sed seal                                                                                                 






EMSC Committee



Johanna Duncan-Poitier



Charter Schools: Proposed Charter for The Equity Project Charter School


January 4, 2008


Goals 1 and 2






Issue for Decision


Should the Regents approve and issue the proposed charter of The Equity Project Charter School as submitted by the Chancellor of the city school district of the city of New York?

Reason(s) for Consideration


              Required by State statute, Education Law §2852.


Proposed Handling


This question will come before the Regents EMSC Committee for action and then before the full Board for final action in January 2008.


Procedural History


              The New York Charter Schools Act of 1998 requires the Board of Regents to review, in accordance with the standards set forth in Education Law §2852(2), proposed charters, renewal charters and revisions to charters and renewal charters that have been approved and submitted by other charter entities.  The Board of Regents may either approve and issue a charter, renewal charter and/or revision as proposed by the charter entity, or return the same to the charter entity for reconsideration with written comments and recommendations. 


Background Information


              We have received a proposed charter from the Chancellor of the city school district of the city of New York to establish a new charter school.  This will be presented to you at your January 2008 meeting.  The proposed charter is for the following:



              The Equity Project Charter School (TEP or “The School”) would be located in New York City Community School District 6, in Washington Heights.  The proposed charter school would initially serve 120 students in grade five and would expand to serve 480 students in grades 5-8 at full capacity in the fourth year of the initial charter. TEP aims to put into practice the central conclusion of a large body of research related to student achievement: teacher quality is the most important school-based factor in the academic success of students, particularly those from low-income families.




              VOTED:  That the Board of Regents approve and issue the charter of The Equity Project Charter School as proposed by the Chancellor of the city school district of the city of New York, and issue a provisional charter to it for a term of five years, ending on January 14, 2013.


Reasons for Recommendation


                1) The charter school described in the proposed charter meets the requirements set out in Article 56 of the Education Law, and all other applicable laws, rules, and regulations; (2) the applicants can demonstrate the ability to operate the school in an educationally and fiscally sound manner; and (3) approving and issuing the proposed charter is likely to improve student learning and achievement and materially further the purposes set out in subdivision two of section twenty-eight hundred fifty of Article 56 of the Education Law; and (4) approving and issuing the proposed charter will have a significant educational benefit to the students expected to attend the proposed charter school. 


Timetable for Implementation


The Regents action for The Equity Project Charter School is effective immediately.




New York State Education Department


Summary of Proposed Charter


Name of Proposed Charter School: The Equity Project Charter School (TEP or “the School”)


Address:  TBD


Applicant(s):  Zeke Vanderhoek


Anticipated Opening Date: September 8, 2009


District of Location: New York City Community School District 6, Washington Heights

Charter Entity:  The Chancellor of the city school district of the city of New York


Institutional Partner(s): N/A


Management Partner(s): N/A


Grades Served:                      2008-09: 0 (planning year)

              2009-10: 5

              2010-11: 5-6

              2011-12: 5-7

              2012-13: 5-8


Projected Enrollment:         2008-09: 0

2009-10: 120
2010-11: 240
2011-12: 360
2012-13: 480



Proposed Charter Highlights




Zeke Vanderhoek has a B.A. from Yale University and a Masters in Philosophy & Education from Teachers College at Columbia University.  He began his educational career as a 6th and 8th grade teacher at I.S. 90, a public middle school in Washington Heights (NYC). Mr. Vanderhoek founded Manhattan GMAT, a national GMAT test-preparation company. The company employs over 60 administrative and instructional staff, has classroom centers in five major US cities, and is on pace to serve over 5000 students and to earn revenues of $6,000,000 in 2007. In addition, from July 2005 through July 2007, Mr. Vanderhoek served as President of the Board of Trustees of New Heights Academy Charter School in New York City.




(1) TEP’s educational program is structured around extended and varied interaction between students and master teachers. TEP students are in class from 8:25 AM to 4:00 PM, in 55 minute periods. In addition, TEP has a mandatory extended-day program three days a week from 4:00 to 5:00 PM for extra-curricular activities as well as academic assistance for struggling students.

(2) TEP’s educational program will emphasize language development. TEP’s design includes three elements that have been shown to have strong positive effects on student reading ability, vocabulary development, and grammatical facility. These elements are: (a) the high verbal ability of TEP teachers (as measured by standardized exam scores); (b) the study of Latin; and (c) the study of music. (TEP students are required to take 4 years of Latin and 4 years of music.)

(3) TEP will leverage its culture of teacher observation and collaboration to shape an interdisciplinary curriculum. TEP teacher schedules have been designed to enable teachers to plan and implement interdisciplinary units. Every TEP teacher spends at least three periods each day observing, co-teaching, and debriefing/planning with a partner teacher.















Projected Fiscal Impact of the

The Equity Project Charter School

(New York City CSD 6 –Washington Heights)

2008-09 through 2012-13

School Year

Number of Students

Projected Payment*

Projected Impact





















* Assumes a 3 percent annual increase in the District’s budget from the base of $20.12 billion in 2007-2008; and a 4.5 percent annual increase in the average expense per pupil per year from the 2007-2008 rate of $11,023.


Community Support



Public Opinion


              All comments that were generated at the public hearing for TEP on September 20, 2007 were enthusiastic and supportive. These comments were sent under separate cover to NYSED by the NYCDOE in mid-October 2007, and SED has confirmed receipt of these comments.