The city wants to reinvent a struggling Arabic-language middle school as a high school and relocate it from Fort Greene to downtown Brooklyn.
The Khalil Gibran International Academy received grades of 'F' for Student Performance and Student Progress. The charter school has 35 sixth-graders this year, down from 60 when it opened in 2007.
Since it was created in 2007, the Gibran school has had two locations and four principals. Founding principal Debbie Almonstaser resigned months after it opened, saying she was pressured by the city.
She had drawn controversy for allegedly failing to condemn the Palestinian intifada. Almontaser insisted her words and actions were taken out of context.
Last year, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission wrote in a ruling that the city's Department of Education "succumbed to the very bias that creation of the school was intended to dispel."
As soon as the creation of the school was originally announced, critics warned that it would be a "madrasa" with the potential for attracting Islamic fundamentalists.
Supporters said it would be like others among the city's 80-plus dual-language schools. Most are in Spanish, but there are also schools that focus on Chinese, French, Russian and Haitian Creole.
They said it would focus on Arabic culture, not religion -- noting that the namesake, Khalil Gibran, was a Lebanese Christian who is widely read by people of many different faiths and backgrounds.
Under the Department of Education proposal, middle school grades would be phased out, starting next fall, and in the following school years, 9th and later grades would be gradually introduced. It would no longer be a dual-language school, with roughly half its schedule in English and Arabic. Instead, Arabic would be offered as a foreign language class.
It's not clear from the city's written proposal why Department of Education believe the Gibran Academy would be more successful as a high school than a Middle School. Officials did not return calls seeking comment.
Community members can respond to the city proposal at a meeting this Thursday. The Panel for Educational Policy will vote on the school's fate later this month.