Skip to main content

Meeting of the Board of Regents | September 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009 - 9:20am

sed seal                                                                                                 










Carole Huxley


Charter Schools: Proposed Charter for New York French-American Charter School



September 11, 2009



Goals 1 and 2




Issue for Decision


Should the Regents approve and issue the proposed charter for New York French-American Charter School (New York City)?


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 New York French-American Charter School (“the School”).   The School will open in September 2010.  Initially, the School will serve 150 students in grades K-2 and grow to serve 300 students in grades K-5 in its fifth year of operation.  The School's mission is “to develop global citizens who are well-prepared to assume leadership in a multicultural society.”     


The School does not have a management partner.  Based on the application, the School will provide an extended day with instruction from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for 180 days per academic year.  The School will have a dual language program for all students, who will be taught all subject areas in French and English.    


The New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) held a public hearing in Community School District 5 on February 12, 2009 regarding this proposed charter application.  There were nine written comments in support of the proposed school were submitted.    


  Additional information concerning this initial application may also be found on the Board of Regents website at




              VOTED: That the Board of Regents approves and issues the charter of the New York French-American 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 September 14, 2014.


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. 


Timetable for Implementation


The Regents action for the New York French-American Charter School is effective immediately.























New York State Education Department


Summary of Proposed Charter


Name of Proposed Charter School: New York French-American Charter School (NYFACS or “the School”)


Address:  TBD


Applicant(s): Katrine Watkins


Anticipated Opening Date: September 1, 2010


District of Location: New York City Community School District (CSD) 5, Manhattan


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: Planning Year

2010-2011: K-2

2011-2012: K-3

2012-2013: K-4

2013-2014: K-5


Projected Enrollment:         2009-2010: Planning Year

2010-2011: 150

2011-2012: 200

2012-2013: 250

2013-2014: 300


Proposed Charter Highlights




              Katrine Watkins is the lead applicant and the proposed principal of the School.  She has held several academic leadership positions including the academic director of the Special Education School of Paris, assistant director of the French-American Bilingual School of San Francisco, founder and co-director of the French-American School of New York (FASNY, a bilingual, bicultural school of over 800 students), founder and director of the American Academy, Casablanca (a trilingual school in Morocco), and Director of the Al Akhawayn School of Ifrane, Morocco, a trilingual American-style school.  She holds a French secondary teaching certificate in California and an elementary teaching certificate in New York.  Ms. Watkins received a higher education diploma from the University of Paris; she has a Bachelor of Arts in French from the University of California, and a Master of Arts in French from San Francisco University.

Institutional Partner




Management Partner






  • The School will provide a bilingual program, in which instruction will be offered in both English and French throughout the day, in each subject area. 
  • The School will model itself after the French-American School of New York (FASNY), which combines the French and American educational systems.  The FASNY is a private, bilingual and bicultural school that serves more than 800 students in nursery through grade 12. The School’s educational program is based on this model. 
  • Key program elements for the School will be to provide a bilingual and bicultural education, in both French and English, to promote academic excellence, personal development and appreciation for diverse cultures. 
  • The School will provide instruction in each subject in the seven general curriculum areas.  The proposed curriculum is aligned to all 28 New York State (NYS) learning standards.
  • The School will use various textbooks to support its curriculum, which include Great Source Education Group, Harcourt, Steck-Vaughn for English and English as a second language (ESL) and McGraw Hill for math, social studies and science. 
  • The School will administer assessments to identify students’ academic and language levels and needs.  Additionally, teachers will use curricular unit assessments in all four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  • The School will conduct periodic internal assessments in the core subject areas to assist in differentiating instruction and providing additional support to students as needed.
  • In addition to the mandated state exams under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the School intends to administer a norm-referenced assessment in reading and math, such as Iowa Test of Basic Skills.
  • The School will assess student progress toward achieving goals through several interim assessments on an on-going basis: Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) for grades K-6, New York State ESL Assessment Test (NYSESLAT), EduSoft reading assessment, French Language Assessment, Language Assessment Battery – Revised (LAB-R) and other internal assessments in French and English. 
  • The School asserts it 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 intends to prepare students for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program as well as the advanced Regents degree.  The School will be eligible to apply for the IB program once it has begun serving middle level students. 
  • The School will employ a structured immersion strategy to help English Language Learners (ELL) students achieve proficiency in the English and French language.  The extended instructional day will offer additional opportunities for ELL students to acquire proficiency and all students will be offered tutoring, homework help, sports and/or cultural projects.    
  • The School will provide an extended instructional day from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. 
  • The School proposes a 180-day school year from September to the end of June.
  • Over the course of the school year, the School students will have had 270 additional school hours as compared to students attending New York City public schools.  This equates to nearly 54 additional school days.
  • Students in need of extra help will receive an additional 50 minutes daily (from 4:30 p.m. – 5:20 p.m.) of instructional time in a voluntary after-school program.




  • The number of Trustees shall not be fewer than 11 and shall not exceed 15.
  • Trustees will initially serve in staggered classes for one three-year term.  After one year off the board, trustees may be re-elected to serve two terms for a maximum of six years.  Parent Trustees are appointed for only two-year terms.
  • No more than 40 percent of trustees will be affiliated with the School as a compensated employee or contractor. 
  • No more than 40 percent of trustees will be affiliated with or any other single entity; and such persons will not serve as chair or treasurer of the Board.
  • Regular meetings of the Board of Trustees shall be held five times throughout the year.
  • The initial committees of the Board of Trustees shall be: the Executive, Finance, Legal, Principal/Leadership Review, Board Development and Facilities.
  • The officers of the board of trustees are chair, secretary, and treasurer.




