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Eli Broad invests $2.5 million in two city charter school networks

Two New York City-based charter school networks, Uncommon Schools and Eva Moskowitz’s Success Charter Network, are splitting $2.5 million in grants meant to help them expand in size speedily. The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation doled out the money and made its announcement today.

The full press release is below. The most interesting part that I see is the disclosure that the Uncommon Schools network plans to expand to operate 33 schools by 2014, 20 of them in New York City. The network now has nine charter schools in the city, by my count.

The Success network’s plan, which has been reported before, is to expand its current crop of four schools to 40 in the next 10 years.

Only Uncommon Schools is said to be planning to use the money to invest in facilities.

The full press release:

Broad Foundation Awards $2.5 Million in New Grants to
Expand Premier Public Charter Schools in New York City

Uncommon Schools and Success Charter Network to triple number of schools in next five years

Thursday, April 9, 2009
NEW YORK – Two of New York City’s highest-performing nonprofit, public charter school management organizations – Uncommon Schools and the Success Charter Network – will receive a total of $2.5 million to fund schools that provide a high quality public education for thousands more city students, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation announced today.

Broad Foundation Founder Eli Broad joined New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, Success Charter Network Founder Eva Moskowitz, and Uncommon Schools Managing Director Brett Peiser to make the announcement after the group toured one of the Success Charter Network schools: Harlem Success Academy 2 on 140th St. and Frederick Douglass Blvd.

“In this day and age, we all need to ensure that our dollars are invested as wisely as possible,” said Eli Broad, founder of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. “And the smartest investment a foundation can make is to replicate the very best public schools in a model city of reform like New York. These charter schools are proving that when public schools extend their school days, offer a challenging curriculum, and customize instruction, their students thrive, and parents demand more.”

The $2.5 million in grants will be distributed as follows:

Uncommon Schools will receive $1.5 million over three years to support the opening of new schools in Brooklyn, New York, to provide a capital investment for school facilities, and to support home office operations. By 2014, Uncommon Schools will grow to operate 33 schools, 20 of which will be located in New York City.
Success Charter Network will receive $1 million over two years to support its existing four Harlem Success schools and to help open new schools in the New York City area. The network plans to open 40 new schools over the next 10 years.
“Charter schools like Uncommon Schools and Harlem Success Academies not only prepare their students for successful futures, they also prove that every child can learn and that public education can be excellent,” said Chancellor Klein. “With such terrific results, it’s no wonder that 30,000 students are on waiting lists for charter schools across the City. I want to thank Eli Broad for this generous contribution, which will allow many more families to send their children to these great schools.”

Schools across the Uncommon network consistently outperform their neighboring district schools and rank among the top schools in their cities and states. For example:

On the 2008 New York State math and English language arts exams, Uncommon Schools’ students – 99 percent of whom are Black or Latino – collectively closed the “achievement gap” in grades three through seven, out-performing the state’s white students.
In addition, 96 percent of Uncommon’s New York City students across four schools scored advanced or proficient on math exams, besting the overall state average by 15 percentage points and the white student average by eight percentage points.
On English language arts exams, 80 percent of Uncommon students scored advanced or proficient, exceeding both the state average the state’s white student average.
Based on 2008 New York City Department of Education Progress Reports, Uncommon’s Excellence Boys Charter School of Bedford Stuyvesant is the highest-ranked public elementary school in the city.
Across Harlem, where Success Charter Network schools are currently located, only 42 percent of third graders can read, a figure that drops to 31 percent by eighth grade. In contrast, Harlem Success Academy students on average performed at least one year above their grade level in reading in the 2007-2008 school year. That same year, Harlem Success kindergartners on average performed at a second grade level in mathematics.

As a result of the success of the Uncommon and Success Charter Network schools, parental demand for seats has grown steeply in recent years. Last year, some 5,000 students sought admission for just 600 spots in Harlem Success Schools. Today, over 4,000 students sit on wait lists to attend schools across the Uncommon network.

“Uncommon is thrilled to receive this support from The Broad Foundation which will enable us to meet the urgent and growing demand for high-quality public schools in the neighborhoods of Brooklyn,” said Evan Rudall, Uncommon Schools CEO. “This funding will ensure that we can best support our leaders and teachers as they prepare thousands of low-income students to succeed in school and go on to graduate from college.”

Both Uncommon Schools and Success Charter Network schools share operational and instructional elements proven to be successful in preparing low-income students for academic and college success: a highly structured learning environment, a longer school day and a longer school year, standards-based instructional models, and proven curricula that are data-driven and informed by ongoing assessments.

“Our students and their families are extremely grateful for this chance to serve even more of our neighbors, without sacrificing the educational quality that students in Harlem need and deserve,” said Moskowitz. “Every year, thousands more parents in our community want something better for their children. This new support will help us meet that demand.”

Success Charter Network, founded in 2006, is a 501(c)(3) charter management organization that seeks to prepare its students to graduate from college and succeed in life and to tangibly improve educational outcomes for all public school children. Success Charter Network aims to open schools where excellent teachers want to teach and where parents choose to enroll their children and play a greater role in their children’s learning and in the larger effort to reform public education. The network’s elementary schools provide students in high-need neighborhoods with a broad, rigorous curriculum in order to prevent achievement gaps from arising between low-income children and their more affluent counterparts. In addition to challenging academics such as writing, social studies, geography, arts and inquiry science five days a week, the schools offer crucial developmental activities like chess and play that focus on developing the “whole child.” For more information, please visit

Uncommon Schools is a nonprofit organization that starts and manages outstanding urban charter public schools that close the achievement gap and prepare low-income students to graduate from college. Uncommon builds “uncommonly great schools” by developing and managing regional networks that are philosophically aligned and highly accountable. Based in New York City, the organization has created a home office providing management services that allow school leaders to focus on instructional leadership. Uncommon manages eleven schools in New York City, upstate New York, and Newark, New Jersey and has two associate member schools in Boston, Massachusetts. The organization ultimately will encompass more than 30 schools, serving more than 11,000 K-12 students. For more information, please visit

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is a national venture philanthropy established by entrepreneur Eli Broad. Born in New York City, Eli Broad has provided nearly $30 million to date to support reform efforts in New York City public schools. Based in Los Angeles, The Broad Foundation’s mission is to dramatically improve K-12 urban public education through better governance, management, labor relations and competition. The Broad Foundation’s Internet address is

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