Seventy-one percent of the underclassmen atHomeland Security Academy in Baltimore left for new high schools after schools chief Andrés Alonso gave them the chance to transfer at midyear. Officials say 278 students have left the failing 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 urged students to take midyear transfers from Homeland Security because the school is not working for students. He is asking the school board to close it this summer. To read The Baltimore Sun article, click here. FROM JANUARY 2009: Baltimore City schools chief Andres Alonso is urging underclassmen at a struggling high school to transfer to other schools midyear - a highly unusual step in keeping with his pledge to hold all schools to high standards. The system is legally prohibited from closing the 575-student school, Homeland Security Academy, in the middle of the academic year, but Alonso is encouraging students strongly to find another school. Students will be able to select from 21 other city high schools that have extra space and are deemed stable. Alonso wants the academy shut down when the school year ends. Problems at the school include high staff turnover and low student performance. To read The Baltimore Sun article, click here.