Statement by New York State Senator Duane before the New York City Department Of Education Regarding a New School on Brandeis High Schoolfs Campus at 145 West 84 Street, Manhattan

June 11, 2009

My name is Thomas K. Duane and I represent New York State's 29th Senate District, which includes the Brandeis High School campus ("Brandeis campus"). I thank the New York City Department of Education ("DOE") for hosting tonight's open meeting to discuss the creation of a new high school or schools to occupy space that will become available at the Brandeis campus as Brandeis High School is phased out. As we move forward in this process, it is paramount that we include as many community voices as possible, including members of the Community Education Council ("CEC"), Community School District 3 ("D3") parents, advocates and other community members.

This is a unique opportunity to plan for the future, and to establish an exceptional school that draws students from across D3, from Central Harlem to Lincoln Square. One of my priorities in education has always been diversity, a goal which is shared by many D3 parents and should be unequivocally incorporated into any plans for a new high school on the Brandies campus. In addition, it is crucial that we provide innovative and academically rigorous options for D3's growing school-age population. Finally, we have an opportunity to create a district priority high school in a district that currently has none.

One extremely promising idea that D3 parents, the CEC, and other community leaders have developed is the Frank McCourt High School for Journalism, Writing, and Literature. This proposed college preparatory high school would partner with local institutions like Symphony Space and the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism to promote creative and expository writing, reporting, literary criticism, and other communications arts in the context of the digital age. This school would give priority in its admission to D3 students based largely on portfolios and interviews and would encourage collaboration between English Language Learners, bilingual students and English dominant students. This thoughtful proposal, backed by a wide variety of parents and leaders across D3, meets many of the needs my constituents have consistently expressed; I commend its planners and endorse this plan.

Thank you for considering my comments.

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