Brooklyn Prospect Charter School, the local International Baccalaureate 6-12th grade charter program, beloved of Park Slope families, is opening a growing K-5th grade in downtown Brooklyn for fall of 2013.
Where: in the St. Joseph HS building at 80 Willoughby St. steps from Metro Tech and the Borough Hall, A, C, F, N, R trains. They will be inhabiting the top three floors of the building.
What: They will be designing a curriculum around the IB pillars, but they don't have a plan in place to apply for IB for the primary grades. They are have been effectively implementing the program for middle schoolers and continuing with 10th grade next year as they grow vertically to a 6-12 in Windsor Terrace (District 15). The goal for BPCS is language fluency. Their elementary will begin teaching Spanish in K- 15-10 minutes each day. In 6th grade they will have the opportunity to try Mandarin and can switch in 7th.
How Many: They have room in fall of 2013 for 75 kindergarteners. In future years, the plan is to have 50 students on a grade beginning at K.
Who: They have hired Jumaane Saunders, a former Vice Principal of The School at Columbia to be their Principal.
When and How: They are holding an Information Session on Thurs. May 30 at 6:30 at their Windsor Terrace Campus (3002 Fort Hamilton Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11218) Link here for an RSVP.
You can register for the lottery now. Apply online here by June 3. The lottery will take place on June 6 and you will hear about placement in the following week. If you miss the lottery, they will continue to take names for the wait list through the summer. Priority will be given to siblings of current students and families who live in District 13 where the lower charter school is housed. If you don't live in District 13 and you are interested, you should still put your name in the hat. It is not unusual for new charter program to run through their full wait list, including out of district families.
It makes perfect sense to me that Brooklyn Prospect is starting a lower school program after so successfully beginning their middle and upper schools. I think that it is similar to what happened at Arts and Letters in Fort Greene (an unzoned DoE school). They have a distinct model, but accepting students at 6th grade from a wide range of elementary experiences makes it harder to hit the ground running in the upper grades. If you can get the kids when they are 5 years and support the foundation of their learning, they will be ready (and all on the same page) when they get to the academic and social challenges that come at 6th grade and beyond. I also applaud Brooklyn Prospect's long standing model of finding space in buildings outside of the public school system.
I don't make a practice of identifying all the new charters that are opening in this blog. I list them regularly in the my monthly newsletter and alert my private clients in our consults, but this very unusual last minute option is worth mentioning separately.