Skip to main content

Meeting of the Board of Regents | January 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008 - 11:15pm

sed seal                                                                                                 







Johanna Duncan-Poitier


Charter Schools: Proposed Charter for the Mott Haven Academy Charter School


January 4, 2008


Goals 1 and 2





Issue for Decision


Should the Regents approve and issue the proposed charter of the Mott Haven Academy Charter School (New York City) 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 for the establishment of the following charter school.  This will be presented to you at your January 2008 meeting.  The proposed charter is to establish the:


  •  Mott Haven Academy Charter School


The Mott Haven Academy Charter School (MHACS or “the School”), with the New York Foundling as its institutional partner, would be located in the Mott Haven section of The Bronx (Community School District 7).  The proposed charter school would initially serve 90 students in grades kindergarten through one and would expand to serve 232 students in grades K-5 in the fifth year when it reaches full capacity. The School's mission is “to empower children in an educational environment that addresses and reduces the barriers to academic success through the integration of family support services with a rigorous, college-preparatory academic program.  The School proposes to develop graduates that “will be resilient, resourceful, independent scholars who have the skills necessary to reach their full potential and to build a better future.”




              VOTED: That the Board of Regents approve and issue the charter of the Mott Haven Academy 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 Mott Haven Charter School is effective immediately.





New York State Education Department


Summary of Proposed Charter


Name of Proposed Charter School: The Mott Haven Academy Charter School “MHACS” or “the School”)


Address:  TBD


Applicants):  Jessica Nauiokas


Anticipated Opening Date: September 2, 2008


District of Location: New York City Community School District 7, Mott Haven in The Bronx


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


Institutional Partner(s): New York Foundling (“NYF”)


Management Partner(s): N/A


Grades Served:                      2008-2009: K-1

2009-2010: K-2

2010-2011: K-3

2011-2012: K-4

2012-2013: K-5


Projected Enrollment:         2008-2009: 90

2009-2010: 130

2010-2011: 166

2011-2012: 200

2012-2013: 232


Proposed Charter Highlights




              The lead applicant, Jessica Nauiokas has over a decade of urban teaching experience, teacher professional development experience and a background in literacy and cognitive development. Before serving as the Director of School Development for the NYC Center for Charter School Excellence for three years, Ms. Nauiokas completed the New Leaders for New Schools fellowship where she was a member of the leadership team at a small school in Harlem.  She is also an Adjunct Professor of Education at Mercy College, where she teaches graduate level courses preparing new teachers for entry into the classroom. Ms. Nauiokas began her career in education as a Teach for America corps member in Washington DC, where she was a first grade teacher and eventually a reading specialist.  Most recently, she was selected to attend the KIPP Leadership Pathways Program. Ms. Nauiokas will serve as the proposed Principal for the School.


Institutional Partner

              The New York Foundling (NYF) has been working to serve children, preserve families and build communities since 1869.  The agency is designed to help children, youth and adults in need through advocacy and through preventive and in-care services that help each individual reach his or her potential.  Its guiding principle is: Abandon No One.

Management Partner






  • The School’s mission is “to empower children in an educational environment that addresses and reduces the barriers to academic success through the integration of family support services with a rigorous, college-preparatory academic program.” 
  • The School states its graduates will be resilient, resourceful, independent scholars who have the skills necessary to reach their full potential and to build a better future.
  • The curriculum is fully aligned with the New York State performance and learning standards. Additionally, it has been developed with National Standards, such as NCTM and NCTE, in mind.
  • The School will supplement its curriculum with educational programs such as Technical Education Research Centers (TERC) Mathematics, Wilson Reading Program, Full Option Science System (FOSS), Responsive Classroom, and Writers Workshop.
  • Students will have 90-120 minutes of literacy instruction daily which will include Career Development and Occupational Studies (CDOS) and Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS).
  • Students will have 50-70 minutes of math instruction daily which will include technology.
  • The School’s approach to the education of English Language Learners (ELL) will be structured immersion and will be supported by extensive teacher professional development and the inclusion of instructional strategies develop by the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) model.  The School will provide all necessary staff and specialized curricular materials to enable ELL students to achieve proficiency.
  • The School will implement data-driven instruction to ensure that every student reaches high levels of academic achievement.  Teachers will gather, analyze, and use information about student progress to differentiate lesson plans and personalize instruction.
  • The School will use Understanding By Design to refine curriculum and assessment on an ongoing basis.
  • The School will use guided reading, literature circles, shared reading, independent reading, read aloud, classroom libraries and word study to build literacy.
  • The School proposes a 188-day school year as well as a longer school day, plus after school options provided by the School’s partner, NYF.
  • Each school day, students will receive the benefit of sixty additional minutes of instructional time in comparison to students attending other New York City (NYC) public schools.  Over the course of one year, MHACS students will have had 188 additional school hours, which is nearly 27 additional school days from the average public school.




