Facing enrollment drop, one Bronx middle school tries its hand at marketing

Facing enrollment drop, one Bronx middle school tries its hand at marketing

Will Frackelton held a microphone in front of dozens of his seventh and eighth graders, wriggling in their seats in the auditorium that they share with two other Bronx schools.

Students and staff from Soundview Academy for Culture and Scholarship, where Frackelton is the principal, had gathered for a town hall last month that covered school safety, high school applications, and other topics. Before dismissing them, Frackelton made an unusual request: Would they help market the school over the next two weeks?

“I know you know kids that are in middle schools that are not happy, that don’t treat them like kids,” the middle school’s leader told the students. “I got 25 spots in the sixth grade, 25 spots in the seventh grade, 25 spots in the eighth grade, and if I don’t fill them with kids in 18 days, they’re gonna ask me this summer to let a bunch of teachers go.”

Frackelton’s request reflects a precarious budget situation facing many schools in a system where school funding is largely tied to enrollment, and enrollment has been plunging.

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