How Can Schools Know If Their Services and Supports Are Actually Driving Meaningful Student Learning? The ‘Active Ingredients’ Project Has Some Answers

“We have a partnership with a regional food bank,” a principal once told me on a school visit. “Each Friday, every eligible student gets a red backpack full of food for the weekend. … And when the parents show up (to refill the backpack each week), a reading specialist leads a 20-minute program on tactics for oral reading fluency and comprehension … and provides them with both a take home cheat sheet and additional materials.”

I was intrigued. This was an innovative approach to tackling food insecurity — a chronic problem in schools that serve economically disadvantaged students — but also to engaging parents in their children’s education. “What improvement in student reading are you seeing?” I asked.

Read the full op-ed on The 74…

The school that aspires to be a basketball factory – New York Times

From the moment Naimah Pearson heard there would be a new charter school in the Bronx focused on basketball, she wanted to go. She did not know much about Earl Monroe, the Hall of Fame player for whom the school is named, and was aware she would have a complicated, hourlong commute from the South Bronx to get there every day.

But a school centered on basketball, with a curriculum devoted to every aspect of the sport’s vast and growing ecosystem? That was surely for her, she told her parents. So she entered a lottery and won a spot in the first ninth-grade class at the Earl Monroe New Renaissance Basketball School, temporarily located in Pelham Bay.

Read the full story on the New York Times…

Icahn 3 Charter School Recognized with National Blue Ribbon
Three schools in the Bronx and Brooklyn were among the 325 recognized Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021.
According to the Department of Education, the recognition is “based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.”
Icahn Charter School 3 (Bronx), P.S. 249 Caton and The School for Future Leaders (Brooklyn) were among the 19 schools from New York on this year’s list.

Read full story on News 12 The Bronx…

Rebuilding the Future: New Tech, New School, New Year at Amber Charter Schools

Heidi Hamilton is the Chief Real Estate, Facilities, & Legal Officer for Amber Charter Schools in New York City. She joins podcast host Andrew Southern on this episode of Redesigning Normal to talk about how her organization handled the pandemic and how they hope to move forward.

Heidi discusses several COVID prevention measures, including collaborating with an architect to configure the buildings for social distancing and securing private testing (free testing was not available to charter schools)…

Listen to the podcast

‘More Great Seats for Kids’ Newsletter: Mitigating Missed Learning

By Susie Miller Carello 

Dear School Leader,

Last year was a monumental achievement. We know that. You, as leaders and as educators, did all you could in the wake of so much ambiguity, so much uncertainty, to maintain not just educational continuity but academic excellence.

But we also know the reality of the situation as we grapple with a third consecutive year of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity & ambiguity). This VUCA?  The disruption to instruction and learning (and ‘regular’ growing up too) have combined to leave students in many areas without predictable, consistent supports for academic success. The data is there. Missed learning and the social and emotional toll of the past year and a half is real. Students across the country, especially those from vulnerable populations, have experienced a significant setback in terms of both their academic achievement and SEL compared their counterparts from years past, in many cases by a substantial amount.

This year we will be tested on our ability to mitigate this missed learning among our own students and set them up for success this year and for the years to come.  It won’t be easy. But our experiences over the past year plus provide a roadmap.  (more…)

Temporary Waiver of Open Meetings Law Requirements

On September 1, 2021, the Legislature passed a temporary amendment to the Open Meetings Law as part of Chapter 417 of the Laws of 2021, which the Governor signed the next day.

Through January 15, 2022, the following rules apply to charter school education corporation board of trustees meetings:

  • Meeting must still be noticed in accordance with the Open Meetings Law but the notice does not have to include the location of every trustee who may be participating via videoconference or conference telephone.
  • The meeting notice must include how the public will be able to access the meeting via telephone or videoconference (weblink).
  • The meeting must be recorded, and later transcribed, with such transcription to be available through the N.Y. Freedom of Information Law.

As a best practice, the SUNY Charter Schools Institute recommends using a school site as a videoconference location for those who do not have computer or internet access.

Earl Monroe School in the Bronx designs academic curriculum around basketball

Earl Monroe New Renaissance School – a brand-new charter school in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx, has a curriculum built entirely around basketball.

Watch the video on News 12 Bronx.

A Plan from the Heart: How Genesee Community Charter School Brings a Systematic Approach to Whole Child Education

Genesee Community Charter School, located on the campus of the Rochester Museum & Science Center in Rochester, New York, exists to help a diverse student body to develop intellectual rigor, respect for diversity, and a sense of responsibility to the community — but it doesn’t just happen. To nurture all students to be reflective questioners, articulate communicators, critical thinkers, and skilled problem solvers, the school takes a systematic approach that marries the science of learning and development with the staff’s heartfelt dedication to its students.

Read the full case study published by the National Center for Learning Disabilities. 

2021 Proposals to Establish New Charter Schools – Round 2 Cycle

The SUNY Charter Schools Institute, on behalf of the State University of New York Board of Trustees (the “SUNY Trustees”), in its capacity as a charter authorizer, has received the following proposals to establish charter schools in response to the July cycle of the 2021 SUNY Request for Proposals (“RFP”) by the July 12, 2021 deadline. A proposed school’s appearance on the list below does not indicate the SUNY Trustees have approved or will approve the proposed school.

All information listed was reported by applicants at the time of submission and may change based on updated information. For further information on the public list, please contact Maureen Foley at (518) 445-4250 or maureen.foley@suny.edu. To provide comments on any pending applications, please email charters@suny.edu.

The Institute has reviewed the applications for completeness and quality. The following applications were complete and met the minimum eligibility requirements of the 2021 RFP:

The following application did not meet the minimum eligibility requirements of the 2021 RFP. It has therefore been withdrawn from consideration.

Open Meetings Law Update for June 29, 2021

With the expiration of the Governor’s executive orders related to COVID-19 on June 24, 2021, the remote meeting flexibility charter school boards of trustees have enjoyed with respect to the New York Open Meetings Law comes to an end.  Going forward, charter school trustees must:

  1. be physically present at the physical location listed in the board meeting notice; or,
  2. be present via videoconference at a location:
    1. listed in the meeting notice; and
    2. at which the public can attend.

Trustees will not count toward quorum or be able to vote if they only participate in the meeting by telephone.  Trustees will also not be able to participate via videoconference from home or work unless their home or work addresses are listed in the meeting notice and the public can enter their homes or work places to attend the meeting.

As a reminder, if a board streams its meetings over the internet or conducts them via videoconference like Zoom, the board must list the website address for the meeting in its public meeting notice per N.Y. Public Officers Law § 104(5).  Also, trustees not physically present at the meeting location, or present from a video location listed in the public meeting notice where the public can attend, may not vote on any matters before the board.

Please contact the Institute with any questions.