  • The School shall be governed by a Board of Trustees with final authority for policy and operational decisions of the School pursuant to Education Law §2853(1)(f). 
  • The Board of Trustees, comprised of no less than five (5) and no more than thirteen (13) members, will govern the School and be responsible for ensuring that the School fulfills its mission, is true to its charter, and remains financially viable. 
  • The Board will include a Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer.  Board members will serve fully-renewable, staggered terms to ensure smooth transition of responsibility. 
  • The Board will meet no less frequently than authorizer requirements of ten times annually in Year One and will have three standing committees: Executive, Finance, and Educational.
  • Trustees will have substantial experience in education, law, organizational governance, fundraising, finance, real estate, social services and community advocacy. 
  • NYF, or individuals affiliated with NYF, will hold seats on the Mott Haven Academy Board of Trustees with no more than 40% of the charter school’s board affiliated with NYF or any other single entity. 




  • MHACS will serve 90 kindergarten and first grade students in the first year; the School intends to grow to serve students in grades K-5, adding one grade per year until the School reaches full capacity of 232 students. 
  • The recruitment plan will include strategies to advertise the School widely to families involved in the child welfare system, from the general Mott Haven community, ELLs and students with disabilities or special education needs.
  • MHACS’s student recruitment plan will reach out to local head start programs as well as a variety of public, private, religious community organizations and social service agencies.
  • The School will be open to all students and it is specifically designed to meet the needs of at-risk students who are currently served by the child welfare system. 
  • The lottery system, in compliance with the New York State Charter School Law, will designate children in the child welfare system as at-risk allowing them to have priority for admission.
  • The admissions criteria will reserve one third of the seats in each grade for students in the foster care system and another one third of the seats will be reserved for students that are receiving preventive services.




  • The School will lease space from NYF at a location that is currently under development (construction completion anticipated for fall 2009). 
  • NYF completed the purchase of a building at 170 Brown Place (CSD 7) in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx on September 10, 2007 (“close” date).  This will be the future home of Mott Haven Academy, beginning in Fall 2009 and at full growth, as well as the home for NYF Bronx Offices. 
  • The School will have its own entrance and occupy approximately 31,000 square feet of the 55,000 square foot building.
  • The building requires significant renovations.
  • The School has requested the use of Department of Education (DOE) incubation space in a NYCDOE facility in CSD 7.  In Year Two, the School will move into its newly developed school site at 170 Brown Place, Bronx, NY.
  • 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.




Fiscal Impact of the

Haven Academy Charter School

(New York City CSD 7 – The Bronx)

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.




  • MHACS will recruit candidates through teacher job fairs, newspaper ads, local colleges and universities, Board contacts, and Internet job networks.
  • While each position will have varying job requirements, the school generally considers a candidate’s proven work experience, academic credentials, motivation to embrace and fulfill the school’s mission, and ability to be a strong team player in support of the educational success of every student.
  • In Year One, the School will employ a principal, director of operations, administrative assistant, special education teacher, and a prevention specialist.  By Year Five, the School will increase to an administration staff of five by adding an administrative assistant. 
  • In Year One, the School will employ six classroom teachers.  By Year Five, the instructional staff will grow to 15 classroom teachers.


Community Support


  • The School collected more than 100 signatures from parents with school-age children on the Parent Petition of Support (distributed in Spanish and English). 
  • The following individuals and/or organizations have provided letters of support for MHACS: Bronx Borough, President Adolfo Carrion; Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner, John Mattingly; Citizens Committee for Children; Child Welfare Organizing Project (CWOP); East Side Settlement House; The New York Foundling; Bridge Builders; New York Child Resource Center; Pamela C. Torres Day Care Center; Philip H. Michaels Child Care Center Inc.; Betances Early Childhood Development Center SoBRO


Public Opinion


  • A public hearing was held at PS 161 in the Bronx on September 20, 2007.
  • Members from the Mott Haven Academy Charter School presented the School concept to the CSD 7 Community Board and to over 50 audience members. 
  • All public hearing comments were positive for the proposed school.