Many leave Homeland in midyear transfers

The Baltimore Sun

Seventy-one percent of the underclassmen at Homeland Security Academy left for new high schools after Baltimore schools chief Andres Alonso gave them the chance to transfer at midyear, according to figures released yesterday.

Officials said 278 students have left the failing west-side school and 228 remain: 117 seniors who did not have the option to leave and 111 underclassmen, mostly freshmen. Only 12 juniors are still there.

Late last month, Alonso announced the unusual step of the midyear transfers from Homeland Security, part of the Walbrook complex that was created under the breakup of Walbrook High. He said the school, which has had five principals in its four years of existence, is not working for students. He is asking the Board of Education to close it this summer.

Students had the option of transferring to other city high schools that have extra space and are deemed stable.

Fourteen of Homeland Security's 48 staff members have been recommended for transfers. Most are teachers who will be placed in positions helping seniors who have not passed the state's graduation exams or completed project equivalents.

With the remaining staff and students, officials say that Homeland Security will have an average class size of 20.

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