Founded by the United Federation of Teachers, the UFT Charter School is committed to closing the achievement gap and creating a school “built on democratic principles of respect, tolerance, and liberty so that students will also become practitioners of democracy and civic responsibility.” The school exemplifies the original vision of a charter school model as conceived by Albert Shanker, former UFT and AFT President.
This model includes a collaborative labor-management relationship that respects teachers’ voices. The school works to achieve its mission through 14 central elements: 1. balancing human resources with curriculum and school culture; 2. high-quality teachers (gained by economic and material incentives); 3. democratic governance; 4. professional development; 5. National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification; 6. three parent seats on school board of trustees; 7. family-school partnership; 8. CREST core values (community, respect, excellence, scholarship, trustworthiness); 9. a dress code; 10. high academic expectations;
11. academic-based after school program (run by a community based organization); 12. two teachers per classroom; 13. intensive focus on literacy, numeracy, and early intervention; and 14. “Habits for Thought” – Analysis, Breadth of perspective, Connection, Discourse, and Evidence.
The school is also committed to encouraging parental involvement, including classroom volunteers and board representation. Further, all teachers will attain New York State certification. The curriculum at UFT Elementary includes the Trophies/Trofeos Program, Everyday Math, Harcourt Science, Harcourt Horizon Social Studies, arts, family and consumer sciences, physical education, career development and technology. The school administers the Terra Nova, DIBELS, the State assessments, and Everyday Math assessments together with internal assessments and portfolios to keep track of student progress.