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Meeting of the Board of Regents | December 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008 - 10:00am

              NYSED Seal                                                                     





Johanna Duncan-Poitier


Charter Schools: Proposed Charter for the Summit Academy Charter School


December 5, 2008


Goals 1 and 2





Issue for Decision

Should the Regents approve the staff’s recommendations concerning the proposed charter for the Summit Academy 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:

  •  Summit Academy Charter School


The Summit Academy Charter School (SACS or “the School”) will be located in Community School District 15, in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn.  The School will open in August 2009.  Initially, the School will serve 100 students in grade six and grow to serve 444 students in grades six through ten in the fifth year of the initial charter. The School's mission is “to bridge the gap between aspirations and reality by preparing sixth through twelfth grade students to gain acceptance to, excel in and graduate from college by using three pillars of success: mastery of core subjects, character building, and community leadership.  By engaging students in an academically rigorous, college-preparatory curriculum and supporting them in a community focused on high academic achievement and strong character building, SACS prepares young people to participate meaningfully in the greater economy and expand their choices and opportunities.”


            VOTED: That the Board of Regents approves and issues the charter of the Summit Academy 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 Summit Academy Charter School is effective immediately.



New York State Education Department

Summary of Proposed Charter

Name of Proposed Charter School: Summit Academy Charter School (SACS or “the School”)

Address:  TBD

Applicant(s): Natasha Campbell

Anticipated Opening Date: August 24, 2009

District of Location: New York City Community School District 15, 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:  6

2010-2011:  6 - 7

2011-2012:  6 - 8

2012-2013:  6 - 9

2013-2014:  6 - 10

Projected Enrollment:       2009-2010:  100

2010-2011:  200

2011-2012:  290

2012-2013:  371

2013-2014:  444

Proposed Charter Highlights


            The applicant, Natasha Campbell, is currently completing 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.  Ms. Campbell has management experience as the Director of the Police Athletic League Miccio Center in Red Hook, managing the daily operations of a community-based organization serving more than 400 children annually.  Ms. Campbell earned a BS degree from the University of Hartford and two MBA degrees from the American Inter-Continental University, one in Management and one in Healthcare Administration.  Ms. Campbell will apply to be the Executive Director of the proposed charter school.

Institutional Partner


Management Partner




  • The School’s educational philosophy is to develop students both academically and socially through three programs: academic, character development and community leadership.
  • The School states that key elements of the academic program include the following: strong middle school foundation; high school college-preparation; master teachers; more time on task; rigorous and frequent assessments; and a curriculum aligned with the 28 New York State Learning Standards that includes core, character development and enrichment courses.
  • The goal of the community leadership program is not necessarily to develop students to become civic leaders, but to equip students to consistently hold themselves to the same high standards for every decision and action as civic leaders do.
  • The School states that its educational philosophy closely follows the “No Excuses” model established by the KIPP schools. 
  • In addition to classes in core subjects, the School will offer mandatory college preparation and enrichment classes.
  • The English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum will use a variety of curricular resources including Junior Great Books, Wilson Reading System and a modified version of Scholastic Guided Reading.
  • The mathematics curriculum will use Saxon Math and McDougal Littel Algebra.
  • Science instruction will be based on Full Option Science System (FOSS) and Prentice Hall Science.
  • The Social Studies curriculum will be based on History Alive! and Core Knowledge.
  • All entering sixth grade students will take a preliminary battery of tests including a basic skills assessment, standards-based exams in all core subjects, and the Stanford 10 test.  Results will help teachers plan a program individualized to the needs of the students.
  • The School will administer all New York State exams and at the end of each year, students will take a nationally norm-referenced test of basic skills such as the Terra Nova or Stanford 10.  Students will also be assessed every six weeks using internal exams.  Results will be used to drive the curriculum, improve instruction and differentiate instruction to meet the needs of all students. 
  • End of the year local assessments will be administered two weeks prior to the end of the fourth quarter.  Students who pass the tests will participate in a year-end projects-based enrichment curriculum; students who fail will begin a two-week intensive remediation program and retake year-end assessments.
  • The School will employ a structured immersion strategy to help English language learners (ELL) achieve proficiency in the English language.  The extended instructional day will offer additional opportunities for ELLs to acquire proficiency.   
  • The School proposes a 190-day school year from August to the end of June.  New students entering grades six and seven will be required to attend an additional two-week summer program in July. 
  • The School will provide instruction from 7:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Monday through Thursday.  Classes will conclude at 2:00 p.m. on Fridays to conduct professional development activities.
  • The School will provide 100 instructional minutes in literacy and math daily, twice the amount that is allotted in a traditional public school.
  • The school day is extended from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. for any student, including ELL and students with disabilities (SWD), who has not completed homework or has an average grade of below 70 percent in any core subject.
  • The School will provide mandatory teacher-led tutoring two Saturdays per month for any student in danger of failing more than one core subject.  Absences from the Saturday Academy will be treated as any absence during the regular school week.  SACS will provide alternative instruction to students whose religious beliefs conflict with Saturday programming.
  • Saturday Academy will also provide voluntary enrichment to students who are at or above grade level. 
  • The School will contract with Atair Aerospace for technology-based visits and support lessons in its Saturday Academy.



