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EMSC Committee



John B. King, Jr.


Charter Schools: Proposed Charter for Cultural Arts Academy Charter School at Spring Creek


February 5, 2010


Goals 1 and 2




Issue for Decision

Should the Regents approve and issue the proposed charter for Cultural Arts Academy Charter School at Spring Creek (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 Cultural Arts Academy Charter School at Spring Creek (“the School”).   The School will open in August 30, 2010.  Initially, the School will serve 120 students in grades K-1 and grow to serve 280 students in grades K-5 in its fifth year of operation.  The School's mission is “to provide an exemplary, K-12 college preparatory arts education program that promotes superior scholarship and strong cultural arts proficiency.”  

The School does not have a management partner.  The School will provide instruction from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. for 194 days per academic year.  The School intends to have a “student-centered learning community that excels in providing standards-driven instruction.”  

The New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) held a public hearing in Community School District 18 on February 4, 2010 regarding this proposed charter application.  Thirteen people attended the hearing. NYC DOE submitted three written comments that were supportive and reported that there were several verbal comments also in support of the proposed charter school. 

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 Cultural Arts Academy Charter School at Spring Creek 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 February 8, 2015.

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 Cultural Arts Academy Charter School at Spring Creek is effective immediately.











New York State Education Department

Summary of Proposed Charter

Name of Proposed Charter School:  Cultural Arts Academy Charter School at Spring Creek (CAACS or “the School”)

Address:  1400 Linden Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11212

Applicant:  Laurie B. Midgette

Anticipated Opening Date:  August 30, 2010

District of Location:  New York City Community School District 18, Brooklyn


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

Institutional Partner:  N/A

Management Partner:  N/A

Grades Served:                      2009-2010:  K-1

2010-2011:  K-2

2011-2012:  K-3

2012-2013:  K-4

2013-2014:  K-5


Projected Enrollment:         2009-2010:  120

2010-2011:  160

2011-2012:  200

2012-2013:  240

2013-2014:  280


Proposed Charter Highlights


              Laurie Midgette currently serves as the director of education at Christian Cultural Center.  She served as the principal of Prospect Heights High School and was responsible for leading the transition of Prospect Heights into a campus of small New Vision High Schools.  Prior to being a Principal, Ms. Midgette served as a teacher, articulation coordinator, special education house coordinator and assistant principal for English/ESL and Second Languages at Thomas Jefferson High School in East New York.  Ms. Midgette has received numerous awards for her service as an educator including the Peabody Award for Community Service in Education, the New York City (NYC) Board of Education and New York Newsday‘s NYC Teacher of the Year Award, and the Distinguished Teacher Award from the New York State African Studies Association. Ms. Midgette was inducted into the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education on October 19, 2009.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from SUNY Albany and Master of Arts degrees from Cornell University in Administration and Long Island University in Supervision.  She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Northcentral University – Center for Integrated Teacher Education.

Institutional Partner


Management Partner





  • The School will offer a cultural arts proficiency education that promotes scholarship and college preparedness.
  • The School will use Differentiated Learning (Shell Education), the Core Knowledge Sequence (integrating the Full Option Science System), Success For All (for its English language arts, reading and literacy), Saxon Math, Spotlight on Music Program from McMillan-McGraw-Hill, Pearson Learning: History and Geography Series, the Spark Physical Education Program and the Project Wisdom Character Education Program to support its instructional curriculum design tool.
  • The core elements of the curriculum are differentiation, cultural arts infusion and cooperative learning. 
  • Data-driven instruction will be the essential feature that will allow the teachers to address the individual needs of each student in meeting curriculum objectives.
  • 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 assessments to identify student levels and needs. 
  • In addition to the mandated state exams, the School intends to administer the Scantron Performance and Achievement Series, a web-based assessment program that allows teachers to develop and administer online and paper-based tests, capture immediate results, and produce standards-based reports. 
  • The School asserts it will use portfolio development for accountability and 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 will conduct periodic internal teacher generated curricular assessments in the core subject areas to assist in differentiating instruction and providing additional support to students as needed.
  • The School will employ a structured immersion strategy to help English Language Learners (ELL) students achieve proficiency in the English language using the Muzzy Second Language Acquisition Curriculum.  The extended instructional day will offer additional opportunities for ELL students to acquire proficiency.  
  • The School will provide instruction in music, dance, theater and visual arts through the arts infused program. 
  • The School proposes a 194-day school year from August to the end of June.
  • The School will provide instruction from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday, with an extended day from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. 
  • Students in need of extra help will receive 120 minutes of instructional time in the extended day program. 




