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Meeting of the Board of Regents | January 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008 - 11:20pm

sed seal                                                                                                 







Johanna Duncan-Poitier


Charter Schools: Proposed Charter for PAVE

Charter School


January 4, 2008


Goals 1 and 2






Issue for Decision


Should the Regents approve and issue the proposed charter of the PAVE Charter School (New York City) which has been submitted by the Chancellor of the city school district of the City of New York?


Reason(s) for Consideration


              Required by New York State 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 the following:


  • PAVE Charter School  (New York City)


             The PAVE Charter School (PAVE or “the School”) would be located in New York City Community School District 15 in Brooklyn.  The applicant is targeting the Red Hook community.  The proposed charter school will initially serve 88 students in grades K-1 and expand to serve 246 students in grades K-5 by the fifth year of the initial charter. The School is founded on the principle that all students can achieve at high levels.  The School will be based on four pillars: high-quality instruction; a rigorous curriculum; an extended school day and school year; and, a highly structured learning environment.  Class sizes will be limited to 22 students.  The school will not be supported by a management company or institutional partner. 




              VOTED: That the Board of Regents approve and issue the charter of the PAVE 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.


Reason 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 applicant 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 PAVE Charter School is effective immediately.

New York State Education Department


Summary of Proposed Charter School


Summary of Applicant Information



Name of Proposed Charter School:  PAVE Charter School (PAVE or “the School”)


Address:  To be determined


Applicant(s):  J Spencer Robertson


Anticipated Opening Date:  August 25, 2008


District of Location: New York City Community School District (CSD) 15, Brooklyn


Charter Entity:  Chancellor, New York City Department of Education


Institutional Partner(s):  N/A


Management Partner(s):  N/A


Grades Served:                      2008-09: K-1

2009-15: K-2

2015-11: K-3

2011-12: K-4

2012-13: K-5


Projected Enrollment:         2008-09: 88

2009-15: 132

2015-11: 173

2011-12: 211

2012-13: 246


Proposed Charter Highlights




              J Spencer Robertson, the lead applicant, has spent his eight year professional career involved in public education. He taught for three years at Junior High School 117 (8th Grade English Language Arts) from 1998-2001. He spent a year as a Program Officer for the Tiger Foundation, working primarily on the foundation’s education portfolio (2002-2003). which included several New York charter schools. He completed a year-long fellowship with Building Excellent Schools (2005-2006). and in 2006-07, Mr. Robertson worked as the Assistant Director of Operations at North Star Academy Charter School of Newark. Mr. Robertson holds an MBA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (2005).


Institutional Partner(s)




Management Partner





  • The mission of the school is “to prepare kindergarten to 8th grade students to thrive in competitive high schools and four year colleges. 
  • PAVE states it “will provide the children of Brooklyn with a rigorous academic program and a school community built on the school’s core value of Perseverance, Achievement, Vibrance and Excellent Character.”
  • The curriculum is fully aligned with the New York State performance and learning standards.
  • The School will incorporate elements of direct instruction, collaborative learning, and project-based instruction.
  • PAVE will primarily make use of a Direct Instruction approach. For its reading curriculum it will utilize Open Court and for math it will use Saxon.  The writing program will incorporate Power Writing Plus.  Science instruction will be delivered through Full Option Science Systems (FOSS).  The Houghton Mifflin Social Studies Program will anchor instruction in this area.
  • PAVE students will take assessments to both gauge progress and inform instruction. Kindergarten students will take the DIBELS assessment three (3) times throughout the year (beginning, middle, and end). Students in the first grade and above will take the Terra Nova twice per year (beginning and end). Students in the first grade and above will also take PAVE’s internally developed assessments at regular intervals (4-5 per year). The assessments will be aligned to PAVE’s curriculum and to the New York State Learning Standards.
  • Where appropriate, PAVE will layer support for students with disabilities (SWDs).The School intends to hire a teacher in each grade who possesses dual certification (general education and special education).  The Learning Support Coordinator will push in or pull students out of classrooms and serve as an additional layer of support for students with special needs.
  • Using the Structured English Immersion (SEI) approach, PAVE will serve all students with limited English proficiency (LEP) and ensure that they quickly become proficient readers and writers of the English language.
  • PAVE anticipates hiring at least one bilingual teacher. PAVE is seeking a certified English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher to serve in a consulting capacity. This individual, in conjunction with the Learning Support Coordinator and the bilingual teacher will meet on a monthly basis and establish/review concrete strategies to support the School’s targeted students. The bilingual teacher and/or the Learning Support Coordinator will push in or pull out ELL students.
  • PAVE will utilize an extended school day (8:00 AM-4:00 PM) and an extended school year (188 days).
  • No class at PAVE will contain more than 22 students.
  • In kindergarten through grade two, PAVE will utilize a two-teacher per classroom model.