  • The number of Trustees shall not be fewer than seven (7) and shall not exceed thirteen (13).
  • Trustees will be elected to serve terms of two years and may be re-elected for up to four terms.
  • In addition to the annual Board of Trustees meeting, which is held in the last quarter of the fiscal year, there will be ten regular meetings throughout the year.  
  • The Board of Trustees will form committees such as Finance, Executive/Governance, Facilities and Academic.
  • The officers of the Board of Trustees will be a Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer.


  • The School will serve 100 students in grade six in the first year of instruction and will grow to 444 students in grades six through ten in its fifth year of instruction.   
  • By Year 5, the School anticipates enrolling 100 students in grade six, 100 in grade seven, 90 in grade eight, 81 in grade nine, and 73 in grade 10 (accounting for attrition).  Each grade will be divided into four classes, with a 17:1 student to teacher ratio in Year 1. 
  • In an effort to provide students with a minimum of six years of seamless instruction, the School will admit new applicants in grades six and seven only.
  • SACS will use multimedia resources to publicize the School, as well as speak to parents individually and in groups at communities of faith, community centers, and recreational facilities.  The School will partner with the local school district to distribute as many applications as possible in the target and neighboring communities.  All brochures and applications will be translated into Spanish and other languages as needed. 
  • The School’s recruitment plan includes strategies to reach out to all families living in the community school district, including those with children classified as ELL and SWD. 
  • In an effort to recruit ELL and SWD applicants, School personnel will volunteer time with a community-based organization in order to be in the position to effectively reach out to that population.  SACS personnel will also make contact with organizations and individuals whose mission is to support and assist such children.
  • The School anticipates the ages of students enrolled in grades six through 10 will range between 11 and 15.
  • The School expects the student body to reflect the population of the Red Hook community: 51 percent African-American; 44 percent Hispanic; four percent White, one percent Asian or Other; 15 percent ELL; 10 percent SWD; 95 percent eligible for free/reduced lunch.



  • The School plans to lease space from an existing New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) school facility at an annual cost of one dollar.
  • In the event that NYCDOE space is not available, the School has identified three buildings located in Brooklyn.  These facilities have appropriate space for opening in August 2009.
  • The School’s anticipated Year One revenue will be $2,391,661 and will grow to $6,654,491 in Year Five. 
  • During the start-up period (January 2009 – July 2009) the School has a conditional commitment of a $230,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation.  The School also anticipates that its Trustees will raise $200,000 in contributions during the start-up period.
  • The budget anticipates total expenses of $2,007,996 in Year One and $6,463,969 in Year Five.
  • The School anticipates an ending fund balance of $383,665 at the end of Year One and $190,552 at the end of Year Five.
  • The School will allocate $25,000 per year, for three years, towards a dissolution fund.  By Year Three the fund will have deposits of $75,000.
  • The School will seek the State Stimulus Grant and the Charter Schools Program Planning and Implementation Grant. 
  • 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

Summit Academy Charter School

(New York City – CSD 15 – Brooklyn)

2009-10 through 2013-14

School Year

Number of Students

Projected Payment*

Projected Impact



$ 1,203,739




$ 2,515,815




$ 3,812,088




$ 5,096,302




$ 6,373,537


* 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.
  • In Year One, the work of the executive director will be supported by a middle school principal, dean of student life, director of finance and operations, director of learning supports, and office manager.  In Year Two, a part-time secretary will be added to the staff.  In Year Three, a dean of curriculum and instruction, director of development, and part-time bookkeeper will be added to the staff.  In Year Four, the dean of curriculum and instruction will become the high school principal, and a grant writer will be added to the staff.
  • The School will employ the following instructional staff in its first year of instruction: six classroom teachers (24 in Year Five); and one special education coordinator/teacher (five in Year Five).
  • The director of learning support will be New York State certified in Special Education.
  • Teachers will receive three weeks of professional development in the summer prior to school opening.  Teachers will also receive six full days of professional development during the school year. 
  • Teachers will be allowed three annual visits to high performing urban schools to observe best practices.  Teachers will participate in a mentoring program, and the Principal will observe classrooms once every two weeks followed by constructive feedback to teachers. 
  • Each Friday, students will be dismissed at 2:00 p.m. to allow staff three hours of time to review assessment scores and create appropriate action plans, and to discuss specific students and departmental items.


Community Support

  • The School provided the names of 205 parents who have expressed interest in SACS.  Eighty of these parents have children that will be eligible to be enrolled in the sixth grade for the 2009-2010 school year.
  • The School has received support from the following community leaders, foundations, and community organizations: The Council of Urban Professionals, Bethel Baptist Church, Calvary Baptist Church, Atair Aerospace, Police Athletic League, Order of Eastern Stars, Little Gym, and Red Hook East and West Tenants Associations.


Public Opinion

  • The New York City Department of Education sent a letter and posted the notice on its website, notifying the public and independent schools in Community School District 15 of the proposed application for Summit Academy Charter School and inviting comments for the public hearing. 
  • The public hearing was held on July 8, 2008; no comments were received.