  • The School will use Year One as a planning year.
  • The School will serve 150 students in grade K-2 in the first year of instruction and will grow to 300 students in grades K-5 in Year Five.   
  • The School will enroll 50 students per grade in Year One. 
  • The School anticipates a class size of 25 students.  Each class will have a French language teacher.  The student to teacher ratio will be 16:1. 
  • The School will reach out to the community and nearby districts with information sessions to be held at locations within the community.
  • The School will advertise in community newspapers and make enrollment information available via the School’s website; additionally the School will distribute flyers, brochures and applications to elementary schools, community and social service organizations, children service organizations and communities of faith.
  • The School’s recruitment plan includes strategies to advertise widely to families from the community school district, including ELL and students with disabilities (SWD).
  • The School anticipates the ages of students enrolled in grades K-5 will range between five and 11.
  • The School expects to serve a diverse group of students with various home languages. 
  • Initially, the School will enroll new students in kindergarten, first and second grade only.  In subsequent years, it will enroll new students for all grades to avoid attrition.
  • The School reports that it anticipates the student body to be reflective of the anticipated languages spoken at home comparable to students in CSD 5: 20 percent French-speaking only; 40 percent English-speaking only; and 10 percent Spanish-speaking only.  However, it is expected that 30 percent will be from dual language speaking homes, including French, English, Haitian French, Woulof, Bambara, and other West African languages.




  • The School is pursuing alternatives to conventional lease/purchase arrangements that include securing under-utilized New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) space, and partnerships with other school-facilities organizations. 
  • Viable private facilities have not been identified to date.  The School has developed realistic, conservative budgets to support entering into private lease agreements.
  • The School’s Year Two revenue is anticipated at $2,053,632 and will grow to $3,994,814 in Year Five. 
  • The School projects expenses of $1,853,241 in Year Two and $3,991,300 in Year Five.
  • The School anticipates no philanthropic contributions over the term of the charter.
  • The School expects to carry forward a cash balance of $14,750 from the start-up budget.
  • The School intends to establish a reserve account of no less than $75,000 by the end of Year Three. 
  • The School will seek a Charter Schools Program (CSP) Planning and Implementation grant.  The School does not anticipate receiving a New York City Start-up Grant.
  • The School ensures that it will perform all programmatic and fiscal audits annually as required by the New York State Charter Schools Act, in accordance with auditing standards and Government Auditing Standards issued by the Comptroller General of the United States.
  • 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

New York French-American Charter School

(New York City – CSD5 – Manhattan)

2009-10 through 2013-14

School Year

Number of Students

Projected Payment*

Projected Impact





















*Assumes a 3 percent annual increase in the District’s budget from the base of $17 billion in 2008-2009; and a 4.5 percent annual increase in the average expense per pupil per year from the 2009-2010 rate of $12,443.




  • The School will be led by a principal. 
  • The work of the principal will be supported by an operations manager and an administrative assistant, both of whom will be hired during the planning year.
  • The School will employ the following staff in its first year of instruction: 9.5 classroom teachers (18.5 in Year Five), six of which will be French language arts teachers (9 in Year Five); 1 special education coordinator/teacher (2 in Year Five); a part-time Fine Arts teacher in Year Three through Year Five, and 6 instructional aides in Year Two through Five.
  • The special education teacher will be New York State certified in special education.
  • In addition, the School will employ a social worker/counselor (part-time in Year Two and Three, and full-time thereafter).
  • Teachers will have three meeting periods each week to meet with other teachers of the same students and/or subject area to allow over two hours a week of focused professional development (PD).
  • Staff will receive an eight-day PD session in August prior to school opening.  Additionally, teachers will have bi-annual PD days (in October and March)
  • Teachers are given one-year contracts for the first two years.  Thereafter, teachers are offered two-year contracts based on performance. 
  • As an incentive to teach at the School, teachers who are not proficient in French will be offered free French language classes taught by the School’s French language teachers and/or volunteer student teachers from New York University and Columbia University.  


Community Support


  • The School provided over 155 signatures of parents with children eligible for enrollment to satisfy its target enrollment.
  • The School has received 26 letters of support.  These letters were from community leaders, foundations, and community organizations such as Congressman Charles Rangel – 15th Congressional District; Robert Jackson – 7th City Council District; Mr. W. Franc Perry, Chairman of Community Board 10; the Organisation International de La Francophonie; the Embassy of France to the United States; the Delegate General for the Quebec Government House; French Education in New York; the Senegalese Association in America; the Association des Freres Ivoiriens en Amerique; the President of the Association of Togolese in the USA; the United Malian Women Association; the Malian Association of New York; the African Communications Network; Societe des Professeurs Francais et Francophones d’ Amerique; the French Institute Alliance Francaise; the Harlem Business Alliance; the New Song Community Corporation; the Algerian-American National Association; the Calyon Credit Agricole; the TCW Group, Inc.; Felix Augustin - the Consulate General for the Republic of Haiti; and the Mano a Mano: Mexican Culture Without Borders.  Additionally, letters were provided from professors from NYU Steinhardt, Columbia University and the City College of New York.


Public Opinion


  • The NYC DOE sent a letter and posted the notice on its website, notifying the public and independent schools of the proposed application. 
  • The public hearing was held on February 12, 2009.  Nine written comments in support of the school were submitted,