-- Rochdale Early Advantage Charter School (Queens)
-- Dr. Richard Izquierdo Health and Science Charter School (Bronx)
-- Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation (Manhattan)
-- Lefferts Gardens Charter School (Brooklyn)
-- Inwood Academy for Leadership Charter School (Manhattan)
-- Staten Island Community Charter School (Staten Island)
Each of the schools plan to open by September 2010, bringing that total to 25 new charters next year on top of the 140 currently operating. The Staten Island charter is only the second one in that borough, and the Renaissance high school is modeled after the highly successful Renaissance Charter School in Jackson Heights, Queens, which serves K-12.
Charter Renewals Also Approved
The Regents also approved several charter school renewals, including Niagara Charter School, just outside Niagara Falls; Genesee Community and Urban Choice charter schools in Rochester; and the Bronx Charter School for the Arts.
The Bronx Charter School for the Arts had previously been given a short-term renewal due to mediocre performance but has since significantly improved its student achievement and earned a full renewal as was pointed our during the meeting by Education Department staff. This is a great story of school success having been given the additional opportunity and admonition by its short-term renewal. Genesee Community got its second five-year renewal, having first opened in 2001. It is a superb school.
Urban Choice, a K-8 school, sought to expand to high school grades but was denied for reasons that were not stated; only that the Department indicates it directed the school to "modify its application accordingly." Otherwise, the school received a full K-8 renewal, had steady academic improvement, met its goals, and had clean fiscal audits. The school fears losing students it has worked with successfully and whose families are loathe to send them to Rochester district high schools. Hopefully, this need for a charter high school will be reconsidered by State Ed, as the grounds for denying the high school were specious, frankly.
30 Charters Remain, But More in the Pipeline
The Regents approvals leave them only 12 remaining under their cap of 100, and about that many remain under review by the state Education Department for Regents action in the next two months. In fact, the City Department of Education has stopped reviewing charter applications until the cap is raised.
The other 18 belong to the State University of New York, which begins a new review cycle next month and has received approximately two dozen letters of intent from applicants planning to submit charter school proposals.
Congratulations to all the charter school founders and operators receiving approvals this week. They went through a hellish process. The accountability and scrutiny are essential and welcomed, but much of the process has gotten to levels of bureaucratic absurdity that cannot be reformed soon enough by the new leadership at the Education Department. Common sense changes to the review process need not comprise quality and rigorous standards, but would benefit the school operators and Department staff alike.
for The Chalkboard
Disclaimer: The Chalkboard is hosted by the New York Charter Schools Association (NYCSA) as a place where members, public education advocates and others can view and respond to informed commentary on timely public education and charter school issues. The views expressed here are not necessarily the official views of the NYCSA, its board, or of any of its individual charter school members. Anyone who claims otherwise is violating the spirit and purpose of this blog. To comment on anything you read here, or to offer tips, advice, comments, or complaints. please contact TheChalkboard.