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 It has therefore been withdrawn from consideration.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.

AG Letitia James speaks at in-person 5th grade graduation in Brooklyn
New York Attorney General Letitia James spoke at an in-person graduation for fifth graders at Community Partnership Charter School Thursday. Derrick Dunlap, the principal of the school, says the past year was tough for students and staff. He says it was relief when they were able to go back in person this year.
Brooklyn Emerging Leaders Academy sends first ever graduating class off to college

And the high school seniors are off! But not without some swag.

Brooklyn Emerging Leaders Academy (BELA) Charter School, an all-girls high school on Stuyvesant Avenue, held a “college shower” on Monday for their seniors, the first graduating class in the school’s history.

Read the story on Patch.com

Tiempo: Entire senior class at International Leadership Charter High School accepted into college

Plus, the entire senior class at a high school in the Bronx got accepted into college.

Ninety percent of those students are Latino and so many of those students represent the first generation in their family to attend college.

The school, the International Leadership Charter High School, was one of the first re-open during the pandemic.

Joe talks to CEO Dr. Elaine Ruiz Lopez and senior students Joel Beltre and Briana Molina about how they persevered and their formula for success.

Watch the full interview at ABC 7 (starts at 11:54).

New Roots recognized nationally as Green Ribbon school

Ithaca’s New Roots Charter School has been deemed a Green Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, celebrating its “school curriculum, culture and practices.” New Roots is one of just 33 schools chosen for the honor nationwide.

Read the full story on the Ithaca Voice.

Learning pods now helping vulnerable students at Ascend

“Like many New York City charter schools, Brooklyn’s Ascend network started off the year fully remote. But just a few months in, it became clear: Remote learning wasn’t working for certain students.

Attendance dipped, and teachers struggled to reach students at the network’s K-12 schools. Many of the children come from some of the poorest neighborhoods in Central Brooklyn, and some live in vulnerable housing situations. They needed a safe, supervised place for effective virtual schooling.

“We have students in transitional home situations, and we have students who really needed an optimal learning space,” said Ania-Lisa Etienne, a teacher at Brownsville Ascend Middle School, one of the charter’s 15 schools.

School leaders heard the feedback from teachers like Etienne, and by November decided to change tracks…”

Read the full story on Chalkbeat.

‘More Great Seats for Kids’ Newsletter: Reflecting on Renewal

Dear School Leader,

Yesterday marked a pandemic milestone for SUNY charters with the SUNY Charter Schools Committee voting to renew six additional schools, putting a cap on a renewal season unlike any we have ever experienced. March 10, 2020 was the last time the Charter Schools Committee met in person. A year later? Thirty-one renewals accomplished. I know it’s a truth that charter leaders only read the renewal reports for THEIR schools (because you have children to teach!), but a read through this year’s renewal reports provides a litany of how great schools respond in a pandemic.  Thousands of hours getting out devices, learning kits, books, food and supports to whole communities. Setting up testing opportunities. Transitioning from remote, to hybrid…to remote…to hybrid.  If you did watch the Committee meeting yesterday, you saw just how moved the Trustees and the Institute team are by all you have done, all you keep doing, to change lives for the good.


‘More Great Seats for Kids’ Newsletter: Parent Perspective on Reopening

Dear School Leader,

labThroughout this past year we’ve talked at length about (and celebrated) the herculean efforts by our school leaders to ensure continuity of learning amid a historic crisis. The transition to remote learning last spring. Technology and meal distribution. Reopening plans. New health and safety practices. Flexibility in the face of rolling mandated school closures, ever changing rules and regs and so, so much uncertainty.

What we haven’t touched upon enough though to this point is how all these efforts are being reflected in the perceptions of those parents and student communities we serve. Through the parent and student focus groups held this charter renewal season though we are starting to get a glimpse – and they offer critical insights for where we can go from here. Four big themes:

  • A Successful Transition to Remote/Hybrid: Despite the immense challenges presented last spring after New York went on PAUSE and schools closed, parents of students throughout our renewal schools expressed satisfaction generally in how quickly schools were able to distribute technology and other devices, deliver meals, and adapt their in person instruction to a virtual environment. City School of the Arts parents cited how the schools provided students with materials, including pianos (!) to ensure they could continue arts education remotely.