The mission of East Harlem Scholars Academy Charter School is to provide East Harlem families with a comprehensive Kindergarten through 8th grade learning community that combines a rigorous academic curriculum with innovative extended day and extended year enrichment. East Harlem Scholars Academy will partner with the East Harlem Tutorial Program, which has been involved in the East Harlem community since 1958. The school will provide 195 days of instruction with a 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. school day. Each grade level will consist of two classes of approximately 25 students each in order to provide a small school environment that will support intensive and differentiated instruction.
East Harlem Scholars Academy's mission will be achieved by instituting the following key design elements:
- An intense focus on English language arts and mathematics. Daily English language arts instruction will be provided for 120 minutes including phonics, whole language instruction and a Readers and Writers Workshop. English language arts will be reinforced throughout the school day in other subjects, along with academic support and interventions related to student improvement in English language arts. Daily mathematics instruction will be provided for 90 minutes in order for students to be able to progress to algebra by the time they reach middle school, and to lay the groundwork for its graduates to pursue advanced mathematics in high school and college.
- A culture of “no excuses.” East Harlem Scholars Academy believes that every student can and must succeed. Every adult who works in the school will be held accountable for every student’s success.
- The hiring, training and retention of great teachers. East Harlem Scholars Academy believes that, above all, great teachers make the biggest difference in student learning.
- The use the extended day and year in order to provide a well-rounded curriculum. While academic success is the highest priority, all students will take visual and performing arts classes, as well as gym and wellness sessions, daily.
- Daily Spanish classes for all students. East Harlem Scholars Academy believes that a student who can speak and write well in multiple languages is better positioned for college admission and career success.
- Intensive academic support. For every 10 students in the school, there will be at least 1 adult.
- High quality space: By 2014, the school will permanently move to a new 65,000 square foot facility at 105th St. and Second Avenue.
- Plans to grow to serve students in Kindergarten through grade 8.
- The extensive use of technology, including smart boards and computers in every classroom, the expectation that teachers use online and other technology-based learning resources, and a focus on student growth in technology starting with keyboarding in Kindergarten and continuing with increasingly complex computer applications through the 5th grade.
- A focus on professional development and a leadership structure that includes both a principal who will be an instructional leader and a director of curriculum and instruction whose responsibility will be to support teachers in the classroom and to expand and strengthen their instructional capacity.
- The use of State assessment and other data to inform teaching and to support differentiated instruction.
- A focus on the whole child through the identification of student needs and learning styles and appropriate adjustment of instructional strategies, as well as the use of a staff social worker.
- Inclusion of parents and the community as part of the school’s culture, including a parent organization, the inclusion of parents and community members in ad hoc committees, and a focus on reaching out to parents and community members to participate in various activities at the school. The school will work proactively to establish a culture that appreciates and respects the cultural, ethnic, language and other diversities reflected in the school community.