There are a lot of schools in New York City. Some doing well. Others… not so well. What happens to these schools? When can a faltering school be salvaged and when should it be shuttered? How does the Department of Education make decisions about what schools get closed?

To find out, a group of students from College Now at Hostos Community College in the Bronx worked with CUP staff and teaching artist Vivianne Njoku. They interviewed parents, advocates, and representatives from the Department of Education to get a variety of perspectives. They created Up Closed and Personal, a short film that examines this thorny issue and looks at the decision-making process for closing schools.

Students debuted their work at The New School, sharing their experiences investigating school closings through film and interviews. They were also joined in conversation by Pamela Wheaton from Insideschools.

Check out the video below!

Resources & Links

College Now is a free City University of New York program, designed to prepare NYC’s public high school students for success in college.

Materials for the Arts is New York’s premiere reuse center, providing a way for companies and individuals to donate unneeded supplies to thousands of nonprofit organizations with arts programming and public schools.

Urban Youth Collaborative (UYC) brings together New York City students to fight for real education reform that puts students first.

Funding Support

This project was made possible by the CUNY College Now program. Additional support was provided by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Special Thanks

Amy Bzdak, Amanda Cahn (Deputy Chief Portfolio Officer), Jill Cannonn, Raymond Domanico & Sarita Subramanian (Independent Budget Office), Lisa Donlan, Maria Fernandez (Urban Youth Collaborative), Noah Gotbaum (parent and member of Community Education Council, District 3), Leonie Haimson , Elisa Kaplan,  Anne La, Sally Lee, Lizzie MacWillie, Erin McGill, Sarah Murslim (student, Hillside Arts and Letters Academy), Kim Nauer, Keri Ouellette, Mireille Pilloud, Stefanie Siegel (former public high school teacher), The Department of Education, Patrick Sullivan (Panel for Educational Policy), Christine Yao (Materials for the Arts)


  • CUP
  • Teaching Artist
  • Vivianne Njoku
  • Teaching Artist Assistant
  • Amauris Hernandez
  • Project Lead
  • Valeria Mogilevich
  • Project Support
  • Pema Domingo-Barker
  • Sam Holleran
  • CUNY College Now at Hostos Community College
  • Students
  • Kayleen Aquino
  • Genevieve Baez
  • Danny Bastalla
  • Michael Ebron
  • Jadhaya Francis
  • Judian Hernandez
  • Jean Carlos Hinojosa
  • Michelle Islas
  • Eleana Martinez
  • Margaret Martinez
  • Brittany Moton
  • Ivanna Polanco
  • Mawa Sangare
  • Matheo Thompson
  • Project Support
  • Elizabeth Wilson
  • Samantha Sinclair
  • Christine Coronado
  • Marino Corniel
  • Lawrence Anderson
  • Nestor San Inocencio