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Meeting of the Board of Regents | January 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010 - 11:50pm

TO:

EMSC Committee

 

FROM:

John B. King, Jr.

SUBJECT:

Charter Schools: Proposed Charter for Harlem Success Academy Charter School 7

DATE:

January 5, 2010

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goals 1 and 2

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

SUMMARY

Issue for Decision

Should the Regents approve and issue the proposed charter for Harlem Success Academy Charter School 7 (New York City)?

Background Information

We have received a proposed charter from the Trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY) for the establishment of Harlem Success Academy Charter School 7 (“the School”).   The School will open in August 2010.  Initially, the School will serve 180 students in grades developmental kindergarten through grade one and grow to serve 557 students in grades developmental kindergarten through grade five in its fifth year of operation.  The School's mission is “to provide New York City elementary students, particulary those from economically-disadvantaged neighborhoods, with the knowledge, skills, character, and disposition to meet and exceed New York State standards and give them the resources to lead and succeed in school, college, and life.”  

The School has contracted with Success Charter Network, Inc. as its management partner.  The School will provide instruction from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. in K-5 and from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in developmental kindergarten for 185 days per academic year.  The School will admit students who turn four-years-old by August 1st of the year of enrollment.  Student placement would be based on a test of developmental maturity rather than age.  Students would be assessed during the summer following admittance. 

Although the applicant has categorized the kindergarten program as developmental, Department staff has determined that the developmental kindergarten component of the program is more appropriately classified as a pre-kindergarten for among the following reasons:

 

  • The School will implement in its developmental kindergarten a vendor-created curriculum for literacy that is specifically designed for three-year-olds and four-year-olds in preschool programs.  A different curriculum is implemented in the regular kindergarten program.
  • The material submitted for the developmental kindergarten did not substantiate an instructional alignment with the New York State learning standards for kindergarten, but rather for pre-kindergarten.
  • Developmental kindergarten students will have shorter school days (7:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.) compared to the regular kindergarten students (8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.). 
  • It was not clear how or when students in the developmental kindergarten program would be able to move to the next grade level.  The proposal stated that developmental kindergarten will place heavy emphasis on preparing students for regular kindergarten.
  • One of the stated goals of the developmental kindergarten is to prepare students for regular kindergarten in the following school year.  The primary goal of a kindergarten should be to prepare students for grade one.

 

Note: Section 2854(2)(c) of the Education Law specifies that charter schools shall serve one or more of the grades one through twelve, and shall limit admission to pupils within the grade levels served. Nothing in Article 56 prohibits a charter school from establishing a kindergarten program.  It should also be noted that the Board of Regents has established as a legislative priority permitting the provision of pre-kindergarten education by charter schools. 

In addition to the issue of the developmental kindergarten referenced above, staff also recommends that the application be returned because of the following issues: a public hearing has not been conducted in the correct CSD; the curriculum is not aligned with the 28 State learning standards and the lead applicant has not completed a state and federal criminal records check to the satisfaction of SUNY.

The New York City Department of Education will hold a public hearing in CSD 8 on Thursday, January 7, 2010 regarding this proposed charter application.  We do not anticipate any comments.  Should there be any comments the item will be updated on Friday, January 8, 2010.

Additional information concerning this initial application may also be found on the Board of Regents website at http://www.regents.nysed.gov/.

 

 

Recommendation

VOTED: That the Board of Regents returns the proposed charter of the Harlem Success Academy Charter School 7 to the Trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY), for reconsideration, and  with the following comments and recommendations: (1) That either a public hearing be held in CSD 3 or that the application be revised to indicate that the School will be located in CSD 8; (2) that evidence be provided that the lead applicant has completed a state and federal criminal records check to the satisfaction of SUNY; (3) that the proposed charter school’s curriculum be aligned with the New York State 28 Learning Standards; (4) that the proposed charter school operates a kindergarten program, including revising the developmental kindergarten curriculum to align to New York State kindergarten standards;  (5) that the proposed charter school ensure that admission is only of students eligible to attend kindergarten; and (6) that the charter school understands that State Aid is only available for kindergarten and not for pre-kindergarten. 

Timetable for Implementation

The Regents action for the Harlem Success Academy Charter School 7 is effective immediately.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York State Education Department

Summary of Proposed Charter

Name of Proposed Charter School: Harlem Success Academy Charter School 7 (HSA7 or “the School”)

Address:  TBD

Applicant:  Eva Moskowitz

Anticipated Opening Date: August 2010

District of Location: New York City Community School District 3, Manhattan

 

Charter Entity: Trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY)

Institutional Partner:  N/A

Management Partner: Success Charter Network, Inc.

