Exclusive look at how officials are trying to fix NYC's failing schools

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT (WABC) -- Eyewitness News is giving you an exclusive behind the scenes look at how school officials are trying to save some of New York's most troubled schools.

The mayor's office is fighting to fix the city's poorly performing schools, but the state is hoping to close them.

"Reading purposefully three times a week for an hour each time!" a board member said.

They call this the war room, where superintendents try to figure out how to fix some of the city's worst schools.

"And there's such great potential and because a kid is a struggling reader doesn't mean they are a struggling thinker. We have to give our kids the opportunity to succeed," said Aimee Horowitz, Executive Superintendent.

At Boys & Girls High School, one of the city's worst, one idea is to double some class-time.

A freshman algebra class used to be 43 minutes long and now its 86 minutes.

"But if we give them enough time in school, even if they don't study at home, they should still be able to succeed," said Michael Wilshire, the principal.

This high school got so bad the governor wants it shut down.

"I have to admit I heard a lot of bad things about Boys & Girls before I came here and I told my mom, 'You can't send me there. I don't want to go there,'" said Sarye Huggins, a senior.

Eyewitness News talked with a group of students there and all have college scholarship offers. They say the governor's wrong, they support the mayor's plan to try to fix this troubled school.

"Look at me, I'm going to school, many scholarships under my belt, with a lot of things behind me to prove I made a career here at Boys & Girls High School," said Marlon Glynn, a senior.

The mayor's plan earmarks $150 million for 94 struggling schools. That plan includes extra counseling, also social services for many students. Every teacher at this school they had to reapply for their jobs and most students will go to class an extra hour every day.

Last fall only 40 seniors were on track to graduate and today there are more than 80.

"This is a great school, there are great things happening and there are a lot of great things coming, so it's going to be even better," said Lisa Martinez, a senior.

One idea hatched in that war room for Boys & Girls High School is to get a new principal. He admits it'll be a long road back, but now there's now hope of saving and perhaps fixing the oldest school in Brooklyn.
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