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Meeting of the Board of Regents | July 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008 - 11:20pm

sed seal                                                                                                 







Johanna Duncan-Poitier


Charter Schools: Proposed Charter for the Brooklyn Prospect Charter School


July 25, 2008



Goals 1 and 2






Issue for Decision


Should the Regents approve the staff’s recommendations concerning the proposed charter for the Brooklyn Prospect Charter School (New York City) submitted by the Trustees of the State University of New York (“SUNY”)?

Reason(s) for Consideration


              Required by State statute, Education Law §2852.


Proposed Handling


This question will come before the EMSC Committee in July 2008 for action. It will then come before the full Board for final action in July 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 received a proposed charter from the Trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY) for the establishment of the following charter school. It will be presented to you at your July 2008 meeting.  The proposed charter application is to establish the following:


  •  Brooklyn Prospect Charter School


The Brooklyn Prospect Charter School (BPCS or “the School”) would be located in Community School District 15, in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn.  The proposed charter school would initially utilize September 2008-2009 as a planning year. In Year Two, the School would open with 100 sixth grade students.  BPCS would expand to serve 400 students in grades six through nine. The School's mission is “to serve students in grades six through nine by providing quality teachers and a rigorous curriculum in a public school environment.  Assisted by a collaborative faculty of high-quality professional educators and immersed in a culture that encourages intellectual risk-taking, students will participate in a challenging academic curriculum, based on the International Baccalaureate Program, which is specifically designed to prepare students for success in the global community.  Building relationships with students and families, we will support students of all abilities as they strive to reach their intellectual and personal potential.”


The School has provided assurances that its curriculum will address and will be aligned with all 28 New York State Learning Standards. The School will not have a management partner.


Staff recommends that the Board of Regents approves the proposed charter.




VOTED:  That the Board of Regents approves and issues the proposed charter of the Brooklyn Prospect Charter School as proposed by the Trustees of the State University of New York and issues a provisional charter to it for a term of five years ending July 28, 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 uot 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 Brooklyn Prospect Charter School is effective immediately.

New York State Education Department


Summary of Proposed Charter


Name of Proposed Charter School: Brooklyn Prospect Charter School (BPCS or “the School”)


Address:  TBD


Applicant(s):  Daniel Kikuji Rubenstein


Anticipated Opening Date: September 8, 2009


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


Charter Entity: SUNY Board of Trustees


Management Partner: None


Grades Served:                      2008-2009: Planning Year

2009-2010: Grade 6

2010-2011: Grades 6 and 7

2011-2012: Grades 6, 7 and 8

2012-2013: Grades 6, 7, 8 and 9


Projected Enrollment:         2008-2009: Planning Year

2009-2010: 100

2010-2011: 200

2011-2012: 300

2012-2013: 400


Proposed Charter Highlights




              The lead applicant is Daniel Kikuji Rubenstein who will serve in the capacity of executive director of the proposed charter school. He has over fifteen years of teaching and administrative experience in both private and public schools. The applicant was employed by the Collegiate School in New York for the past five years until June 2007, where he led the mathematics department. Mr. Rubenstein was previously associated with the Schools for Educational Evolution and Development (SEED) Public Charter School in Washington D.C from September 2000 to June 2002. He began his teaching career in 1992 as a Mathematics Teacher and then became an Assistant Dean of Students at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. from September 1999 to June 2000.  He is a candidate for a Doctorate in Education Leadership at Columbia University Teachers College.  He graduated from Columbia University Teachers College in 2007 where he received an M.Ed. in Organizational Leadership.




  • The School will offer approximately 187 instructional days and the school calendar is closely aligned with the New York City public school calendar.
  • The School has an aligned curriculum for English Language Arts, mathematics, science and social studies.
  • The School’s curriculum will be based on the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IBMYP) designed for students aged 11 to 16.
  • The International Baccalaureate Programme (IB) is designed to help students to participate actively and responsibly in a changing world.
  • Students will be expected to build their knowledge by learning how to critically evaluate information as well as learning facts.
  • The School will implement a curriculum based on the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program that encourages students to pose challenging questions, think meta-cognitively about their learning and “to develop a strong sense of their own identity and culture and to develop the ability to communicate with and understand people from other countries and cultures.”
  • Teachers undergo training by attending International Baccalaureate (IB) teacher-training workshops and participating in school-based training organized by the IB.
  • The School will conduct a six-week Summer Academy beginning in 2010-2011 school year. This academy will be mandatory for students who fail one or more subjects, fail to achieve proficiency on one or more state exam, miss more than 15 school days and/or do not complete significant assignments in two or more classes.
  • The school day will begin at 8:00 a.m. and end at 4:40 p.m.
  • The instructional time for English Language Arts, math, science and social studies will total 240 minutes for each subject area per week.
  • Among its student achievement goals, the School states that Brooklyn Prospect Charter School students will meet or exceed the New York State Board of Regents student performance standards. 
  • The Terra Nova Achievement tests will be administered twice annually in language arts, mathematics, science, reading and social studies for each grade beginning in the sixth grade.
  • The educational philosophy of the School revolves around challenging students and maximizing the success of each learner by differentiating instruction based on academic strengths and weaknesses.
  • The School culture will be one which provides students with experiences which will allow students’ intellectual activity to transcend the boundaries of the classroom and to extend into the culture of their daily lives.