Grades Served:                      2010-2011: Developmental K-1

2011-2012: Developmental K-2

2012-2013: Developmental K-3

2013-2014: Developmental K-4

2014-2015: Developmental K-5

 

Projected Enrollment:         2010-2011: 180

2011-2012: 249

2012-2013: 398

2013-2014: 482

2014-2015: 557

 

Proposed Charter Highlights

Applicant

Eva Moskowitz, the lead applicant, is a native and current resident of Harlem and a mother of three public school children. Ms. Moskowitz is a former New York City Council Member and Chair of the Council’s Education Committee.  After completing her Ph.D. in American History at John’s Hopkins University, she was a history professor and taught civics at Prep for Prep, a program for gifted students. She has served as the Executive Director of the Harlem Success Academy Charter School through its start-up and first year of operation and is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Success Charter Network.  

Institutional Partner

              N/A

Management Partner

             

The Success Charter Network, Inc. (SCN) states that it “was founded to create a replicable elementary school model that would give economically disadvantaged and minority students a phenomenal education and prevent the achievement gap from ever coming in to existence.”  The services provided by the SCN will include the following:

 

  • Start-up: SCN will manage the School’s entire operational start-up process;
  • Finance: SCN has developed a start-up budget and proposed operating budget for the first five years of the School’s operation and drafted internal controls, protocols, and procedures. SCN will produce monthly and quarterly variance reports and conduct meetings with the School’s leadership and Board of Trustees to go over these reports and give recommendations to ensure the fiscal health of the School. SCN will ensure that annual fiscal audits are conducted and will ensure the School is prepared for the audit. SCN will set up operating accounts and manage accounting, bookkeeping, payroll, accounts payable and accounts receivable. SCN will secure grants and manage grant compliance. SCN will also manage Title funding.
  • Curriculum: SCN will provide and continuously improve a research-based results-driven curriculum. SCN will share best practices and build collaboration within its schools through inter-visitation. SCN will also provide student assessments and arrange for scoring.
  • Human Resources: SCN will recruit teachers, administrators, and other school personnel to work in the School. SCN will implement a professional development plan.
  • Information Technology: SCN will arrange for, purchase and install systems (for example: email, digital database, digital library).
  • School Evaluation: SCN will evaluate and provide criticism and guidance to improve teaching and learning.
  • External affairs: SCN will manage all external affairs and relations for the School. SCN will negotiate facility space. SCN will conduct a marketing campaign.
  • Enrollment: SCN will manage a digital lottery process and the School’s enrollment (including services to the School’s special education population).

 

Currently, SCN manages four charter schools in Manhattan (for performance data, see Attachment I), which are the following (name – date – location):

Approved by the Board of Regents:

Harlem Success Academy Charter School (formerly Harlem Success Charter School) – January 2006 – Manhattan

In effect by operation of law:

Harlem Success Academy Charter School 2 – March 2008 – Manhattan

Harlem Success Academy Charter School 3 – March 2008 – Manhattan

Harlem Success Academy Charter School 4 – March 2008 – Manhattan

The management partner is currently seeking to manage the following proposed charter schools:

Harlem Success Academy Charter School 5 – Manhattan (proposed opening date: August 2010)

Harlem Success Academy Charter School 6 – Manhattan (proposed opening date: August 2010)

Curriculum/Assessment/Instruction

 