  • The number of Trustees shall not be fewer than seven and shall not exceed nine.
  • Trustees will be elected to initially serve a one-year term.  Thereafter, each trustee will serve three-year terms.  Two trustee seats will be reserved for a parent of an enrolled student.
  • No more than 40 percent of trustees will be affiliated with the School as a compensated employee or contractor. 
  • Regular meetings of the Board of Trustees shall be held 10 times throughout the year.
  • The initial committees of the Board of Trustees shall be executive, educational and accountability, and finance.
  • The officers of the board of trustees are president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer.




  • The School will serve 120 students in grade K-1 in Year One and will grow to serve 280 students in grades K-5 in Year Five.   
  • The School will enroll 60 students per grade in each year. 
  • The School anticipates a class size of 20 students.  Each class will have one lead teacher and one teaching artist per class.  The student to teacher ratio will be 10:1. 
  • The School will conduct recruitment efforts to the community and nearby districts with information sessions 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, and children service organizations.
  • 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 five and eleven.
  • Initially, the School will enroll new students in K-1 grade only.  In subsequent years, it will enroll new students for kindergarten only.  To address attrition, the School will fill vacancies in grades K-5.
  • The School expects the student body to reflect the population of CSD 18, which according to the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) the enrollment data was: 83 percent Black, six percent Hispanic, 11 percent Other, two percent White, with six percent identified as ELL and 14 percent identified as SWD.  NYC DOE reported that 67 percent of the area public school children participated in the federal free/reduced lunch program.




  • In Year One, the School will enter into a five-year lease agreement with the Christian Cultural Center (CCC) to house the proposed charter school at 1400 Linden Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11212.  The facility is located in CSD 18.    
  • The School will share the building with Bedford Preparatory School, which is a subsidiary of CCC that operates an early education academy.
  • The School will occupy two floors for a total of 15,000 square feet.
  • The lease includes the option for the School to expand its space usage to a total of 28,000 square feet. 
  • The lease agreement includes that the School will not pay rent in Year One but will have a security deposit of $20,000. 
  • In subsequent years, the School will pay $240,000 in Year Two, $300,000 in Year Three, $360, 000 in Year Four, and $420,000 in Year Five.
  • The School expects to have a balanced budget.
  • The School’s Year One revenue will be $1,996,398, and will grow to $4,494,647 in Year Five. 
  • The Year One budget anticipates total expenses of $1,908,464 and by Year Five to equal $3,495,134.
  • The School anticipates an ending fund balance of $42,934 at the end of Year One and $559,513 at the end of Year Five.
  • The School anticipates a fundraising goal of $100,000 in Year One.
  • The School intends to use a total of $75,000 towards its dissolution fund within the first two years.
  • The School will also maintain a reserve fund of $80,000, which is a set aside of $20,000 each year from Year Two through Year Five. 
  • The School will not seek a Charter Schools Program (CSP) Planning and Implementation grant.  The School does anticipate receiving a New York City Start-up Grant for $97,920. 
  • 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

Cultural Arts Academy Charter School at Spring Creek

(New York City – CSD 18 – Brooklyn)

2010-11 through 2014-15

School Year

Number of Students

Projected Payment*

Projected Impact





















*Assumes no annual increase in the District’s budget from the base of $21 billion in 2010-2011; and no annual increase in the average expense per pupil per year from the 2010-2011 rate of $12,443.




  • The School will be led by a principal. 
  • The work of the principal will be supported by: a director of content and curriculum, a parent coordinator, a business/office manager, a secretary, and an administrative assistant.
  • The School will employ the following staff in its first year of instruction six classroom teachers (14 in Year Five); one special education coordinator/teacher (four teachers in Year Five); one ELL/language coordinator/teacher (three in Year Five); two teacher artists (three in Year Five); one physical education teacher (three in Year Five); and a part-time substitute teacher.
  • The special education teacher will be New York State certified in Special Education.
  • In addition, the School will employ a full-time social worker/counselor (two in Year Five).
  • The School will employ a security guard and a custodian in Year One (two in Year Five). 
  • Teachers will receive 20 days of professional development (PD) days throughout the school year.
  • Staff will participate in the Cultural Arts Academy Summer Institute for two weeks of PD prior to school opening.


Community Support


  • The School provided 165 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: Marty Markowitz – Brooklyn Borough President; John Sampson – 19th Senatorial District; and Martinbeck Enterprises.  In addition, an email correspondence from NYC DOE noted that its office received a phone message endorsement from New York State Senator Charles Schumer. 


Public Opinion


  • The NYC DOE sent a letter and posted the notice on its website, notifying the public and independent schools in CSD 18 of the proposed application for Cultural Arts Academy Charter School at Spring Creek and inviting comments for the public hearing. 
  • The NYC DOE held a public hearing in Community School District 18 on February 4, 2010 regarding this proposed charter application.  Thirteen people attended the hearing. NYC DOE submitted three written comments that were supportive and reported that there were several verbal comments also in support of the proposed charter school. 


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