My head is spinning with all the possible new school locations

My head is spinning with all the possible new school locations

There are lots of reports about locations for new public or charter school programs. While the news may be exciting, for many families they won't be open in time for your child to access them. Many of them are for 300 seat schools. Just so you know, that is a tiny school. Just because it is a new school site, doesn't mean that it will be a new school, or that it will mean rezoning in the neighborhood. There are several schools looking for new locations to expand; International Charter School of NY (D13, looking for room to grow to 5th grade), Success Charter Cobble Hill (D15, looking for room for their middle school), Arts and Letters (their community and their co-located school, PS 20 have preferred that the schools each have their own space), We just can't predict what the space will be used for ahead of time. Remember PS 133 used to be a zoned school in D13 - it is now an unzoned D13 school that serves both D13 and D15. Lots of things can happen.

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Brooklyn Prospect Charter expands to Middle School in District 13

Brooklyn Prospect Charter expands to Middle School in District 13

We have been waiting for this for a little while now, but it is official. Brooklyn Prospect Charter School, the IB program that has been a staple in District 15 for years and has recently opened a K-5 program downtown in District 13, has announced that they are going forward with their 6th grade in fall of 2016. This new middle school will be called Brooklyn Prospect Charter School- Clinton Hill Middle. It is modeled after their Windsor Terrace Middle School and will be led by 3 Brooklyn Prospect veterans. As kids from the downtown elementary age up, they will have preference to a seat in the new middle school but since BPCS Downtown Elementary only goes up to 3rd grade in fall of 2016, for a couple years, BPCS Clinton Hill Middle will have seats open with priority to all District 13 families. Attending BPCS Clinton Hill Middle and BPCS Windsor Terrace Middle students will have priority to their IB High School program which has their inaugural 12th grade class this year.

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BUGS: Brooklyn Urban Garden Charter School

Big news for 5th graders! BUGS is opening in District 15 in fall of 2013.

Why are they opening this school?
"BUGS initially grew out of street corner and on-going kitchen table conversations between local parents and educators concerned about the number of middle school options in District 15. Once we began taking seriously the possibility of creating a new school, we assembled our academic team and realized the potential we have to not just add needed middle school seats, but to create a cutting edge, developmentally appropriate educational model for the middle years. The selection of an environmental sustainability focused curriculum allows us to offer educational programming that will not only engage the hearts and minds of students, but is a perfect vehicle for teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). We feel strongly that our model will offer this community not just much needed additional middle school seats, but a rich, engaging, rigoruous and meaningful educational experience for our students that can launch them not just to excel in high school, but to seize opportunities for all of their lives.

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brooklyn prospect charter finds a permanent home in the Immaculate Heart of Mary building

Immaculate Heart of Mary School is merging with Holy Name School (and joining them in the building on Propect Park West in Windsor Terrace) and becoming St. Joseph the Worker. There has been a lot of speculation about what will happen to the IHM building futher south on Ft. Hamilton. The wait is over! Brooklyn Prospect Charter finally has a permanent home for their 6 to 12th grade school just in time for their first 9th grade class in the fall of 2012.

The approximately 60,000 square foot campus at 3002 Fort Hamilton Parkway will accommodate steadily rising demand, give students more space and enhanced facilities, including state-of-the art-classrooms, a full-size gymnasium, outdoor space, wireless internet, and a library.  BPCS has signed a twenty-year lease, with an additional ten-year option for the space.

high school choice 2012: round 2 and Brooklyn Prospect Charter

The DOE is distributing placement letters to middle schools today. Your child should receive it in school today or tomorrow. If your child gets a choice between a Specialized HS or LaGuardia and another option, you will be given instructions on how and by when to make that choice. In past years you would check the choice on your letter, sign it and return it to your guidance counselor, usually within a week. Make a copy of your letter with the choice on it before you return it to school and keep this copy in a safe place - just in case.

The Round 2 Fair is this weekend, Sat. March 3 and Sun. March 4 10am -2pm at Martin Luther King Jr. Educational Campus: 122 Amsterdam Ave. (btwn W. 65th adn W. 66th St.)

Details about Round 2 are on the DOE's website. But the highlights are:

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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.
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brooklyn prospect charter's new home

It is finally revealed! Brooklyn Prospect Charter announced this week that they will be moving to new construction at 270 Douglass St. between Nevins and 3rd Ave. It looks like it will be across from the park in part of the space that the white roofed buildings occupy.