  • The School will not provide instruction in each subject in the seven general curriculum areas and the proposed curriculum is not aligned to all 28 New York State (NYS) learning standards.
  • In 2008-2009, the Harlem Success Academy Charter School (HSA) located in Manhattan, out-performed community school district (CSD) 3.  HSA reported 94.8 percent of students were proficient in English language arts (ELA), with a Performance Indicator (PI) of 195, compared to CSD 3, which reported 75.8 percent of students were proficient with a PI of 174.  HSA reported 100 percent of students were proficient in math with a PI of 200, while CSD 3 demonstrated 85.3 percent of students were proficient with a PI of 183 (See Attachment 1).
  • The School will admit students who reach age four by August 1st.   
  • The School will have a developmental kindergarten (DK) program.  Student placement in DK will be based on a test of developmental maturity rather than age.  After admittance students will be assessed during the summer prior to the opening of school, each year.
  • Staff has determined that the DK program described:
    • Is a pre-kindergarten program based on the selected vendor created curriculum (Success For All, Inc.’s Curiosity Corner for literacy), which is not aligned with the New York State (NYS) kindergarten English language arts standards and performance indicators.
    • The goal of the DK program is not to prepare students for the first grade but rather to advance them to kindergarten the next year. It “will prepare students for [HSA7] regular kindergarten program.”
    • Offers students in the DK, a school day that is shorter than that provided to students in the regular kindergarten program.
  • The School intends to implement New York State curriculum using the Success for All (SFA) literacy and mathematics curricula.
  • The SFA program utilized will feature: cross-curricular, theme-based instruction; reading and writing across the curriculum; technology integration; a focus on community resources; and character growth and teamwork.
  • In addition to the SFA curricula, students will have 30 minutes of daily writing instruction and 30 minutes of daily math problem solving instruction and practice.
  • It is the intent of the School to model itself on the experience of the other schools managed by SCN, of which only Harlem Success Academy Charter School 2 has a DK program. 
  • Students will receive weekly instruction in chess, art, team sports and dance.
  • The School will employ learning labs for students who need remedial instruction and are pulled from their regular class to be tutored. High achieving students will be pulled out for enrichment activities.
  • In addition to the New York State assessments, the School will administer the nationally-normed SFA assessments in literacy every eight weeks and in math every month. The School will also use the Terra Nova assessments or another nationally normed assessment to measure student achievement in all grades in English Language Arts (ELA), math, science and social studies.
  • Each student, beginning in second grade, will take the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) or a similar reading assessment.
  • The School will offer a full inclusion model for students with disabilities and a structured immersion strategy to help English Language Learners (ELL) students achieve proficiency in the English language.  The extended instructional day will offer additional opportunities for ELL students to acquire proficiency.   
  • Struggling students will receive one-on-one and small group tutoring.  High performing students will participate in enrichment activities. 
  • The School proposes 185 instructional days per year.
  • The School will provide instruction from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. with an early dismissal on Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m. for weekly professional development.
  • Students in the DK classes will receive daily instruction from 7:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

 

Governance

 

  • The number of Trustees shall not be fewer than seven and shall not exceed 11.
  • Trustees will be elected to initially serve in three classes of staggered terms.  The first class will serve for one year; the second class will serve for two years; and the third class will serve for three years.  Thereafter, each trustee will serve for a three-year term. 
  • Parents will be involved in the governance of the School. A parent council will help organize family events, help plan and chaperone meaningful field study experiences and address parent questions and concerns with the School’s leadership.
  • One parent of a currently enrolled student in the School will serve as an ex-officio member of the School’s Board.
  • No more than 40 percent of trustees will be affiliated with the School as a compensated employee or contractor, or with Success Charter Network, Inc. or any other single entity.
  • Regular meetings of the Board of Trustees shall be held bi-monthly throughout the year.
  • The initial committees of the Board of Trustees shall be executive and finance.
  • The officers of the board of trustees are chair, vice chair, secretary, and treasurer.

 

Students

 

  • The School will serve 180 students in grades DK through grade one in Year One and will grow to 557 students in grades DK through grade five in Year Five.   
  • The School will enroll 40 students in DK with a class size of 20 students.  Each class would have a lead teacher and an assistant teacher.  The student to teacher ratio will be 10:1. 
  • The School will have three regular kindergarten classes and three first grade classes with 25 students each.  Each class will have one lead teacher and one assistant teacher per class. There are also two teacher aides for kindergarten.  The student to teacher ratio will be 13:1. 
  • The School will advertise in community newspapers and make enrollment information available via the School’s website; additionally the School will distribute flyers, brochures and applications to elementary schools, community and social service organizations, and children service organizations.
  • The School’s recruitment plan includes strategies to advertise widely to families from the community school district, including English Language Learners (ELL) and students with disabilities (SWD).
  • The School anticipates the ages of students enrolled in grades DK through five will range between four and 10 years old.
  • The School expects the student body to reflect the population of the target community, which in 2007-08, in CSD 3 were: 34 percent Black; 38 percent Hispanic; 22 percent White; and six percent Asian or Other; 56 percent of the area public school children participated in the federal free/reduced lunch program.  Ten percent were identified as limited English proficient. 
  • The School states, “In order to maintain the carefully created school culture, it intends to fill in vacancies in the School each year up through grade two.”

 

 

 

Budget/Facilities

 

