What Next for the ‘Pride and Joy’ of Bed-Stuy?

Class of 2016 graduate Langston Rowlings with his family. (Photo by Patrick Wall via Chalkbeat

Class of 2016 graduate Langston Rowlings with his family. (Photo by Patrick Wall via Chalkbeat)

Boys and Girls High School was once known as “the pride and joy of Bed-Stuy.” Now, despite the city’s earlier commitment to helping to turn the school around, the school’s future is in question. Patrick Wall of Chalkbeat reports on the 2016 graduation at Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn, and talks with a number of the students and teachers at the school.

The principal, Michael Wiltshire, on the job for less than two years, has resigned. Enrollment has been shrinking and the threat of closure hangs over the school “if it fails to keep making academic gains,” writes Wall.

“Even though it’s going through some problems right now,” said Jon Wilson, 19, as he left the school Friday in a shiny red graduate’s cap and gown, “it’s still a good school.”

Despite such loyalty, Boys and Girls has floundered in recent years. Its enrollment plummeted from 2,300 students in 2010 to 330 today, only 50 percent of students graduated on time last year, and the state has labeled it “out of time” to make drastic improvements.

Some graduates were critical of the departing principal.

Lauren Segars, the class of 2016 salutatorian, said he never developed deep ties with students there. She also noted that he limited students’ access to guidance counselors who had been brought in to provide social-emotional support.

“Some students come from broken homes,” said Segars, who will attend Loyola University on a full scholarship. Without adequate counseling, “those kids would just walk through the school without any direction.”

Other students were more positive.

“He did everything he could to fix the school,” said Langston Rowlings, 18. “He challenged us to do better.”

For more views on Wiltshire, the school, and its meaning for the community, go to Chalkbeat.

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