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PACE UNIVERSITY LEADS
CREATION OF NEW HIGH SCHOOL
School will be distinguished by unusually high level of university involvement
New York, NY, March 16, 2004 – One of the newest of the city’s small, public secondary schools will blossom downtown this fall in Chinatown.
The new Pace High School is a collaboration between Pace University’s School of Education and New York City’s School Region 9. Starting with 100 students and building to 400, the school will be located in a separate wing of MS 131 on Hester Street between Eldridge and Fosyth Streets. MS 131 will continue to serve its current population, sharing a gym, blacktop play area, auditorium and lunchrooms with the new school.
Pace High is one of the new small secondary schools announced last week by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein.
Its students will experience a rigorous academic curriculum, personal relations with teachers, and an unusually high level of involvement with a major national university.
They will have access to the University’s computing system and e-mail. Pace’s downtown Manhattan campus is only ten blocks away, and Pace identification badges will admit Pace High students to the library, student union, gym and cafeteria. Juniors and seniors will be able to attend lectures, activities and special events.
An “early college” program will give tuition-free access to Pace classes to as many as 40 juniors and seniors who finish their state diploma requirements. And Pace is guaranteeing a substantial number of full Pace scholarships to qualified graduates.
“Superb” resources. “When we say Pace is committed to lower Manhattan, we mean it in many ways,” said Pace President David A. Caputo. “We want to show that universities can play a major role in creating the fine schools that help young people and their communities prosper.”
Added Yvette Sy, the New York City public school system’s Project Director for Pace High School, “working on this school with Pace has made us surer than ever that the university and its students will add superb resources and stimulation and boost the opportunities of our students.”
Jan McDonald, dean of the Pace school of Education, noted that “Pace teachers have been sought-after for years by schools in the City and Westchester. Helping design and run a school where we can prove and improve our methods will add to the value of the teachers we send out to schools everywhere.”
High teacher ratio. Pace High students will get attention from a higher ratio of student teachers and interns than students in almost any public school in New York. Working with the school’s regular New York teachers, up to eight graduate teacher interns and as many as three school administration interns will be on site for the entire school year, subsidized by Pace. A cohort of undergraduate student teachers also will stay in the school as a team for three to four years, a teacher-training technique that the Pace education school has successfully developed in other schools.
Discounted educational benefits will encourage the teachers to model life long learning for parents, staff and students. Pace High faculty members who mentor Pace student teachers will get vouchers for tuition-free Pace courses, and all faculty members will get tuition reductions of nearly 50% for Pace graduate degrees in Educational Technology, Early Childhood Education, Literacy, School Leadership and Special Education, and courses in Bilingual, Middle Level and Gifted Education. At the same time, Pace professors will work with Pace High teachers on curriculums and evaluation methods in mathematics, science, humanities, modern languages and technology.
Westchester summer program. The school is one of the city’s few small public schools with its own summer preparatory program — a week for new students on Pace’s suburban campus in Briarcliff, New York that will be focused on organizational and time management skills. Staff members will have their own weeklong series of training sessions and workshops.
While many of the city’s new small schools appeal to students with a special interest, this one will take a cross section. Open to students from anywhere in New York City, it is expected to draw many pupils from the student body of MS 131, where family poverty makes more than 97 percent of the students eligible for free lunches. Only four other schools in the entire city have so many poor students.
Pace High will be “extraordinary but not elite” says Arthur Maloney, Ed.D., who headed the team that created the proposal for the school and is Assistant Chair of the Pace University School of Education.
Resume-building. Among its long list of features, the school will help students build a resume, not just a transcript, placing all its juniors and seniors in community-based and/or corporate internships. Like Pace students as of this year, to graduate, Pace High students will have to demonstrate meaningful contributions to the community outside the school. Placement assistance will capitalize on Pace’s proximity to the city’s financial and government centers, and on the skills of Pace’s Office of Co-op and Career Services. The office operates the metropolitan area’s largest voluntary co-op and internship program.
Pace High School students also will benefit from the involvement of other Pace University units including the School of Computer Science and Information Systems; the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology; the Division of Information Technology; the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences; the Offices of Institutional Research and Philanthropy; and the Center for Downtown New York.
Pace High will grade with more than tests, incorporating “public performance assessments” before faculty panels, assessment exhibitions and the use of portfolios to assess the performance of both students and teachers. It will be one of the few city high schools to require competence in two languages for graduation. For most students, this will mean Mandarin or Spanish and English.
And the school will have extensive programs for involving parents, offering adult education courses for their own advancement such as English as a Second Language and information technology, plus activities for helping their children. A special College Counseling program will provide training for faculty members, students and parents on both getting into college and finding the necessary resources.
Gates, Carnegie and Soros funding. The new school will receive $400,000 in start up funds over four years from New Visions for Public Schools, an organization funded by $30 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie foundation (Carnegie Corporation of New York), and George Soros’s Open Society Institute. It will receive an additional $160,000 in initial funds from the City’s Department of Education and have a normal budget from the City. Pace will donate in-kind services worth more than $1,000,000 over four years, and the scholarships Pace is guaranteeing for qualified students could be worth as much as $400,000 more.
The Pace High School proposal was one of six selected for New Visions funding out of 60 submitted in Region 9, an area covering all of Lower Manhattan as well as parts of the upper east side and a small section of the Bronx.
The transformation of city high schools of which it is a part also has the collaboration of the United Federation of Teachers and the Council of Supervisors and Administrators.
Proven ideas. Pace High draws on proven best practices developed by the Coalition of Essential Schools based at Brown University under Theodore Sizer, and the small schools that Deborah Meier pioneered in the Central Park East community of Manhattan’s Spanish Harlem. The Pace Education School’s programs preparing New York City Teaching Fellows and teachers in the Teach For America program are among the city’s five largest, and the university has a 20-year-plus relationship with MS 131, regularly providing education students as teachers and after-school tutoring.
The new high school also is incorporating ideas from twenty-five 8th grade students who were asked for ideas about the “high school of your dreams.” Four of them sat on the planning committee.
Pace is a comprehensive, independent university committed to opportunity, teaching and learning, civic involvement and measurable outcomes. It has eight campuses, including downtown and midtown New York City, Pleasantville, Briarcliff, White Plains (a graduate center and law school), and a Hudson Valley Center at Stewart International Airport near Newburgh, N.Y. More than 14,000 students are enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lubin School of Business, School of Computer Science and Information Systems, School of Education, Lienhard School of Nursing and Pace Law School. www.pace.edu.