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News + Views

Charter Heads to Cobble Hill

By Lisa M. Collins

 

Success Academy Charter School announced it is planning to open a public charter school in Cobble Hill for the 2012-2013 school year. The charter school chain, with schools in Harlem and on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, says it’ll start with a kindergarten and first grade consisting of 190 children and grow by one grade each year. Eventually, the school would serve kindergarten through eighth grade.

Success Academy is also planning a charter elementary in Williamsburg.

“One look at all the strollers on Court Street and Bedford Street provide all the proof you need that both Cobble Hill and Williamsburg have gone through a true baby boom in recent years,” said Eva Moskowitz, Founder and CEO of the Success Academies. “While these neighborhoods do indeed have some good schools, they’re quickly filling up, and we’ve repeatedly heard from parents that they’re worried that their kids won’t have good school options. Success Academy Cobble Hill and Success Academy Williamsburg will give parents another great public school option.”

More than 1,500 residents in District 15 signed a petition requesting that a Success Academy come to the neighborhood.

A location for the school, called Success Academy Cobble Hill, has not been determined, but according to the school’s announcement there will be a co-location with an existing school, and the search for a location – headed by the city Department of Education — will occur this year—and will likely be difficult.

A “public charter” gets the same amount of per-student money from the city Department of Education as a regular public school, but it’s administration falls under the oversight of whatever state organization technically “charters” the school.

The announcement comes as two of the area’s popular elementaries are bursting this year. At PS 29 in Cobble Hill, on Henry Street, the enrollment of kindergartners boomed this year. The principal had to pull a magic rabit out of her hat to create a sixth kindergarten classroom after the five classes were bulging with 29 and 30 students, above the 25 student allowed limit. A total of 681 kids attend the school, according to insideschools.org, putting it very near capacity.

At PS 58, there are seven kindergarten classes, and 793 students attend the pre-k to 5th grades, putting the school at more than 100 percent of its capacity this year (the school ha more than doubled in size in five years).

A story in the New York Times suggested that there’s available room in the building shared by the Math and Science Exploratory School and Brooklyn High School of the Arts.

Applications to the new charter school will be available in mid-October (the school websites will launch by October 17th at www.cobblehill.successacademies.org and www.williamsburg.successacademies.org).

For more information about Success Academies, visit www.successacademies.org.

 

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Readers' Comments


Jim Devor
October 9, 2011
12:40 PM

As usual, the “reporter” follows her own narrative – this time by essentially retyping Success Charter’s press release. Indeed, even though the story was already over a day old by the time it was written about here,no attempt to independently ascertain the facts was apparently made.

Just as an example, there was NO application ever filed (never mind approved) by Success Academy to open a Charter School in District 15. Rather, its application was for a school in District 13 (where there is both greater demand AND physical capacity). After being approved for that District it has then been fraudulently “piggy backed” onto D15.

Likewise, it truly boggles the mind to believe that overcrowding in D15 can be relieved – not by actually building new capacity – but instead, by co-locating a Charter School in an already existing public school space. To the extent that individual local schools in the northern part of D15 are overcrowded, that problem can (and should) be solved by prudent rezoning of “catchment areas”.

    Lisa M. Collins
    October 9, 2011
    2:19 PM

    Dear Jim,
    You are right, we didn’t have much time to dig into the background on this yet, but we fully plan to!! Wanted to help get the news out there for our readers. I fully expect to do independent reporting on this story, so expect a call!! I will look up the application as well.
    Thanks for the info, talk to you soon,
    Lisa