  • The Board of Trustees will consist of no fewer than nine  members and no more than fifteen members.
  • The initial committees of the Board of Trustees shall be Development, Governance and Nominating, Executive, Planning and Audit and Finance.
  • The officers of the Board of Trustees are the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer.
  • The Board will meet at least four times annually and each member will participate in standing and ad hoc committees to accomplish strategic tasks.  The Trustees, collectively, will be required to demonstrate experience in education, law, community relations, finance, organizational governance, social services, fundraising, and advocacy. 




  • Brooklyn Prospect Charter School will use 2008-2009 as a planning year.
  • Beginning in September 2009, the School intends to serve students in grades six through nine by adding one grade per year until it reaches the projected capacity of 400 students. 
  • Teachers will remain with a class of students for more than one year to provide an opportunity to build strong mentor relationships.
  • The School envisions a student teacher ratio of 22:1.
  • The School will undertake a comprehensive student recruitment campaign in Community School District 15 targeting 22 elementary schools, two charter schools and one K-8 school.
  • The School will create recruitment materials in multiple languages and highlight its capacity to serve Special Education students as well as English Language Learners (ELL).
  • Students with disabilities will be educated in the least restrictive environment.
  • ELL students will not be excluded from curricular and extra-curricular activities based on their limited ability to speak and understand the language of instruction.
  • ELL students will not be assigned to special education because of their lack of English proficiency.
  • ELL students will be provided the necessary curriculum and instruction to allow them to achieve to the standards set for all students in the School.




  • Brooklyn Prospect Charter School will seek space within an existing facility operated by the New York City Department of Education.  The School’s contingency plan is to find a suitable facility of about 20,000 square feet within Community School District 15.
  • The anticipated budget for the first year of operation (Year Two) will be $2,035,000 in revenues versus expenditures of $1,946,535 for a budget surplus of $88,465. 
  • Year Five revenues will total $6,270,000, while expenditures will equal $5,990,202 for a net surplus of $279,798.
  • The potential 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 will serve the same grade levels as they do now,  that the charter schools will be able to meet their 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

Prospect Charter School

(New York City CSD 15– Brooklyn)

2008-09 through 2012-13

School Year

Number of Students

Projected Payment*

Projected Impact







 $               1,203,739




 $               2,515,815




 $               3,943,540




 $               5,494,665


*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.




  • The Executive Director will provide oversight for the School. The Development Director, the Director of Operations, the Business Manager, the Academic Director and the Dean of Students will report to the Executive Director.
  • One full-time teacher will be assigned to each class of no more than 22 students for each of the five school years.
  • In Year Two, the School will retain ten instructional personnel; in Year Three, Brooklyn Prospect Charter School will increase its teaching staff to 19.  The teaching staff will increase by nine in Year Four and by ten in Year Five.
  • The School’s instructional staff for 2009-2010 will consist of one teacher for each of the following areas: Mathematics, English Language Arts, science, social studies, foreign language, the arts. By the fifth year, each of the subject areas will taught by four teachers.
  • The School will have three special education teachers in the 2009-2010 school year and will increase to six in year five.
  • The School plans to employ four physical education teachers in the 2012-2013 school year.


Community Support


  • The School collected over 440 online petitions on its website ( from community residents in support of the proposed School.  The results from the website’s operation covered the period from Friday June 22, 2007 through Wednesday June 27, 2007.




Public Opinion


  • A public hearing for the proposed charter school was held on April 28, 2008.  One public comment was made questioning the need for the School and why the NYC Department of Education was not doing its job of reducing class size, comparable to a ratio of 22:1  as proposed in Brooklyn Prospect Charter School’s application.