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Meeting of the Board of Regents | December 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008 - 7:00am

sed seal                                                                                                 







Johanna Duncan-Poitier


Charter Schools: Proposed Charter for the Coney Island Preparatory Public Charter School



December 5, 2008



Goals 1 and 2





Issue for Decision


Should the Regents approve and issue the proposed charter of Coney Island Preparatory Public Charter School (New York City)?

Reason(s) for Consideration


              Required by State statute, Education Law §2852.


Proposed Handling


This question will come before the EMSC Committee in December 2008 for action.  It will then come before the full Board for final action in December 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:


  •  Coney Island Preparatory Public Charter School


The Coney Island Preparatory Public Charter School (CIP or “the School”) would be located in Community School District 21, in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn.  The School will open in August 2009.  Initially, the School will serve 81 students in grade five and grow to serve 382 students in grades five through nine in its fifth year of operation. The School's mission is “to provide students with the academic skills and character necessary for success in selective colleges and universities, and the career of their choice.  Students will realize success through a rigorous academic program, with a strong focus on writing, in a supportive and structured school community.”




              VOTED: That the Board of Regents approves and issues the charter of the Coney Island Preparatory Public Charter School as proposed by the Chancellor of the city school district of the City of New York, and issues a provisional charter to it for a term of five years, up through and including December 15, 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 applicant can demonstrate the ability to operate the school in an educationally and fiscally sound manner; (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 Coney Island Preparatory Public Charter School is effective immediately.




New York State Education Department


Summary of Proposed Charter


Name of Proposed Charter School: Coney Island Preparatory Public Charter School (CIP or “the School”)


Address:  TBD


Applicant(s):  Jacob Mnookin


Anticipated Opening Date: August 24, 2009


District of Location: New York City Community School District 21, Brooklyn


Charter Entity: Chancellor of the city school district of the City of New York (“the Chancellor”)


Institutional Partner(s):  N/A


Management Partner(s): N/A


Grades Served:                      2009-2010:  5

2010-2011:  5 - 6

2011-2012:  5 - 7

2012-2013:  5 - 8

2013-2014:  5 - 9


Projected Enrollment:         2009-2010:    81

2010-2011:  162

2011-2012:  243

2012-2013:  316

2013-2014:  382


Proposed Charter Highlights




              The lead applicant, Jacob Mnookin, completed a one-year fellowship with Building Excellent Schools, a national non-profit organization that trains and supports individuals and groups in designing and leading urban public charter schools.  During this fellowship, Mr. Mnookin completed two leadership residencies at public charter schools in New York City; an instructional residency at Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School, and an operational residency at Explore Charter School.  Mr. Mnookin earned a B.A. in English and Political Science from Middlebury College, and an M.A. in Public Affairs and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from Princeton University.  After graduating from Middlebury College, Mr. Mnookin joined Teach For America and taught high school English in Newark, NJ.   As an English teacher, Mr. Mnookin implemented a standards-based curriculum and led 100 percent of his students to pass all three sections of the end-of-year, district-created, final English Language Arts (ELA) exam.  Mr. Mnookin also trained over 30 new teachers in New York City and Philadelphia for Teach For America.  He created and managed a new leadership development program and a mentor-teacher program at Friendship Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.  He also managed residential advisors at Princeton University and at a study abroad program in Oxford, England, where he handled discipline and all residential life issues. 


