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Meeting of the Board of Regents | December 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - 11:00pm

sed seal                                                                                                 







John B. King, Jr.


Charter Schools: Proposed Charter for Staten Island Community Charter School


December 8, 2009


Goals 1 and 2





Issue for Decision

Should the Regents approve and issue the proposed charter for Staten Island Community 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 Staten Island Community Charter School (“the School”).  The School will open in September 2010.  Initially, the School will serve 100 students in grades K–1 and grow to serve 300 students in grades K–5 in its fifth year of operation.  The School's mission is to provide an exemplary K–5 “education program for students on the North Shore of Staten Island, a program designed to produce a community of smart, responsible, creative citizens.  All students will master New York State Learning Standards and graduate ready to attend college preparatory high schools.  The School will hold expectations high and inspire student achievement by cultivating close relationships between the school administration, students, teachers and parents.”  

The School does not have a management partner.  The School will provide instruction from 7:50 a.m – 3:45 p.m., Monday – Friday for 180 days per academic year.

The New York City Department of Education held a public hearing in CSD 31 on August 3, 2009 regarding this proposed charter application.  There were 48 individuals in attendance at the hearing, with overwhelming support for the application.  Three written comments of support were also received.

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 Staten Island Community 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 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 Staten Island Community Charter School is effective immediately.










New York State Education Department

Summary of Proposed Charter

Name of Proposed Charter School:  Staten Island Community Charter School (SICCS or “the School”)

Address:  TBD

Applicant(s):  Ellen Icolari and Tina Sher

Anticipated Opening Date:  September 13, 2010

District of Location:  New York City Community School District 31, Staten Island


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

Institutional Partner(s):  N/A

Management Partner(s):   N/A

Grades Served:                      2010-2011:  K-1

2011-2012:  K-2

2011-2013:  K-3

2013-2014:  K-4

2014-2015:  K-5


Projected Enrollment:         2010-2011:  100

2011-2012:  150

2012-2013:  200

2013-2014:  250

2014-2015:  300


Proposed Charter Highlights


              Ellen Icolari is a consultant on multicultural education and school conflict resolution with over 30 years of experience in urban education in K – 12 schools.  She has worked for the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) as a special education teacher, professional developer and director of the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP).  As a Fulbright-Hays scholar, Ms. Icolari participated in summer seminars abroad in Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa.  She also participated in the 2000 United Nations forum on women and children’s rights and contributed to a position paper that made conflict resolution and multicultural education integral to school curricula throughout the Netherlands.  Ms. Icolari has served as an adjunct professor at St. John’s University and Long Island University.  She holds a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude from Medgar Evers College; a master of education degree from Columbia Teachers College in family and community education; and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Bank Street College.

              Tina Sher, a corporate communications design specialist who maintains her own design practice, has worked for more than 20 years as an art director for J. P. Morgan, Ernst and Young, Oppenheimer Management and Time Warner Corporation.  Most recently, Ms. Sher held a leadership position at Imagine 360 Marketing, a firm serving financial and technology clients.  Ms. Sher was the parent coordinator of a Staten Island K – 5 elementary school with a Title I population of 1200 students.  She created parent workshops, promoted parent involvement and produced community-building multicultural events.  Ms. Sher also coordinated Spanish, math, social studies and English as a second language (ESL) classes for immigrant parents in conjunction with private and public sponsors.  She has served as a regular substitute teacher in the K – 12 visual arts program at Friends Seminary, Manhattan.  Ms. Sher serves on the Staten Island Ballet’s fundraising steering committee and volunteers for LOVE (Leave Out Violence), an anti-violence youth organization.  She hosted the first Learning Leaders Staten Island Immigrant Fair.  Ms. Sher holds a Master of Arts degree in visual arts from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in design and fine arts from State University of New York (SUNY) College at Buffalo.

Institutional Partner


Management Partner





  • The School reports that in CSD 31, from 2006 through 2009, 45 percent of third graders demonstrated mastery in the New York State (NYS) ELA exam; and 74 percent of third graders demonstrated mastery in the NYS Math exam.  SICCS plans to increase student performance results to at least 80 percent student proficiency on both NYS assessments for all students.
  • The School will adopt the Yale School Development Plan (Comer Model) that supports collaboration through a “three team” organizing structure that will guide the student-focused, collaborative model.  These three teams – the Academic Planning and Management Team, the Student and Staff Support Team and the Parent Team – will form the structure of a nurturing, child-centered learning environment in which all participants commit to cooperative relationships that support student achievement and well-being.
  • To satisfy a variety of student needs – including those of English language learners (ELL) and students with disabilities (SWD) – the School will employ a collaborative teaching model that will provide added support for high academic achievement, utilizing the skills of highly qualified, well-trained teachers. 
  • Teaching teams will consist of classroom teachers and learning specialists who will focus on skill acquisition, instructional development and ongoing student assessment – all tailored to the needs of the individual student.  Teachers will have common planning times and receive ongoing professional development opportunities.
  • The Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP) curriculum will be used to enhance classroom instruction and develop student social/emotional development. 
  • The key RCCP themes – cooperation, caring, communication, appreciation for diversity, recognition of feelings, responsible decision-making and non-violent conflict resolution – will be deeply woven into the School’s culture and curriculum.
  • An inquiry-based sequential arts curriculum will provide an imaginative learning approach to all subjects, to connect creative skills with cognitive learning.
  • The School will develop a relationship with the Lincoln Center Institute to support its commitment to rigorous arts instruction and the development of student imagination so that study in the arts will lead to positive relationships to academic subjects, attitudes and behaviors.
  • The School will provide instruction in each subject in the seven general curriculum areas and the proposed curriculum is aligned to all 28 New York State (NYS) learning standards. 
  • The School will administer internal assessments to identify entering student levels and needs, along with the Language Assessment Battery Revised (LAB-R) and the Fountas and Pinnell and Terra Nova assessments to establish a baseline at the beginning of each school year.
  • The Fountas and Pinnell assessments will be used a total of three times per year to assess a baseline and to measure student progress toward mastery in literacy skills.
  • The Terra Nova will be used twice per school year to establish a baseline and to measure progress relative to a nationally normed assessment.
  • Writing will be assessed three times during the school year using the Teachers’ College Narrative Assessment System with rubrics that are developed using the Teachers’ College Units of Study, and rubrics that are created with students to assess their own work and to learn how to improve their efforts.
  • The School will employ a principal with bilingual and ESL education qualifications, as well as a qualified ESL teacher.  The School will use a “push-in/pull-out” strategy to help ELL students achieve proficiency in the English language. 
  • The School proposes a 180-day academic year from September to the end of June.
  • The School will provide instruction from 7:50 a.m – 3:45 p.m., Monday –Tuesday and Thursday – Friday.  The students will be dismissed at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon to permit teachers to attend professional development activities.




