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SUNY approves six more charter schools

The State University of New York’s Charter School Institute approved six charter schools today, leaving the authorizer with twelve left before it hits the state ceiling on schools allowed to open.

Five of the schools will open in New York City in 2011 and the sixth in Rochester. Almost all of the schools are connected to non-profit charter school management chains such as Achievement First or the Public Preparatory Network, which oversees the Girls Prep charter schools. Only two — EHTP Pact charter school and Invictus Preparatory charter school — are independent.

None of the schools is slated to open in District 5, central Harlem, where limited building space and opposition to charter schools from some parents and elected officials has made placing schools there difficult. Instead, three schools will open in Brooklyn, one in the Bronx, and one in East Harlem.

Achievement First Aspire Charter School (“AF Aspire”), to be located CSD 19 (Brooklyn) in New York City, will open in August of 2011. The school will serve 166 students in Kindergarten and 1st grade, growing to serve 501 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade during the initial charter term. Ultimately, if renewed, the founders envision a Kindergarten through 12th grade school serving 966 students.

The mission of the proposed charter school is to provide students with the academic and character skills they need to excel in top colleges, to succeed in a competitive world, and to serve as the next generation of leaders in their communities.

The school board would contract with Achievement First, Inc. (“Achievement First”), a not-for-profit charter management organization.

Boys Preparatory Charter School of New York (“Boys Prep”), to be located in either CSD 7 or 8 (Bronx) in New York City, will open in August 2011 with 132 male students in Kindergarten and 1st grade, growing to include 396 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade during its charter term. The school plans, if renewed, to ultimately serve students in Kindergarten through 8th grade.

This application is a proposed replication of the academic program of the Girls Preparatory Charter School of New York and the Girls Preparatory Charter School of the Bronx, single-sex schools authorized by the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York that are located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and in the Bronx, respectively. While Girls Prep Bronx is in its first year of operation, Girls Prep was just awarded a full-term, five year charter renewal by the SUNY Trustees. Boys Prep would employ the curriculum currently in place at Girls Prep, but would provide instruction through methods and strategies that address the unique ways that boys learn, including more hands-on activities and incorporating more kinesthetic elements.

Boys Prep would contract with Public Preparatory Network, Inc. (“Public Prep”), a recently formed not-for-profit charter management organization that was launched by former staff and board members of the Girls Preparatory schools.

EHTP Pact Charter School (“EHTP Pact”), to be located in Community School District4 (East Harlem) of New York City, will open in August 2011 with 100 students in Kindergarten and 1st grade, growing to serve 300 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade during the initial charter term.

The mission of the proposed charter school would be to ultimately provide East Harlem families with a comprehensive Kindergarten through 8th grade learning community that combines a rigorous academic curriculum with innovative extended day and extended year enrichment.

The proposed school would partner with the East Harlem Tutorial Program, Inc. (“EHTP”), a New York not-for-profit corporation with deep educational roots in the East Harlem area. EHTP would provide financial and in-kind support and has plans to house the school after the first year of operation.

Explore Excel Charter School (“Excel”) to be located in Community School District 17 or 18 (Brooklyn) of New York City will open in August 2011 with 168 students in Kindergarten through 2nd grade and grow to serve 396 students in Kindergarten through 6th grade during the term of its charter.

The mission of the proposed charter school would be for its students to demonstrate the academic skills and critical-thinking abilities they need to be successful in a college-preparatory high school. Excel’s founders originally proposed a charter school that would be a “turnaround” model where the charter school would replace a closing or phased-out district school. However, the circumstances to implement that model do not currently exist. If the circumstances do arise in future the proposed school intends to seek a revision to implement such a model.

The proposed school would contract with Explore Schools, Inc., a not-for-profit charter management company that operates two other charter schools in New York City, both authorized by the New York City Schools Chancellor. The SUNY Trustees have not previously authorized any Explore Schools, Inc. schools.

Invictus Preparatory Charter School (“Invictus Prep”), to be located in Community School District 19 (Brooklyn) of New York City, would open in August 2011 with 90 students in 5th grade, growing to enroll 360 students in 5th – 8th grade in the school’s initial charter term.

The mission of the proposed charter school would be for its students-ultimately in 5th through 12th grade-to have the academic and ethical foundation necessary to excel in four year colleges and universities.

To ensure that its students meet the school goals, Invictus Prep will adopt a curriculum focused on academic achievement based on the best practices of other successful charter schools, such as the SUNY Authorized Leadership Preparatory Charter School.

True North Genesee Preparatory Charter School (“Genesee Prep”), to be located in the Rochester City School District, will open August 2011. The school will serve 78 5th grade students in its first year, growing to serve 594 students in Kindergarten through 3rd grade and 5th through 8th grade during the initial charter period. The school ultimately plans to serve students in Kindergarten through 8th grade.

The mission of the proposed charter school is to prepare all students to enter and succeed in college through effort, achievement and the content of their character. The school plans to achieve its mission by relentlessly focusing on the mastery of standards in each subject so that each student will achieve proficiency on the New York State assessments.

The school will be modeled after the highly successful True North Rochester Preparatory Charter School, also authorized by SUNY.

Genesee Prep intends to contract with Uncommon Schools, Inc. (USI), a non-profit charter management organization

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