Report: Fort Hamilton HS principal set to retire

September 19, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Jo Ann Chester, the longtime principal of Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge, is set to retire from her post, less than a month after the start of the school year, according to a report on the website posted Sept. 17.

Chester, who has been principal since 1999, was spotted cleaning out her desk last week, the website reported.

Chester could not be reached for comment.

Under Chester’s stewardship, Fort Hamilton High School, at 8301 Shore Road, has seen student scores rise on standardized tests and graduation rates improve.

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“Striving for excellence is the ongoing mission of the Fort Hamilton High School family.  Daily, our administrative and teaching staff prepares students to meet, and ultimately exceed, the academic challenges of the State Education Department’s performance standards and assessments.  As educators, we teach, while our students learn to become literate and productive citizens of the twenty-first century,” Chester wrote in her principal’s message on the school’s Department of Education website.

Fort Hamilton has a graduation rate of 70.2 percent, according to figures provided by the Dept. of Education. The attendance rate on an average day during the 2011-2012 school year was above 90 percent. The high attendance rate could be party traced to a program Chester starred, Project Success, according to education officials. Under Project Success, teachers reach out with phone calls and home visits to parents whose children are often absent from school.

With an enrollment of 4,200 students, Fort Hamilton is one of the largest high schools in New York City.

Chester is credited with improving the school’s arts curriculum. The school boasts a strong performing arts program that includes a partnership with the Joffrey Ballet Company.

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