  • PAVE will be governed by a Board of Trustees. The number of Trustees shall not be less than seven (7) and shall not exceed thirteen (13).
  • The Executive Director will report directly to the Board of Trustees and will be responsible for PAVE’s overall performance. 
  • The current proposed Board consists of individuals with broad experience in the following areas: legal, financial, early childhood education, not for profit management, and fundraising.
  • Each Trustee has had the opportunity to visit at least two charter schools deemed outstanding by external organizations. 
  • Trustees will be elected to serve two year terms. No Trustee will serve more than three consecutive terms.
  • The Board will maintain four standing committees: Executive; Finance and Facilities; Academic Accountability; and, Governance.




  • PAVE anticipates serving a population that closely mirrors that of the Red Hook Community. Specifically, the expectation is that greater than 90% of PAVE students will be free/reduced lunch eligible. It is also expected that the composition of the school will be approximately 50% African American and 50% Latino.
  • PAVE students will be selected by a blind, random lottery.  Preference will be given to students living in Community School District 15.
  • The School anticipates that no less than ten percent of those enrolled will be students with disabilities. 




  • In Year One, PAVE’s administrative staff will consist of an Executive Director (ED), a Director of Curriculum and Instruction (DCI), a Director of Operations and Finance (DOF); a Dean of Students; an Office Manager; and a Social Worker (half-time). The DCI and DOF will report to the ED.  
  • By Year Five the only additions to the administrative staff are the Social Worker (full time) and the addition of a second Office Manager.
  • In Year One PAVE’s Teaching Staff will consist of four Lead Teachers, four Junior Teachers and a Learning Support Coordinator. PAVE will use a two teacher per classroom model in Kindergarten through the second grade.
  • In Year Two, PAVE will add four additional teachers (two Lead teachers and two Junior Teachers). In Years Three through Five, PAVE will add two Lead Teachers per year.
  • In Year Three, PAVE will hire its physical education and art teachers. Until that point these services will contracted.
  • PAVE will recruit teachers from an array of sources including but not limited to the following: Teach for America, New York City Teaching Fellows, professional job fairs, graduate schools of teaching and strategic website postings.




  • In Year One PAVE anticipates total revenues of $1,780,819 and expenses of $1,481,626. The anticipated Year one surplus is $289,193.
  • During the Start-Up phase and Year One, PAVE anticipates receipt of non per-pupil revenues from the Walton Family Foundation ($250,000), the City of New York ($124,408), Federal Charter School Program, Grant ($150,000), and fundraising/board contributions ($150,000).
  • There are no loans associated with the Year One budget.
  • PAVE anticipates being located in a New York City Department of Education building. The Lead Applicant is engaged in conversations with the New York City Department of Education to secure such a space.
  • The School has provided a contingency plan and budget for securing a facility over the term of the charter.  If space in a Department of Education building is not a viable option, PAVE has identified a 20,000 square foot facility to lease located in the target community.  The applicant asserts the potential value of the site includes: proximity to public transportation, public parks and playing fields.  The proposed facility is also newly constructed.
  • The Board committees have identified community-based partners for collaborating on finalizing facility arrangements. 
  • The potential fiscal impact upon the District is represented below.  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 New York City 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 the


Charter School

(New York City CSD 15 – Brooklyn)

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


  • The Lead Applicant was able to get the requisite number of signatures to match the first year’s budgeted enrollment (88).
  • The Lead Applicant has forged alliances with some of Red Hook’s most established and respected Community Based Organizations. For example: Red Hook Rise and the Red Hook Community Justice Center have written letters in support of the school.
  • The Lead Applicant and Board Members have and will continue to take advantage of opportunities to speak to families and interested stakeholders.


Public Opinion


  • A public hearing, hosted by the Community Education Council of Community School District 15, New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE), was held on September 20, 2007.   
  • Five public comments were received in support of the proposed charter.