  • The number of Trustees shall not be fewer than five and shall not exceed 11.
  • Trustees will be elected to serve a three-year term for an unlimited number of terms.  Parent Trustees are appointed for a one-year term unless their child leaves the School.
  • No more than 40 percent of trustees will be affiliated with the School as a compensated employee or contractor, or employed by 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 monthly throughout the school year.
  • The initial committees of the Board of Trustees shall be the executive committee, the finance and audit committee, and the educational accountability committee.
  • The officers of the board of trustees are chairperson, vice chairperson, secretary and treasurer.




  • The School will serve 100 students in grades K – 1 in Year One and will grow to serve 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 one teacher and one teaching assistant per class.  The student to teacher ratio will be about 13:1.
  • The School will reach out to the community and nearby districts with information sessions held at night and on weekends at the School and other 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 English language learners (ELL) and students with disabilities (SWD).
  • The School anticipates the ages of students enrolled in grades K – 5 will range between four and 11 years of age.
  • Initially, the School will enroll new students in kindergarten through first grade only.  In subsequent years, it will enroll new students to fill vacancies in grades 1 – 5, as in accordance with its admissions policy.
  • The School expects the student body to reflect the population of the target community, which in 2009 was 45 percent Black, 37 percent Hispanic, 12 percent White, five percent Asian, 23 percent SWD, 12 percent ELL, and, 75 percent of the area public school children participated in the federal free/reduced lunch program.




  • The School is pursuing alternatives to conventional lease/purchase arrangements that include securing unused parochial school space, and partnerships with other school-facilities organizations. 
  • The School is currently seeking a facility to house the proposed charter school. 
  • The School’s Year One revenue is $1,936,896 and will grow to $5,619,742 in Year Five. 
  • The School expects to carry forward a cash balance of $84,196 from the start-up budget.
  • The School’s budget anticipates Year One expenses of $1,777,200 Year Five expenses of $4,704,735.
  • The School anticipates an ending fund balance of $114,557 at the end of Year One and $915,007 at the end of Year Five.
  • The School intends to use $30,000 per year in both Year One and Year Two, and $10,000 in Year Three towards its dissolution fund of $70,000.
  • The School will seek State Stimulus Grant and the Charter Schools Program Planning and Implementation 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

Staten Island Community Charter School

(New York City – CSD 31 – Staten Island)

2010-11 through 2014-15

School Year

Number of Students

Projected Payment*

Projected Impact





















Assumes a 3 percent annual increase in the District’s budget from the base of $18.035 billion in 2010-2011; and a 3 percent annual increase in the average expense per pupil per year from the 2010-2011 rate of $12,819.



  • The School will be led by a principal. 
  • The work of the principal will be supported by a director of curriculum and instruction and a director of finance and operations.
  • The School will employ the following staff in its first year of instruction: four classroom teachers (12 in Year Five); four teaching assistants (12 in Year Five); one half-time arts teacher (full-time in Year Five), and one specialist each for math, science, physical education, Spanish, and English as a second language by Year Five.
  • The special education teacher will be New York State certified in Special Education.
  • In addition, the School will employ a bookkeeper, technology support manager, administrative assistant, nurse, custodian and security officer in Year One.  By Year Five, the School will also employ a fiscal manager, a second administrative assistant, an operations manager and a director of development marketing.
  • An early student dismissal on Wednesday of each week is planned to allow two hours a week of focused professional development.
  • Staff will receive 20 days of professional development in the summer prior to school opening.


Community Support


  • The School provided 152 signatures of parents with children eligible for enrollment to satisfy its target enrollment.
  • The School has received 31 letters of support from the following community leaders, foundations, museums and community organizations:  Michael E. McMahon (13th District Representative), Kenneth C. Mitchell (49th District City Council member), Matthew J. Titone (61st District Assemblyman), James P. Molinaro (Staten Island Borough President), the Council on the Arts and Humanities for Staten Island, Learning Leaders, the Chair of the Education Department for Wagner College, the Staten Island Historical Society, the Noble Maritime Museum and Study Center, City Access of New York, Staten Island Out Loud, Celebrating Real Family Life, Inc., the Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, and the Lincoln Center Institute.


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 CSD 31 of the proposed application for Staten Island Community Charter School and inviting comments for the public hearing. 
  • The New York City Department of Education held a public hearing in CSD 31 regarding this proposed charter application on August 3, 2009.  There were 48 individuals in attendance who expressed overwhelming support for the application.  Three written comments of support were also received.