Shared Space, Rising Tensions for 2 Schools

Good morning. It’s Wednesday. Today we’ll look at a clash between two schools that share a single building in Manhattan and how it reflects two of the crises facing urban school districts.

Credit…Lexi Parra for The New York Times

Two middle schools have long shared a building on West 105th Street in Manhattan, and as sometimes happens with occupants of shared space, tensions have developed. Enrollment at one of the schools, Public School 145, has climbed in the last couple of years, while the other, West Prep Academy, has lost students.

I asked Troy Closson, whose reporting focuses on K-12 education in New York City, to explain this tale of two schools because it highlights demographic shifts brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and the migrant crisis.

The first deputy schools chancellor said there are too many schools “that have gotten below critical mass.” One of those is West Prep Academy. How many students, why the decline and what’s the student population like?

West Prep largely serves low-income Black and Latino students. Before the pandemic, it had about 200 students. It’s in District 3, which includes the Upper West Side and parts of Harlem. That area has lost families and students since the pandemic. West Prep’s current enrollment is about 170.

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