Grand Concourse Academy Charter School • June 8, 2009
To a standing room only crowd of nearly 200 people Monday at the SUNY authorized Grand Concourse Academy Charter School in the Bronx, State University of New York Board Chairman Carl T. Hayden said, “SUNY authorized charter schools have posted stunning results on latest math and ELA exams, overall 92% of students scoring at proficiency in math, and 80% at proficiency in English language arts. There is no other educational enterprise anywhere in this state that came close to that record.”
The event marked the 10th anniversary of the creation of the SUNY Charter Schools Institute and honored four SUNY charter schools for earning the highest renewal offered by the Trustees.
Proclaiming the day “SUNY Charter Schools Day,” Governor David A. Paterson participated in the event by video message and issued a proclamation that was presented to Charter Schools Institute Executive Director Jonas S. Chartock by Chairman Hayden. “Whereas, the creation of the Institute, staffed by a group of dedicated and gifted educators, has been the catalyst for a unique authorizing model that, from day one, has placed the highest priority on the needs of children and, during its ten year existence, the Charter Schools Institute has in close consultation with the Trustees’ Charter Schools Committee, developed fair, effective, and sound policies and practices which have garnered national recognition…”
Hayden added that, “The foundation upon which we build the future of SUNY authorized charter schools is very strong indeed. That is not to say that we won’t face challenges, from budgetary challenges to questions about the value of having multiple authorizers in the state, but I am confident that these are storms we will weather, because first and foremost we do our job exceedingly well. We will do even more to tell our story, we will do more and better analyses, and where we find problems we will meet them head on.”
Hayden noted the attendance of the SUNY Chancellor and several SUNY Trustees in the audience and expressed the commitment of the SUNY Board to working with the Institute and with all SUNY authorized charter schools to meet challenges and new opportunities.
Newly appointed SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, “I bring you my personal, and on behalf of the State University of New York, institutional congratulations for your very fine work. The most powerful thing we can do for the United States of America and this world is to educate every young person, that’s the key, it always will be and always has been. I want to congratulate the SUNY Charter Schools Institute on its tenth anniversary, I am so proud to have them in the SUNY portfolio.”
Nelson Smith, President of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools said, “When I travel around the country and people ask me ‘what does a charter school authorizer do?’ I tell them to look at SUNY. In the SUNY Charter Schools Institute you will find the best professional practice in this field, in this country.”
In describing the role of the authorizer, Smith said, “What happened in New York State was the Charter Schools Institute was created, created as a body that would have the freedom to actually interpret the law in the right way. To develop a very rigorous system for new school approvals so that not every school would get through but only those that showed real promise, and by creating an accountability system that involved not just looking at random test scores but actually going to schools and understanding what their mission is, and building a renewal process that recognized all of those elements and really setting a high bar. The Charter Schools Institute is not only a blessing to the student and teachers in the schools that were created as a result of these practices, but is a national leader in its field.”
Smith cited SUNY as a resource in meeting the expectations of President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “As a movement, the 4,600 charter schools across the country have to ask how do we grow to meet the expectations that the President and Secretary of Education have for us, and I would say come and take a look at New York State,” added Smith. “Because what has already happened in New York is that we have a movement that has become healthy and that had grown with excellence, especially when you look at the record of the schools chartered by SUNY.”
Notably, at nearly the same time as SUNY’s event was happening in New York City, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and his staff hosted a conference call on race for the top funding with education reporters from across the country. Dean Kern, Director of the Charter Schools Program for the United State's Department of Education cited SUNY as one of three authorizers in the country that are exemplars of quality authorizing ,“A couple examples of high quality authorizers that are taken seriously, closing down low-performing schools would be your state university system, SUNY, they have done an incredible job of holding their charter schools accountable and closing those that are not demonstrating results.”
In recognition of the fact that today’s students in SUNY authorized charter schools are the future students of SUNY colleges and universities, Maricruz Alvarado, one of the first alumna from Bronx Preparatory Charter School and now a rising sophomore at SUNY Oswego, spoke about how the nurturing environment of both schools had laid the foundation for her educational success.
Chairman Hayden presented former SUNY Board Vice Chairman Randy Daniels with the a plaque commemorating his 10 years of distinguished service and Co-Chair and then Chair of the Trustees Charter Schools Committee. In his remarks, Chairman Daniels called on all in the audience to remember their responsibility to this state’s children, “If you set the bar low for children, they will meet it. If you set the bar high for students they will meet it and exceed your expectations.”
Chartock explained that the PPRC will proactively provide timely high quality information and analysis to policymakers, thought leaders, and key stakeholders in New York State and across the nation. “The Institute's efforts through the PPRC will stem from the belief that the power of credible and unbiased information in the hands of key stakeholders can influence the quality of public school choice. The PPRC will coordinate outside research as well as take full advantage of its position within, and unique access to, the State University of New York's wealth of academic resources. We’ll focus on such topics as charter school finance, school networks, accountability, governance and leadership in charter schools.”
Download full press release here.
Download Governor Paterson's Proclamation declaring June 8, 2009 SUNY Charter Schools Day.
Quick Links to Event Photos of Honored Schools:
All photos by Joseph Putrock. To download, right-click with your mouse on <Download>
Governor Paterson Proclaims Monday June 8th SUNY Charter Schools Day
WHEREAS, all New Yorkers pay tribute to those who support charter schools in our State and we furthermore recognize teachers, staff, school leaders, parents and board members from SUNY authorized charter schools for their remarkable commitment to children; we especially applaud the Charter Schools Institute on its achievement of 10 years of quality service to students and its ongoing dedication to building upon existing strengths and exploring new opportunities so that the outstanding example provided by charter schools can be shared for the benefit of the greater educational community of this State;
Ark Community Charter School served 180 students in Kindergarten through 6th grade during the 2008-09 school year and will continue to do so during its next charter term. The Ark has outperformed the local school district and demographically similar schools statewide on the New York State Testing Program assessments in both English language arts and mathematics.
Bronx Charter School for Excellence served 300 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade during the 2008-09 school year and will continue to do so during its next charter term. Bronx Excellence outperformed the local district and demographically similar schools statewide on the New York State Testing Program assessments in both English language arts and mathematics. Of note, nearly 100 percent of the school's students scored at or above proficiency on the Mathematics exam.
Excellence Boys Charter School of Bedford Stuyvesant served 286 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade during the 2008-09 school year. The school plans to expand by one grade each each year and serve Kindergarten through 10th grade by the end of its second charter term. Each year, "Excellence Boys" has far outperformed its local community school district and demographically similar schools statewide. In 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09, one hundred percent of the school's students at Levels 3 & 4 scored at or above proficiency on on the New York State Testing Program assessment in Mathematics.
Grand Concourse Academy Charter School, located in the Bronx, served 376 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade during the 2008-09 school year and will continue to do so during its next charter term. The school has posted strong results on the New York State Assessments in both English language arts and mathematics and has been identified as a "rapidly improving school" according to the state's No Child Left Behind (NCLB) accountability system.
Fifteen additional SUNY authorized charter schools have earned full-term, five-year renewals without conditions.
At the Second Annual Renewal Recognition Ceremony, held on May 6, 2008 at the SUNY College of Optometry, the following six schools were honored:Bronx Charter School for Better Learning (Bronx); Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School (Brooklyn); Family Life Academy Charter School (Manhattan); Harlem Village Academy Charter School (Manhattan); King Center Charter School (Brooklyn); KIPP S.T.A.R. College Prep Charter School (Manhattan)