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Meeting of the Board of Regents | December 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 - 9:00am

sed seal                                                                                                 







John B. King, Jr.


Charter Schools: Proposed Charter for Rochdale Early Advantage Charter School


December 8, 2009


Goals 1 and 2




Issue for Decision

Should the Regents approve and issue the proposed charter for Rochdale Early Advantage 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 Rochdale Early Advantage Charter School (“the School”).   The School will open on September 6, 2010.  Initially, the School will serve 68 students in grades K and one and grow to serve 238 students in grades K through five in its fifth year of operation.  The School's mission is “to provide an early college preparatory program serving students from kindergarten through grade five.  REACS is committed to a balanced multi-literacy approach, educating each student to stand out from the crowd intellectually, historical-culturally, digitally, economically, physically, artistically, and civically, in an increasingly diverse and fast changing global society.  Driven by the principles of purpose, passion and proficiency, Rochdale Early Advantage Charter School will offer each student a challenging, college-bound education that develops character and critical thinking ability infused with family and social values to support lifelong learning, leadership and productive citizenship.”  

The School does not have a management partner.  The School will provide instruction from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for 183 days per academic year. 

The New York City Department of Education held a public hearing in CSD 28 on July 27, 2009 regarding this proposed charter application.  No comments were made or 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 Rochdale Early Advantage 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 Rochdale Early Advantage Charter School is effective immediately.










New York State Education Department

Summary of Proposed Charter

Name of Proposed Charter School: Rochdale Early Advantage Charter School (REACS or “the School”)

Address:  TBD

Applicant(s): Sylvia Fairclough-Leslie

Anticipated Opening Date: September 6, 2010

District of Location: New York City Community School District 28, Queens


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

2012-2013: K-3

2013-2014: K-4

2014-2015: K-5


Projected Enrollment:         2010-2011: 68

2011-2012: 102

2012-2013: 136

2013-2014: 187

2014-2015: 238


Proposed Charter Highlights


              Sylvia Fairclough-Leslie has been an educator for twelve years in the New York City Public School system.  Ms. Leslie is currently the assistant principal at P.S. 268 in Brooklyn, NY.  She holds two Masters’ degrees in educational leadership and technology and reading (whole language).  The application states that she is committed to academic achievement and has worked in her current position to help turn P.S. 268 around from a “School in Need of Improvement” to a school in “Good Standing.”  Ms. Leslie has been named the principal designee for the Rochdale Early Advantage Charter School. 

Institutional Partner


Management Partner





  • The School states that it will be an elementary school that promotes a sense of democracy and diversity while engaging students in active community service.
  • Students who speak English as a second language and special education students will benefit from instruction within inclusive classes where differentiated instruction will be incorporated to meet individualized goals.
  • 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 use Literacy by Design and Everyday Mathematics as instructional curriculum design tools.
  • REACS will be characterized by the use of the Core Knowledge program and classrooms will demonstrate rigorous standards-based education that utilizes research proven methods of instruction.
  • The School will administer assessments to assess student progress, identify student needs and tailor instruction to address the needs. The School will employ multiple assessments such as baseline, standardized, and student self-assessments.
  • The School will assess student progress towards achieving pre-determined goals through several school-developed interim assessments; the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) for lower grades; Early Childhood Literacy Assessment System (ECLAS2); Literacy by Design; and, Rigby Reads Diagnostic Assessment.
  • The School asserts it will use assessment data to inform teaching and learning. 
  • The School will employ a structured immersion strategy to help English language learners (ELL) achieve proficiency in the English language. 
  • 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.
  • The School proposes a 183-day school year from September to the end of June.
  • The School will provide instruction from 7:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. from Monday through Friday. 




  • The number of Trustees shall not be fewer than five and shall not exceed 15.
  • Trustees will be elected to serve three year terms for a maximum of two consecutive three year terms.  Previous board members shall be re-eligible for membership after a lapse of three years.
  • No more than 40 percent of trustees will be affiliated with the School as a compensated employee or contractor; or are affiliated with any single organization.
  • Members of the proposed board possess experience in management, recruiting, operational and financial development.
  • Regular meetings of the Board of Trustees shall be held six times throughout the year.
  • The initial committees of the Board of Trustees shall be executive, finance, academic, governance and development.
  • The officers of the board of trustees are chair, vice chair, secretary, and treasurer.




  • The School will serve 68 students in grade K-1 in Year One and will grow to serve 238 students in grades K through five in Year Five.   
  • The School anticipates the ages of students enrolled in grades K-5 will range between four and 10 years old.
  • The School anticipates a class size of 17 students.  Each class will have one teacher.  The student to teacher ratio will be 17:1. 
  • During the first three years of the initial charter the School will enroll two kindergarten classes each year.  In the remaining two years of the initial charter the School will increase kindergarten enrollment to three kindergarten classes each year.
  • The School’s recruitment plan includes strategies to advertise widely to families in the Community School District, including ELL and Students with Disabilities (SWD).
  • The School will serve students of diverse backgrounds and talents who will contribute to a community that values mutual respect and cooperation. 
  • The School expects the student body to reflect the population of the target community, which in 2009 was: 85 percent Black; 9 percent Hispanic; 3 percent Asian or Other; and 3 percent White.







  • The School is pursuing a space to lease from the New Jerusalem Baptist Church in Rochdale Village, NY, for the first three years of the proposed charter.  During this time the proposed board of trustees will identify space where the School can grow to its full approved capacity.
  • The School’s Year One revenue will be $1,281,563 and will grow to $3,398,618 in Year Five. 
  • The School expects to carry forward a cash balance of $25,000 from the Year One budget.
  • The Year One budget anticipates total expenses of $1,082,091 with $2,623,383 by Year Five.
  • The School anticipates an ending fund balance of $25,000 at the end of Year One and $75,000 at the end of Year Five.
  • The School intends to use $25,000 per year towards its dissolution fund, starting in Year One through Year three.
  • 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

Rochdale Early Advantage Charter School

(New York City – CSD 28 – Queens)

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 $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 business and operations manager, special education coordinator and a literacy specialist.
  • The School will employ the following staff in its first year of instruction: four classroom teachers (six in Year Five); one special education coordinator (one in Year Five); one English second language teacher (one 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 registered nurse beginning in Year One and a full-time guidance counselor beginning in Year Four of the initial charter.
  • In Year One, staff will receive training in Mel Levine’s Schools Attuned program which is designed to give students, parents, caregivers and educators a better understanding of differences in neurological learning processes.
  • Staff will receive one week of professional development one week prior to the opening of school.


Community Support


  • The School provided 70 signatures of parents with children eligible for enrollment to satisfy its target enrollment.
  • The School has received support from the following community leaders, foundations, and community organizations: Gregory W. Meeks – 6th Assembly District; Honorable Thomas White Jr.-28thDistrict; Leroy Comrie- 27th Council District; and the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica.


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 28 of the proposed application for Rochdale Early Advantage Charter School and inviting comments for the public hearing. 
  • The public hearing was held in CSD 28 on Monday, July 27, 2009.  No public comments were made or received.