By Maru Smith
Students are buzzing with nervous chatter in the dimly-lit
auditorium at Choir Academy of Harlem’s rehearsal for its holiday
concert on Friday. “They’re excited and they get more anxious as we
get closer to the actual performance,” says Elizabeth Greene,
instrumental director of the middle and high school band.
While the kids may feel tense about the upcoming performance,
parents, faculty and administrators can breathe a sigh of relief:
On Tuesday the Department of Education released its revised list of
schools slated to be closed—and the Academy has been removed and
will survive at least one more year. “I’m happy about this good
report,” says Monique Kennedy, vice president of the Parent
Last year the city announced its intent to phase out Choir
Academy along with nearly two dozen other public schools. Those
plans were put on hold after the NAACP and United Federation of
Teachers filed a successful lawsuit to halt closure of 19 schools,
including Choir. The basis of the lawsuit was the city’s alleged
failure to provide proper notice to schools, parents and the
surrounding community before slating schools for closure.
This year the city again announced that it would close Choir
Academy—but that was before the Department of Education released
its annual performance assessments of public schools last month. It
reported the school had raised its previous D to a B.