  • The School is pursuing alternatives to conventional lease/purchase arrangements that include securing underutilized New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) space. 
  • NYC DOE provided a conditional commitment letter that it will provide underutilized space to the School. 
  • The prospective board chair has committed to raise and/or have trustees contribute $500,000 to the School.
  • Fundraising targets have been set based on conservative estimates of previous campaigns operated by the management partner.  The School reports that SCN had raised $8M from individuals and foundations to support schools in its network.
  • The School reports that SCN will advance new school funds up to $350,000 to cover any shortfalls that the School may have.
  • The School’s Year One revenue is $3,487,011 and will grow to $8,600,206 in Year Five. 
  • The School expects to carry forward a cash balance of $222,844 from the start-up budget.
  • The Year One budget anticipates total expenses of $3,190,462 and by Year Five to equal $8,054,151.
  • The School anticipates an ending fund balance of $296,549 at the end of Year One and $1,003,397 at the end of Year Five.
  • The School intends to use $75,000 towards its dissolution fund during the first three years.
  • The School ensures that it will perform all programmatic and fiscal audits annually as required by the New York State Charter Schools Act, in accordance with auditing standards and Government Auditing Standards issued by the Comptroller General of the United States.
  • The potential fiscal impact upon the District is represented below.  Please note that these projections are based upon several assumptions, which may or may not occur: that all existing charter schools will also exist in the next five years and serve the same grade levels as they do now; that the charter schools will be able to meet their projected maximum enrollment; that all students will come from NYC and no other districts; that all students will attend everyday for a 1.0 FTE; that the District’s budget will increase at the projected rate; that the per pupil payment will increase (and not decrease); and that the per pupil payment will increase at the projected rate.

 

 

 

 

Projected Fiscal Impact of

Harlem Success Academy Charter School 7

(New York City – CSD 3 – Manhattan)

2010-11 through 2014-15

School Year

Number of Students

Projected Payment*

Projected Impact

2010-2011

180

$           2,340,528

0.0134%

2011-2012

249

$           3,383,429

0.0188%

2012-2013

398

$           5,651,413

0.0304%

2013-2014

482

$           7,152,161

0.0374%

2014-2015

557

$           8,636,977

0.0438%

* Assumes a three percent annual increase in the District’s budget from the base of $18.035 billion in 2010-2011; and a three percent annual increase in the average expense per pupil per year from the 2010-2011 rate of $12,816.

Personnel

 

  • The School will be led by a principal. 
  • The work of the principal will be supported by a school leadership resident and a dean of students.
  • In addition to administrative staff, the School will employ the following staff: eight lead teachers (24 in Year Five), four assistant teachers (nine in Year Five), and seven specialty teachers (18 in Year Five).
  • The School will employ one lead teacher in each classroom.  Each grade level will also have an assistant teacher.
  • Specialty teachers include full time science and arts teachers as well as part time special education, chess, and physical education teachers.
  • The special education teacher will be New York State certified in Special Education.
  • An early student dismissal day (Wednesday) each week is planned to allow three hours a week of focused professional development (PD).
  • Staff will receive three weeks of PD in the summer prior to school opening.
  • The decision to rehire a teacher in subsequent years is dependent upon his/her students’ academic outcomes.

 

Community Support

 

  • The School provided over 550 signatures of parents with children eligible for enrollment to satisfy its target enrollment.
  • The School has received support from the following community leaders, foundations, and community organizations: Adam Clayton Powell, IV – 68th Assembly District;  Jennifer Raab, President of Hunter College; Council of Urban Professionals; I Have A Dream Foundation; Children’s Aid Society; Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York; Tech Saturdays in Harlem; Dream Charter School; The Armory Foundation; Police Athletic League, Inc. – 369th Harlem Armory Center; Harlem Heritage Tours; and Mount Carmel – Holy Rosary School.
  • The School provided information regarding the waiting lists from other elementary schools managed by SCN in the Harlem community school districts.  The lottery conducted for the 2009-2010 school year had over 3,600 applicants for 475 available seats at the other schools managed by SCN. 

 

Public Opinion

 

  • The NYC DOE sent a letter and posted the notice on its website, notifying the public and independent schools in CSD 8 regarding the proposed application for Harlem Success Academy Charter School 7 and inviting comments for the public hearing. 
  • The NYC DOE will hold a public hearing in CSD 8 on Thursday, January 7, 2010 regarding this proposed charter application.  We do not anticipate any comments.  Should there be any comments the item will be updated on Friday, January 8, 2010.
  • A public hearing must be held in CSD 3 or the application must be revised to indicate that the School will be located in CSD 8.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attachment 1

Performance of NYS Charter Schools managed by Success Charter Network, Inc. on the ELA and Math State Assessments compared to the school district of location*

 

Percent of Students Scoring At or Above Level 3 on State Exams

Charter School

2005-2006

2006-2007

2007-2008

2008-2009

 

3-8

ELA

3-8

MATH

3-8

ELA

3-8

MATH

3-8

ELA

3-8

MATH

3-8

ELA

3-8

MATH

Harlem Success Academy CS  

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

94.8

100

CSD 3

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

75.8

85.3

*Only includes SCN managed schools that have administered the ELA and math state assessments. 

SCN schools that opened for instruction in September 2008 and will not administer the ELA and math state assessments until the 2011-12 academic year are:

    • Harlem Success Academy Charter School 2
    • Harlem Success Academy Charter School 3
    • Harlem Success Academy Charter School 4