The design process has already begun for this fully dedicated, purpose built, permanent school facility and because they are building from the ground up the building will not be ready for the 2011 school year. They plan to move in for fall 2012 (that will be their first year with a 9th grade). They are working with the DOE to find interim space for the 6th, 7th and 8th graders next year. No word on where their one year temporary digs will be.

Click here for admission information

If you are interested in an information session on March 1, you can follow the link on their website or sign up here. They don't hold tours until after their April 5, 2011 lottery. Tours are available at that time to the parents of admitted students.

more on lefferts gardens

The blog Hawthorne St. did some more great reporting on the ongoing plans for the Lefferts Gardens Charter School. They covered the meeting concerning housing the Charter in PS 92 and the subsequent loss of three of their Board members.

This is important reading if you are considering this school or you are interested in the process of starting a new Charter program. It is not always a straight path.

charter schools?

People feel strongly about charter programs. My role is to let parents understand all of their options. Charter schools are publicly funded programs. They are often housed in public school buildings. Sometimes the relationship is good, sometimes it is strained. It is good for parents to know if the school is going to have to move. This is very disruptive to any program.

Charter schools are not zoned. They choose their students by lottery. They are required to give priority in the lottery to families who live within the district where the school is located. When the school is new or under capacity they may often have extra seats and take children from outside of the district. There is no downside to registering for lots of charter programs. You don't need to rank them, or decide which one you like better until you are offered a seat. They often call families from their waitlist. Why not register for every one you like? Charter schools do not have Prek programs. They often begin in Kindergarten and may be K - 5, K - 8, K - 12, 6 - 8, 6 - 12, or 9 -12 programs.

Charter schools are not under the DOE's jurisdiction so they may use a different curriculum, different hours and hire teachers in different ways. They still have to take the same NY state tests and they answer to their own individual Board of Trustees to maintain their charter.

The Brooklyn New School and the Brooklyn Children's School accept their students by lottery but they are NOT charter schools. These schools do have prek programs. To search for Charters in a National Directory or SUNY authorized Charters.

Important Meeting for Lefferts Gardens Charter

The  Lefferts Gardens Charter School has asked me to announce that the date has been set for their public hearing for a location. It will be held on Wednesday, February 10, 2010 at 6 pm at PS 92, which is located at 601 Parkside Avenue between Bedford and Rogers Avenues. If  you can only attend one function this year to support LGCS, this is it!
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more information on lefferts gardens charter school

I attended the information meeting about the Lefferts Gardens Charter School and it looks very promising. I was going to write a long blog to report on it, but the wonderful Hawthorne St. beat me to it. Check out their very thorough report. The only thing that I would add is that the school anticipates having two teachers per class in k, first grade and second grade and will have a single teacher and a floating teacher and para from third grade on.

New Charter School in Prospect Lefferts Gardens

I just got the exciting news from Hawthorne Street that the proposed District 17 Lefferts Gardens Charter School that will be partnering with the Botanic Garden has the go ahead for fall of 2010. They are waiting on a location but the school hopes to be housed close to the park. Whether you are pro charter or not, this is another option for local families and it answers a need in the community.

"the school will feature an environmental-science program that spans across disciplines. The over-arching idea is that the learning will be "experiential"—meaning that teachers will try to connect what goes on inside the classroom (and out) to children's daily lives. The school plans on working with the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and the Prospect Park Audubon Center as part of its curriculum." - Hawthorne Street

Brooklyn Prospect Charter has its location!

Brooklyn Prospect Charter has announced that they will be located within the Sunset Park High School building in the fall of '09. Sunset Park HS will be in a brand new building on 35th St. and 4th Ave. in Sunset Park. The high school will be accepting 400 students next fall in their first year growing to 1600. So for the first couple of years there will be room in the building. Brooklyn Prospect was planning on accepting about 88 6th graders in their first year.

The Brooklyn Prospect Charter says, "We are grateful to Principal Corinne Vinal, Council Member Sara Gonzalez, the Center for Family Life Co-director, Julie Stein-Brockway, Community Board 7 and the Sunset Park High School Task Force who have worked tremendously hard in the creation of Sunset Park High School. We look forward to working closely with them to ensure a seamless collaboration and strong foundation for both schools."