Institutional Partner




Management Partner






  • The School’s educational philosophy includes the following: high expectations for academics and behavior; teachers of high quality; meaningful professional development; back-to-basics middle school curriculum; college-preparatory high school curriculum; regular assessments of student academic achievement; data driven instruction, more time to learn; character development; family involvement; and seamless instruction in grades 5-12.
  • The School states that its educational philosophy closely follows the “No Excuses” model established by the KIPP schools. 
  • As part of character development, CIP students will participate in a weekly ethics class and meet daily for 25 minutes during lunch time in an advisory group of 12-14 participants to discuss issues that are of concern to them.  
  • CIP students will be provided a standards-based curriculum aligned with the 28 New York State Learning Standards.
  • With an emphasis on reading and writing proficiency, the School will provide 150 minutes of ELA classes daily in grades five and six.
  • ELA instruction will be based on Reading Mastery and supplemented with Scholastic Guided Reading Program.
  • The science curriculum will use Full Option Science System (FOSS) as a resource.
  • The social studies curriculum will use History Alive! as a resource.
  • The School will use assessment data to inform teaching and learning.  The plan includes tracking the mastery of individual students, tracking the progress of classes, assessing teacher effectiveness by instructional topic, and conducting overall evaluations of the School curriculum.
  • The School will diagnose students’ reading levels upon entering grade five with the Critchlow Verbal Language Scale, San Diego Quick Assessment of Reading Ability, McLeod Assessment of Reading Comprehension, and the Diagnostic Assessments of Reading.  Based on the scores of these four tests, students may be entered into a year-long reading remediation program consisting of the Wilson Reading System designed for struggling readers.
  • The School will administer all New York State assessments, the Terra Nova Achievement Test, as well as teacher-created end-of-unit summative assessments and end-of-year comprehensive assessments.
  • Special education students’ Individual Education Plan (IEP) requirements will be met via the services of the New York City Department of Education or an independent provider. 
  • The School will address the needs of students with disabilities (SWD) through an inclusion model of instruction. 
  • The School will employ a process of structured English language immersion for limited English proficient (LEP) students.  LEP students will be placed in mainstream classes for core academic classes and will receive additional English language instruction as necessary.
  • The daily schedule will allow collaborative planning time for classroom and specialty teachers. 
  • The School will provide an additional 50 minutes of tutoring daily, except Wednesday, from 4:10 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. for students in need of additional help.
  • The School proposes a 193-day school year from August to the end of June.
  • Included in the 193-day school year is a mandatory Saturday enrichment program, which students will be required to attend two times per quarter (eight days per year).  The School will sponsor educational field trips for students on these days.  CIP will make an exception for students whose religious beliefs conflict with Saturday programming.
  • The School will provide instruction from 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday.  Classes will conclude at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesdays to conduct professional development activities. 
  • Compared to schools that conduct classes 185 days per year between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., CIP will have 541 additional learning hours, equal to 77 extra school days.




  • The number of trustees shall not be fewer than seven (7) and shall not exceed thirteen (13).
  • Trustees will be elected to serve three-year terms.  Trustees will serve no more than two consecutive terms.
  • The initial committees of the Board of Trustees will be Executive/Governance, Finance, Fundraising, and Academic Accountability.
  • Each trustee will serve on one of the four standing committees.
  • Officers of the Board of Trustees will be: Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer.
  • Regular meetings of the Board of Trustees will be held ten times throughout the year.  In addition, the annual meeting will occur in the last quarter of the fiscal year which begins July 1.




  • The School will serve 81 students in grade five in the first year of instruction and will grow to 382 students in grades five through nine in its fifth year of instruction.   
  • The School anticipates the ages of students enrolled in grades five through nine will range between 10- and 16-years-old.
  • Each grade will be divided into three classes of 27 students each. 
  • Each grade will be served by approximately seven teachers, resulting in a student to teacher ratio of approximately 12:1. 
  • The School’s recruitment strategy includes the following: information sessions held at night and on weekends within the target community; advertising in community newspapers; making information available via its website; and distribution of flyers, brochures and applications to local elementary schools, community organizations, child service agencies and communities of faith.
  • The School’s recruitment plan includes strategies to advertise widely to families with children who are English language learners (ELL) and students with disabilities (SWD). 
  • The School plans to translate all letters, flyers, advertisements, notices, applications, and enrollment forms into Russian, Chinese, and Spanish (the three languages spoken by the majority of local immigrants).  Additionally, the School will reach out to local leaders and organizations, such as community-of-faith leaders and local non-profits, which have frequent and direct access to ELL families.
  • In its outreach efforts to families of SWDs, the School will describe how its program is personalized and provides for the needs of SWDs.
  • The School expects the student body to reflect the population of the target community: 35 percent African-American, 30 percent White, 20 percent Hispanic, 15 percent Asian or Other, 10 percent ELL, 10 percent SWD, 86 percent qualify for free/reduced lunch program.
  • The School states that due to its rigorous and highly structured program, it will open enrollment to applicants in grades five through seven only.




