Two Upper West Side Middle Schools May Merge; Parents and Teachers Push Back

ms 250 uws

M.S. 250 is located at 735 West End Avenue at 96th Street (Google Maps)

For over 20 years, M.S. 250 has served children in grades 6 through 8 with “unique programming, an innovative staff, and middle school experiences that challenge all students to develop their innate curiosity.” But low enrollment numbers may soon mean the school (located at 735 West End Ave) will have to undergo drastic changes – and parents, teachers, and students alike are concerned.


In a recent feature in New York 1, middle school teacher Paul Kehoe explained that M.S. 250 is “a small school by design.” However, over the course of the past 5 years, the school – also known as West Side Collaborative – has seen a 58% decline in enrollment. While there are now just 75 students attending the school, parents appreciate the specialized attention their children receive – an important part of M.S. 250’s mission.

But the Department of Education doesn’t see things so optimistically. To address a dwindling student body, the city has proposed merging West Side Collaborative with another nearby school, Lafayette Academy at 154 West 93rd Street. With Lafayette currently serving over 150 students, the merger would mean increased funding, because schools receive support per student. And with West Side Collaborative already qualifying as a Title I school (meaning students from low-income families make up at least 40% of total enrollment), an additional financial boost may come from the merger.

So what’s the catch? Two schools means two principals and two faculties – and that’s too much for one building. While the superintendent for District 3 has promised to minimize staffing changes, teachers like Kehoe fear there will be an inevitable reshuffle if the schools do in fact combine. Beyond the loss of staff, parent Morana Mesic pointed to an overall loss of identity, saying, “… we would lose our principal, our teachers, our staff, our building, our name, our mascot and our programs. So how is this different than a closure?”


The advocates for keeping M.S. 250 and Lafayette Academy separate also come with their own proposed solutions. Specifically, at this time, M.S. 250 community members are asking the DOE to consider welcoming more asylum seekers to attend. Not only would this increase the West Side Collaborative’s enrollment levels, but their staff already have tools for helping these students thrive.

At this time, there is a vote slated regarding the merger on April 19.


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  1. good humor April 14, 2023

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