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Meeting of the Board of Regents | July 2009

Monday, July 27, 2009 - 11:00pm

sed seal                                                                                                 







Johanna Duncan-Poitier


Charter Schools: Proposed Revision to the Initial Charter for Harlem Success Academy Charter School 2



July 27, 2009


Goals 1 and 2






Issue for Decision


Should the Regents approve the staff’s recommendation concerning the proposed revision to the initial charter for Harlem Success Academy Charter School 2 (New York City)?


Background Information


We received a request from the Trustees of the State University of New York (SUNY) to revise the initial charter for Harlem Success Academy Charter School 2 (HSA2 or “the School”).  The School is located in Community School District (CSD) 5, in the Harlem section of Manhattan.  The School seeks the following revisions: to create a “developmental kindergarten” program, change its admissions policy, modify its enrollment configuration (see Attachment 1), alter its design to serve at-risk students defined as students who attend or zoned to attend a failing school, and obtain a waiver from the Charter School Act §2854(3)(b-1).

The School seeks approval to allow students that turn four years of age by August 1st to be admitted to the School.  Student placement would be based on a test of developmental maturity rather than age.  After admittance students would be assessed during the summer.  As per §2854(3)(b-1)(ii), SUNY can provide a waiver for up to 10 charters issued.  The School seeks to have an at-risk preference to students who attend or are zoned to attend a failing school in any CSD.  The School seeks to enroll 136 kindergarten students in academic year 2009-2010, which includes 36 students in developmental kindergarten with a class size of 18 students.  Each class would have a lead teacher and an assistant teacher.  The School would continue to have four regular kindergarten classes with 25 students each, with one lead teacher and one assistant teacher. There are also two teacher aides for kindergarten.  The School proposes an increase in enrollment with 361 students in grades developmental K-2 in Year Two and 673 students in grades developmental K-5 in Year Five.  Additional information and data concerning this proposed revision can be found on the Regents website: .


Staff has determined that the program described:

  • Constitutes a pre-kindergarten program based on the selected vendor created curriculum (Success For All, Inc.’s Curiosity Corner for literacy), which is not aligned with the New York State (NYS) kindergarten English language arts standards and performance indicators.
  • States that creating a developmental kindergarten program “will prepare students for [HSA] regular kindergarten program.”  The goal of the developmental kindergarten is not to prepare most students for the first grade but rather to advance to kindergarten the next year.
  • Offers students in the developmental kindergarten a school day that is shorter than that provided to students in the regular kindergarten.


The New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) held a public hearing in CSD 5 on Friday, January 16, 2009 regarding this proposed revision for the School.  NYC DOE submitted three written and 18 verbal comments supporting the revision. 




              VOTED: That the Board of Regents return the proposed revisions to the initial charter of the Harlem Success Academy Charter School 2 to the Trustees of the State University of New York for reconsideration, and with the following comments and recommendations: 1) That the charter school ensure that the program is a kindergarten program, and revise the curriculum to align to New York State’s kindergarten standards; 2) That the charter school ensure the admission only of students eligible to attend kindergarten; and 3) That the charter school understand that State Aid is only available for kindergarten, not pre-kindergarten.


Timetable for Implementation


The Regents action for Harlem Success Academy Charter School 2 will be effective immediately.