Parents interested in charter schools should fill out applications before April 1. We have posted more than a dozen new reviews of charter schools and will post more this spring. You may apply directly to the school. In addition, you may apply to some of the schools via a common application on The New York Charter School Center website. Children are admitted by lotteries held in April, if there are more applicants than spaces available.
Next fall 16 new charter schools will open (see our list at the bottom of the post), fewer than the 31 which opened in 2010. It's a diverse group of charters including several from established networks, and others which branch out into new territory: A Montessori School will open in the Bronx for kids learning to speak English; Broome Street Academy, a high school affiliated with The Door, will target homeless and disadvantaged teens. We'll post a full list and previews of all the schools before the application deadline.
Charter schools are a mixed bag: some are orderly, cheerful places that offer children exciting new opportunities, while others struggle with basics like discipline. Some are better than ordinary neighborhood public schools, while others are no better -- or even worse. Many have a longer-than-average school day and have classes over the summer.
See links to our latest reviews, and the names of the new schools, after the jump.
DREAM Charter School , an East Harlem elementary school, combines a family-friendly atmosphere with firm discipline and challenging academics. St. HOPE Leadership Academy Charter School is a middle school in central Harlem that focuses on personal attention and tough love.
Many charter schools operate under the premise that teachers’ unions are a barrier to good education. But Green Dot New York Charter High School is out to prove that well-paid, unionized teachers, when treated like professionals and protected from capricious firings, are fundamental to students’ success.
Equality Charter School in Co-Op city had uneven discipline the day we visited; the principal was fired a few weeks after our visit.
New Visions for Public Schools, a nonprofit which has long worked with public schools, is opening two charter high schools in the JFK building, each with a different focus: New Visions Charter School for Advanced Math and Science and New Vision Charter School for Humanities. Note that application deadline for these schools is April 8. (Eighth-graders may apply online).
At PAVE Academy School, an elementary school in Red Hook, a highly structured day keeps the kids busy and engaged. Children learn Spanish as well as English at La Cima Charter School, an elementary school in Bedford Stuyvesant. It has a no-nonsense atmosphere but also some time for play.
Ethical Community Charter School in Bedford Stuyvesant draws on the philosophy of the private Ethical Culture Fieldston School. It uses progressive teaching techniques and focuses on building character while encouraging children to ask questions and become thoughtful citizens.
Children are respectful and engaged at Coney Island Preparatory Charter School, an elementary school where students move through the halls in silent, single-file lines.
Teachers at Fahari Charter, a middle school in Flatbush, are still working on developing techniques to control their classes.
Brooklyn Ascend Charter and Brownsville Ascend Charter are nearly identical elementary schools that share a new building in Brownsville. They are highly structured no-excuses schools with a long school day.
Some charter schools have been criticized for failing to serve children with special needs. But Lavelle Charter School, a middle school which will grow to include high school grades, has worked hard to integrate children with a range of disabilities into regular classes.
Here's a list of new charter schools opening in 2011. We'll add more information and links as we get them.
1. Brooklyn City Preparatory Charter School (Brooklyn, District 13)
2. Broome Street Academy Charter High School (Manhattan, District 2)
3. Democracy Prep Charter School 3 (Manhattan, District 5)
4. East Harlem Scholars' Academy (Manhattan, District 4)
6. Icahn 5 (Bronx, District 11)
8. Invictus Preparatory Charter School
9. New York City Montessori Charter School (Bronx, District 7)
10. Mott Hall Charter School (Bronx)
11. New Visions Charter High School for Humanities (Bronx, District 10)
12. New Visions Charter High School for Advanced Math & Science (Bronx, District 10)
13. Our World Neighborhood Charter School 2 /Academy of the City (Queens, District 30)
14. Upper West Success Academy (Manhattan, District 3)
15. Brooklyn Success Academy 1 (Brooklyn, District 14)
16. Teaching Firms of America Professional Preparatory Charter School (Brooklyn, District 16