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Successful Charter School Practices

Highlighted Charter Schools:

Equality Charter School

Equality Charter School (ECS), founded in 2009, is located in the Bronx, with a middle school in Co-Op City and a high school in Castle Hill.  The ECS mission is, “To ensure each scholar reaches individual academic and personal success through a nurturing scholar-centered approach.” Equality enrolls the majority of its students in the middle school years, and is committed to serving all students, with a 25% preference for students with disabilities (SWD) and a 10% preference for ELL students. Equality has more than doubled their ELL population in the past year.

 ECS believes that all students deserve the opportunity to a quality education, so they welcome students regardless of their incoming test scores, credits accumulated, IEP criteria, or behavioral profile. Not only do they take all comers, they do not counsel challenging students out, and they backfill for every open seat, even for high school seniors.  ECS 6th graders enter school with real problems:  80% are eligible for FRPL; 60% are below grade level in math, and 70% are below grade level in reading. Despite the challenges presented by incoming students, ECS is able to move students to proficiency, with an overall high school graduation rate of 85%, a 63% graduation rate for SWD, and 23% of students graduating with an advanced Regents Diploma—all of which exceed the New York City average. 

ECS achieves these results by focusing on individual academic growth, building a link between the academic environment and the world of work, and addressing social-emotional needs that lead to increased confidence and positive self-image. In addition, Equality stresses career planning in high school, providing: Career and Literacy Course that helps students with academic and personal goal setting;  an annual College Fair and Career Day;  Peer 2 Peer Tutoring where Equality pays accomplished ECS students to tutor classmates who need help;  a Work Experience Program for students with disabilities; and an Internship Program for students to develop positive work behaviors while building relationships within their communities. ECS students say it best: To them, ECS is about nurturing; it’s about love. To hear a sample of ECS scholars' voices, watch this video.

Neighborhood Charter School of Harlem

Neighborhood CS of Harlem (NCSH) is being recognized for their innovative work with students on the autism spectrum. Approximately 30% of the students they enroll have a disability and approximately half of those students, 15% of total student population, are on the autism spectrum. A multidisciplinary approach, and strong emphasis on literacy intervention, small group instruction, and socio-emotional development enhances the experience for all students through the use of a data driven approach with team-based collaboration. NCSH is one of the highest performing charter school in New York. Watch a short video on the successful key elements of this school.

Urban Dove Team Charter Schools

Urban Dove Team engages and educates a particularly high-risk youth population - overage/under-credited students who are ages 15-16 and have no more than 8 credits after attending 9th grade at least once. UD Team serves students who often don't qualify for other transfer high schools because they are too young, have too few credits, and/or are too far below grade level in reading and math. UD Team also does not require an in-person interview, making it one of the only transfer schools with a "Zero Reject Policy". UD Team works with high schools to identify students who are off-track and struggling and for whom a fresh start may be their best chance for success.

UD Team utilizes a Sports-Based Youth Development (SBYD) framework that supports and informs every aspect of both our school design, and our students’ daily experience. When students enter UD Team, they are placed on a same-gender team with a dedicated coach. This team and its coach moves as a unit throughout the school, so a student is never lost. Each day the coach leads the team in 2-3 hours of sports and fitness activities, and accompanies the team to every academic class. This daily experience allows the coach to know team members extremely well, and to engage each UD Team student in critical life-skills development that build social and emotional strength. Their core principle is that ‘disengaged’ students are not solely in need of extreme academic interventions, but are in need of extreme developmental interventions as well.

Urban Dove currently operates two schools: UD Team Brooklyn, and UD Team II Bronx. UD Team Brooklyn is in its seventh year, and UD Team II Bronx school is in its first year. To date, UD team has been able to double graduation and college enrollment rates for their students, and they look forward to continued improvement. A short video on Urban Dove's successful key elements can be found here.

West Buffalo Charter School

West Buffalo Charter School represents a rich mosaic of diversity by enrolling a high number of English as a New Language learners, Students with Disabilities, and those considered economically disadvantaged in grades K-8.  WBCS offers a well-rounded program providing authentic learning experiences that address the needs of all types of learners both academically and social-emotionally.  It prides itself on a family-friendly, warm, welcoming environment allowing them to establish and maintain mutually respectful relationships with all key stakeholders.  These relationships coupled with high expectations and solid instructional approaches serving the whole-child, result in WBCS continually yielding positive student outcomes.

Through data-driven, differentiated learning tasks, aligned to the Common Core Learning Standards, WBCS is able to provide small group targeted instruction for both at-risk students and those that require higher level enriching opportunities.  Using the gradual release model of instruction, teachers scaffold rigorous learning experiences on a daily basis to ensure all students maximize their learning potential.  Teachers have the option to differentiate based on the content, the process, or the product that students will produce.  This instruction is possible due to small class sizes, capped at 20 students for grades K-4 and 25 students for grades 5-8, and a high teacher-to-student ratio with at least two educators assigned to every classroom. To learn more, please view a short video, which can be found here.

Profiles Highlighting NYS Charter Schools' Successful Practices:

Successful Practice Resources:

School Turnaround:

COVID-19 RESPONSE: High Dosage Tutoring to Accelerate Student Learning 

Four Domains for Significant and Sustainable Charter School Improvement: A Systems Framework for the Charter Context 

A Strategic Approach to School Improvement Using the Four Domains: A Webinar for Charter School Leaders 

Don’t Stop Improving: A Strategic Approach to School Improvement Using the Four Domains: A Webinar for SEAs and Independent Chartering Boards