The 30 Schools in 30 Days project will highlight a different New York State charter school each day, featuring each school's successes, and the challenges that come from being denied access to state facilities funding. Perhaps most important, each school leader has a message for state lawmakers in Albany: please find a solution to the facilities funding problem and allow ALL of the state's charter schools access to building aid this year.
Henry Johnson Charter School is named for an Albany hero – a decorated African-American solider who served in World War I. In his honor, the school works to ensure that its students reach high levels of academic achievement and strong character.
Henry Johnson opened in Albany in 2007 and serves 390 students in grades K-4. It’s modeled after a highly successful college prep charter school in Wisconsin. Demand is high - there’s a waiting list between two and three hundred children.
Prior to charter schools opening in Albany, many parents did not have a choice in where they sent their children to school. Places like Henry Johnson give them options.
Executive Director Neal Currie, “Henry Johnson is known for its great intervention and enrichments programs. There is also good one-on-one instruction, with two teachers in each classroom. This really helps our scholars succeed.”
The school’s emphasis on academic rigor is paying off. In the most recent state exams, Henry Johnson’s students scored 54 percent proficient in math, compared to the district’s 12 percent. And in ELA, Henry Johnson scores 14 percentage points higher than the district. (State test scores here.)
Henry Johnson accomplishes this without a lot of the basics that most other public schools have. They don’t have science labs or computer labs.
“We want to bring our scholars into the 21st century. These are things they should have. Our students could use more books, and more space for their library.”
Currie went on, “Our building restrains us from doing some of the enrichment that we’d like to be able to provide. Not to mention, the denial of state facilities funding prevents new schools for opening. State lawmakers should consider the impact their support would have on growing successful schools.”
Currie’s message to lawmakers is: “The buildings that our children learn in show them how they are valued. All our kids should have great spaces for learning. Funding should be equal for all public school students. I want to make sure that charter and district students are both treated equally.”
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