You still have a couple of days to sign up for the Brooklyn Prospect Charter School's lottery. They are extending the deadline to April 5. If you can't do the registration on line call (718) 289-3174. This is an extension of the deadline. Go to their website to register. This does not effect the regular middle school application. It is an extra option. You have nothing to loose, and another option to gain.

Ethical Community Charter School

Hurray! another new school for Brooklyn! I just spoke to Dr. Susan Stengel the Director of the Ethical Community Charter School. Their location should be announced shortly, but since their lottery is coming up soon (the first week in April) you should put in your application now. Registering for their lottery doesn't keep you from any of your other choice schools, it just gives you one more choice, and who knows it may be right around the corner.

They are ultimately going to be K to 12, but next year they will be accepting 60 Kindergarteners and 60 first graders for 3 classes on a grade. Ethics, service and social justice are the principles that will inform the school life. Their educational model is progressive, inquiry and active learning, with an interdisciplinary subject matter. They are dedicated to creating a vital home and school connection with an "open door" policy for parents. Integrated arts and differentiated instruction are part of the school's vision.
Use this link for more admissions information.
Their website is

More about the Park Slope Schoolhouse from Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Prospect Charter School

Okay 5th graders, check this out. It is another public middle school option for students who live in District 15.
Brooklyn Prospect Charter School will be choosing students from District 15 in a true lottery (no special provisions made for gender balance or diversity, although they are hoping for it-it should happen organically) They will pick students who live in District 15 (it seems that those of you who live outside the district and go to elementary within the district will probably be out of luck because of priorities set by state regulations for Charter schools) They will start with a 6th grade of 88 students (4 classes of 22) and add a grade each year through 12th grade. There will be a waiting list and that list will probably have some movement. The lottery will take place on April 7 and you will hear about placements in mid April. Signing up for the lottery doesn't impact your choice list for the rest of the district middle schools. This is a separate process. You can sign up for the lottery right now online under the student section.

What this means is that there is another option, outside of the regular middle school process. You can essentially get two local placements in the spring and be able to choose between them, as well as any placements outside the district that you are pursuing.

They will follow the International Baccalaureate program and hope to be certified within 5 years. There is a big emphasis placed on a holistic approach to learning and integrating disiplines. A 30 minute a day Advisory with a faculty mentor will be an important component to help students work on their literacy and study skills. They aspire to provide PE daily. Visual Art will be part of the core curriculum with other artistic disiplines introduced through a partnership with BAM. The Board is recruiting experienced teachers with at least three years experience and Masters Degrees. There is an Executive Director (who lives in the neighborhood) who comes to the job with an impressive track record of teaching as well as working in school administration. He will act as a general manager. The Principal of the Middle School has longtime experience teaching and leading programs as well as being trained in the IB program. The Board of the school is made up of educators and business leaders and will have a parent member.

There will be no uniforms. The calendar will follow the regular DOE schedule with additional afterschool tutoring and a Summer Academy. The language taught will be Spanish. The jury is still out on whether they will have captive lunch or not. Because the program will be academically rigorous, homework will be a factor, but because teachers will work closely together, it shouldn' t be overwhelming. The location is not finalized yet. The location will be made public before students chosen in the lottery will have to accept their seats. The Board is hoping for a location close to BAM to make it easy to participate in their arts programs.

New 6-12 Grade Schools for District 15

New 6-12 school for District 15: Brooklyn Prospect Charter School

A new public charter school is opening to 6th grade students in September 2009 to Community School District 15 students. For fifth grade families, they will be hosting several Student/Family information sessions throughout the district over the next several months. Students will be admitted through lottery. The school will follow an International Baccalaureate Program.

Info Sessions for parents and students:

October 6th and October 27th, 2008
6:00 to 8:00PM,
New York Methodist Hospital's East Pavilion Auditorium in Park Slope
Come and meet the team and learn about this new school. RSVP is required;


Additionally the Brooklyn Prospect Team is happy to visit your elementary school. Speak with your parent coordinator or guidance counselor and contact Brooklyn Prospect Charter School for a visit.

But it doesn't stop there!

The "SPEAC School" Sunset Park Education in Action Community School's proposal to open has been favorably reviewed by the DOE but they won't be given full approval until they locate a space. They will be a very intimate 6-12 school that focuses on personal and community wellness, community based projects and interest driven learning.

This school is the little engine that could. Help make this dream a reality and help them find a location or partner. 718-851-3936,