new charter schools in Cobble Hill, williamsburg and Bed Stuy?

I am getting a lot of questions about Success Charter Schools' plans to open new schools in District 15, 14 and 13. Charter schools like any school should be judged individually on their own merits. Each school is a workplace and like your job they can be collegial and supportive or toxic. Once you have a great boss who supports and trusts her talented and hard working staff, you need the students and parents to "bring it!". Then, what is the educational model that the school will attempt to adopt? What kind of schools will these new schools be? We just don't know.

Charter schools pick their students strictly by lottery. Priority is given to students who live in the district where the charter schools are housed, but in the first couple years at least, it is likely that the school will go through its waitlist to fill seats and may very well take kids from far flung districts.

So, are new charters in Cobble Hill, Williamsburg and Bed Stuy a good thing? I have heard parents saying, "that will help our overcrowding problems right?" I ask you - if you have paid top dollar to live within the zone of the local spectacular elementary, are you going to chose an untried charter school instead? The answer I get universally is, "oh right, if I won't pick it over my zoned program, neither will anyone else". Even with smaller class sizes and giant promises, very few families will pick a new school over the sure thing. No help for the local overcrowded zoned programs and a serious liability for the under capacity program in which the charter has been colocated.

There have rumors that the school in Cobble Hill might be colocated in the Cobble Hill buidling that houses HS for International Studies and Brooklyn School for Global Studies or in the Boerum Hill building that houses Brooklyn HS for the Arts and Math and Science Exploratory School. First off, parents of five year olds are not crazy about sending their kids into buildings housing high school students, no matter how lovely (and the majority of these students ARE lovely). Secondly, I know first hand that the Boerum Hill location absolutely does not have enough room for a third program. When my daughters attended Math and Science there was a planned colocation that was determined to be inappropriate. That was at at time when the school was literally half the size it is currently. When a colocation is made the schools cannot share common spaces - cafeterias, libraries, auditoriums, gyms. This means that the three schools must do lunch schedules that often span early morning to mid afternoon and no one gets enough gym time. Also the Boerum Hill location's only outdoor space is a small concrete interior courtyard.

There is no downside to registering for a charter placement. It doesn't affect g&t or waitlist applications and you get to decide if you want to take the seat once it is offered. Will these schools be the strong programs promised? They are start ups. How much of a gambler are you?