Hearing set for 2 new charter schools

August 11, 2012 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Two new charter schools are in line to open in Brooklyn, and parents and others are invited to weigh in at a public hearing to be held on Aug. 21.

The hearing will take place at the Prospect Heights Campus at 883 Classon Ave. at 6 p.m. Anyone wishing to comment should sign up at 5:30 p.m.

Community First Academy Charter School and Unity Preparatory Charter School of Brooklyn have applied to open in District 13, one of the lowest performing districts in the city.

District 13’s neighborhoods include Bedford Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, Downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights. Most District 13 students enter high school well below grade level. In 2010, only one quarter of the district’s middle schoolers demonstrated proficiency on the state English and math exams.

Community First Academy is looking to eventually open two schools in the area: one in Bedford-Stuyvesant and another in Clinton Hill. Backed by the non-profit Community First Services, Inc., they will be targeting some of Brooklyn’s neediest kids and will offer individual counseling, family support, mentoring and skills-training. While originally aiming towards middle schoolers, the city says they now plan to serve 726 kids from kindergarten through 10th grade.

Unity Prep wants to open in Fort Greene. Its website says that rather than overemphasizing test prep, the school plans a “rigorous liberal arts and sciences education bolstered by engaging co-curriculars and meaningful exposures.” The curriculum will include AP courses and courses at local universities, along with the YES! program which offers skills like meditation and breathing techniques to manage stress. The city says Unity Prep will serve 590 students in grades six through 10.

Both schools hope to open in the fall of 2013.

While the two organizations are going through the approval process in District 13, their final destination is not set in stone. Last year a Success Academy Charter School filed to open in District 13 but diverted to well-off Cobble Hill after receiving approval. The Success Academy Network has several other Brooklyn applications in the works, and while locations have been mentioned, there is no word on their actual destination.
Written comments will also be collected on the day of the hearing and can be submitted via email to: [email protected].

More at the State Education Department: www.p12.nysed.gov/psc/

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