  • CIP is currently seeking a facility to house the proposed charter school.  The School states that its ideal situation is to secure temporary public space through the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) for two or three years, before moving into a permanent facility.
  • In the event that NYCDOE space is not available, the School is working with commercial real estate brokers to identify incubation space.
  • The School is in active discussions with the New York City Housing Authority and with Civic Builders to lease and renovate the unoccupied Carey Gardens housing development in Coney Island. 
  • The School anticipates that its Year One revenue will be $1,663,777 and will grow to $5,355,551 in Year Five. 
  • The School anticipates $216,700 in philanthropic contributions from foundations and private individuals in 2008.  To date, the School has been awarded $152,700.  Trustees have pledged a total of $14,300.
  • The School expects to carry forward a cash balance of $263,152 from the start-up budget.
  • The Year One budget anticipates total expenses of $1,480,717 and by Year Five to equal $5,223,864.
  • The School anticipates an ending fund balance of $183,060 in Year One and $131,687 in Year Five.
  • The School will create a dissolution fund of $75,000 over the first three years of operation, with a deposit of at least $10,000 in Year One and at least $30,000 in Year Two.
  • 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

Coney Island Preparatory Public Charter School

(New York City – CSD 21 – Brooklyn)

2009-10 through 2013-14

School Year

Number of Students

Projected Payment*

Projected Impact



$    975,029




$ 2,037,810




$ 3,194,267




$ 4,340,786




$ 5,483,539


* 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 School will be led by an executive director.
  • Building Excellent Schools has sponsored a one-year fellowship to Jacob Mnookin, the lead applicant and proposed executive director.  The fellowship is a training program that provides professional development and practical experience to educators designing charter schools in urban neighborhoods. 
  • The work of the executive director will be supported by a director of curriculum and instruction, director of finance and operations, student supports coordinator, and dean of students.  In Year Three, a business manager and director of development will be added to the staff.
  • The School will employ the following instructional staff in its first year of instruction: six classroom teachers (28 in Year Five); a part-time special education coordinator/teacher (two in Year Five); and a part-time fine arts teacher (three in Year Five).
  • The special education teacher will be New York State certified in special education.
  • In addition, the School will employ a part-time social worker (full-time in Year Five).
  • An early student dismissal day (Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m.) each week is planned to allow three hours per week of focused professional development.
  • Teachers will receive three weeks of professional development in the summer prior to school opening.  Teachers will also receive eight full days of professional development during the school year. 
  • Teachers will be allowed two and a half days per semester to visit other high performing schools to observe best practices. 
  • Teachers will be required to observe other teachers within the School once a week.  Additionally, the director of curriculum and instruction will observe each teacher once a week and follow up with suggestions to improve instruction.


Community Support


  • The School provided 412 signatures of parent support, of which 85 are eligible for fifth grade enrollment in 2009.  This number will satisfy its target enrollment. 
  • The School has received support from the following community leader, foundations, and community organizations: Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President and member of Community Board 13; Coney Island Gospel Assembly; South Brooklyn Youth Consortium; Community Board 13; Teach For America; Kingsborough Community College; New York Aquarium; Brooklyn Public Library; and the Urban Neighborhood Services.


Public Opinion


  • The New York City Department of Education sent a letter and posted a notice on its website, notifying the public and independent schools in Community School District 21 of the proposed application for Coney Island Preparatory Public Charter School and inviting comments for the public hearing. 
  • A public hearing on the proposed application for Coney Island Preparatory Public Charter School was held on June 30, 2008.  Several members of the Coney Island community expressed support and enthusiasm for the School.