSE program today, which shows the excitement that teachers, administrators, and school staff have in being given the freedom to come up with their own ideas on how to best improve their schools,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers. “We are seeing schools develop innovative schedules to better use the most precious resource in a school day – time. We are seeing schools like Petrides take a page from universities by wanting a teacher's workday to include ‘office hours,’ a chance for teachers to meet individually or with small groups of students at the start of school. We are seeing schools find solutions that work for their students. As a teacher, I would have loved this kind of flexibility. With the UFT and the Department of Education working together in this way, we can move education in New York City, and be a model for the rest of the country.”

“We support this program because it allows school leaders to develop innovative strategies that they can implement hand-in-hand with a supportive staff. Their success stories can then be replicated by their colleagues at other schools across the City,” said CSA President Ernest Logan.

All PROSE schools announced today were developed by school faculty; reviewed by a joint DOE, UFT and CSA panel; and approved by their principals and at least 65 percent of teachers. There was overwhelming support at the grassroots to see reforms implemented, with nearly 90 percent of UFT staff voting in favor of their school joining the PROSE program this year. In total, 119 schools submitted PROSE proposals, an increase from 107 schools last year. In addition to the 64 new PROSE schools, all 62 current PROSE schools will remain part of the program, many of them making deeper changes in the coming school year.

New PROSE schools were selected from across all five boroughs based on the quality of their proposals, their readiness to implement innovative work, and a proven track-record of school communities working collaboratively: 14 from the Bronx, 24 from Brooklyn, 13 from Manhattan, 11 from Queens and 2 from Staten Island. 7 of the selected schools are elementary schools, 1 is a K-2 school, 2 are K-8 schools, 1 is a K-12 school, 19 are middle schools, 6 are secondary schools, and 28 are high schools. The new PROSE schools will implement a wide range of innovations designed by school staff, including:

  • Michael J. Petrides School, Staten Island: This K-12 school is implementing larger seminar-style classes in its high school that mimic the college-style lectures students will encounter after graduation.  This innovative approach breaks with formulaic staffing ratios and allows team teachers in the classroom to also work one-on-one with students, something not possible under existing rules.
  • Middle School 390, Bronx: This school is reworking its entire schedule to focus aggressively on reading and writing instruction. While continuing to preserve instructional time for other subjects, the school will provide students with up to 30 minutes of independent reading at the beginning of the day and up to 36 minutes of focused writing at the end of each day.
  • Riverdale Avenue Community School, Brooklyn: To provide additional learning time for students, more collaboration time for teachers, and additional opportunities for family engagement, this elementary school will stagger teacher schedules to enable students to have a longer school day.

“PROSE schools give teachers and administrators the flexibility they need to make their schools successful,” said City Council Education Committee Chairperson Daniel Dromm. “Teachers and administrators work together to tailor a program for each individual school. Involving the education practitioners in each school is ultimately what has led to success in these PROSE schools. I am very pleased to see this program expand.”

“The PROSE program is all about meeting students where they are and doing everything possible to help them succeed,” said Joann Buckheit, principal of The Michael J. Petrides School. “My staff and teachers, as well as educators across Staten Island and the City, are really excited about this program because of the tremendous opportunities for improvement it offers. When school staff come together to work collaboratively to develop innovations that work for students, everybody wins.”

The 64 new schools come in addition to the 62 PROSE schools from last year, which included:

  • School of Integrated Learning, Brooklyn: This school has implemented flexible teacher-student ratios to accommodate small-group learning experiences. With larger classes – up to forty students in a class – one teacher can lead the room while a second teacher simultaneously works with small groups of three to five students to give hands-on attention to students who are struggling.
  • Bronx Park Middle School: Over five days this school year, the staff at Bronx Park Middle School engaged in full-day professional development sessions during which teachers reviewed student work and discussed strategies to support increased student learning in upcoming units. This time enabled teachers to develop targeted teaching strategies for individual students and classrooms. PROSE allowed the school to rearrange the calendar to accommodate these days, while the school worked with community organizations to offer full-day programming for students during the professional development days.

The DOE’s Research and Policy Support Group (RPSG) is collecting information from school faculty and administration through a survey and is conducting focus groups to assess the impact of provided flexibilities on school instruction and operations. A preliminary report will be available in the summer. The PROSE team is also supporting schools to develop systems to monitor the progress of their own initiatives.

Complete List of Schools Selected

The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology
International Community High School
Pablo Neruda Academy
Urban Assembly Academy of Civic Engagement
Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science
Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics
PS 274 The New American Academy at Roberto Clemente State Park
The Leadership and Community Service Academy
Bronx International High School
The Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice
Claremont International High School
The Young Women’s Leadership School of the Bronx
Jonas Bronck Academy
Middle School 390

Urban Assembly Unison School
Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice
Academy of Arts and Letters
The Brooklyn Latin School
The Green School
The Upper Academy
PS 321 William Penn
Brooklyn Frontiers High School
Carroll Gardens School for Innovation
The Math and Science Exploratory School
Nelson Mandela School for Social Justice
PS 249 The Caton School
PS 770 New American Academy
Cultural Academy for the Arts and Sciences
Academy for Young Writers
Spring Creek Community School
Liberty Avenue Middle School
School of the Future 
The Urban Assembly School for Collaborative Healthcare
International High School at Lafayette
Kingsborough Early College Secondary School
Origins High School
PS 446 Riverdale Avenue Community School
Riverdale Avenue Middle School

Bard High School Early College Manhattan
Tompkins Square Middle School
The Urban Assembly Maker Academy
Urban Assembly School of Design and Construction
NYC Lab School for Collaborative Studies
Urban Assembly New York Harbor School
Lower Manhattan Community Middle School
Lower Manhattan Arts Academy
Urban Assembly Media High School
PS 112 Jose Celso Barbosa 
Central Park East 1 Elementary School
Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts
The Urban Assembly Institute for New Technologies

Forest Elementary School
Bard High School Early College Queens
Voyages Preparatory High School
Business Technology Early College High School
Goldie Maple Academy
EPIC High School North
Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School
Institute for Health Professions at Cambria Heights
Benjamin Franklin High School for Finance and Information Technology
The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria
Hunter’s Point Community Middle School

Staten Island
Michael J. Petrides School
Concord High School

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