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Meeting of the Board of Regents | May 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 - 8:30am

sed seal                                                                                                 







Johanna Duncan-Poitier



Charter Schools: Proposed Second Renewal Charter for Williamsburg Charter High School



May 12, 2009


Goals 1 and 2





Issue for Decision


Should the Regents approve the staff’s recommendations concerning the proposed second renewal charter for Williamsburg Charter High School (New York City)?


Background Information


We received a request from the Chancellor of the city school district of the City of New York to approve and issue a second renewal charter for Williamsburg Charter High School (WCHS or “the School”) for a term to commence on July 28, 2009 and run through July 27, 2014.  An initial five-year charter was granted by the Board of Regents on February 23, 2004, and a short term renewal was granted by the Board of Regents on February 23, 2009, which will expire on July 27, 2009.  The following is a short summary of the information and data concerning WCHS.  Additional information can be found in the attachment.


  • WCHS is located in CSD 14, Brooklyn, and enrolls 650 students in grades 9-12.
  • WCHS proposes an enrollment of 944 students in grades 9-12 in each year of the five-year renewal.
  • Regents’ exam pass rates were generally strong in the first years of the School’s charter; however, as more students from several cohorts were tested, the pass rates decreased.
  • WCHS generally outperformed its CSD in earlier years in eight curricular areas, but more recently the School outperformed the CSD in five of the eight areas. 
  • The graduation requirements at WCHS are more rigorous than those in the rest of the city; students are required to pass four years of coursework in all core subject areas and three years of foreign language.  A passing grade at WCHS is 70 percent.
  • Through August 2008, WCHS had a four-year graduation rate of 68 percent.  This compares to a four-year graduation rate of 58 percent for schools citywide.
  • Forty-nine percent of WCHS graduates were awarded Regents or Advanced Regents diplomas.
  • WCHS reports that 85 percent of the students of the June 2008 graduating class are currently enrolled in four-year colleges.
  • WCHS reports that students of the June 2008 graduating class were accepted into 103 colleges and received a total of approximately 2 million dollars in financial aid and scholarships from those colleges.
  • The class of 2008, on a four-year timeline, has met or come close to meeting four of the School’s five stated five-year goals.  Student scores on all Regents’ exams are indicative of the School’s progress toward attaining its five-year goals. 
  • While the School meets the requirement that at least 70 percent of its teachers be certified, it exceeds the allowable number of five uncertified teachers.  The Chancellor has placed the School on Corrective Action to address the matter by the end of the 2008-09 school year.  The School has demonstrated progress toward this goal and is expected to complete its corrective actions prior to the start of the renewal period.
  • WCHS reports that it had 584 applications for 150 seats in the freshman class of 2008-2009.  The School’s current waiting list for all grades is 628 applicants.




VOTED:  That the Board of Regents approves and issues the second renewal charter of the Williamsburg Charter High School as proposed by the Chancellor of the city school district of the City of New York, and that its provisional charter be extended for a term up through and including July 27, 2014.


Reasons for Recommendation


(1) The charter school meets the requirements set out in Article 56 of the Education Law, and all other applicable laws, rules, and regulations; (2) the charter school has demonstrated the ability to operate in an educationally and fiscally sound manner; and (3) approving the proposed renewal 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 second renewal of the Williamsburg Charter High School’s charter will become effective on July 28, 2009.


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