Achievement First Crown Heights Charter School

790 EAST NEW YORK AVENUE
BROOKLYN NY 11203 Map
Phone: (718) 774-0762
Website: Click here
Admissions: Lottery; District 17 priority
Principal: Camilla Lopez/Gillette Eckler
Neighborhood: East Flatbush
District: 17
Grade range: K-8
Unzoned
Charter School

What's special:

Unwavering academic focus to prepare all students for college

The downside:

Strict discipline criticized by some parents

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Achievement First Crown Heights Charter School, part of a network of schools based in Connecticut, offers a highly structured program with tight discipline and a long school day. The school, which opened in 2005, now serves children in grades K-12 in two different locations. While many parents appreciate the structure and generally high test scores, others have objected to the discipline and complained of what they see as insufficient opportunities for parent involvement.

Students in grades K through 8 attend classes at 790 East New York Avenue. The building is shared with New Heights Middle School, which opened in 2012 as a replacement school for the Middle School of the Arts. The school adheres to the Achievement First model where students are expected to work hard--both the school day and school year are longer than usual. Classrooms and hallways are lined with posters and labels reminding students of what they have to do and how they should do it. "We are an extremely intentional organization," says Mel Ochoa, the network's senior director for marketing and communications. "Efficiency allows for more time to teach."

Although AF Crown Heights has generally exceeded test scores for the community district as a whole, it has not met its own goals. In 2011-12, only 38 percent of 8th graders scored proficient on their state English Language Arts exam.

Some parents have complained of what they saw as petty rules that resulted in about one in six middle school students being held after school every day, and a high suspension rate.  On its website, AF Crown Heights says it uses "fun incentive programs" to encourage good behavior. These include rewarding classes that have top homework completion and attendance rates with a party, and giving middle school students who complete their homework on time or come to school in the full uniform points to spend at the school store. The middle school principal is Gillette Eckler, a former teacher and dean at the school.

For grades 9 through 12, students attend Achievement First Brooklyn High School at 1485 Pacific Street, in a building shared with Uncommon Charter High School. The phone number is 718-363-2260. Paul Adler, a math teacher and former assistant principal at Brooklyn Preparatory High School, is the principal.

Every student there is expected to go on to college, and acceptance to a four-year college is a graduation requirement. On its website, Achievement First says it offers demanding academics through a longer school day and individual attention, as well as strict discipline. Its Regents pass rate exceeds the state average. All students must take AP US history and biology, and the school offers other AP classes as well. The school graduates its first class in 2013.

At all level, AF Crown Heights serves a largely African American, low-income student body. While the elementary school is evenly divided between boys and girls, by high school, according to the school's own figures, fewer than 40 percent of all students are male.

The school gets high marks for its environment based on its Learning Environment Survey, although only a small percentage of teachers and parents filled out the survey.

Special education: Achievement First says it provides team teaching and special education services at all of its schools.

Admission: By lottery. Most students enter in kindergarten or 1st grade, although Achievement First also holds a lottery for admission to the 5th grade. The schools select from their waiting lists to fill any vacancies in other grades. (Gail Robinson, website, interviews, June 2013)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the building with New Heights Middle School

Number of Students 1016

Average Daily Attendance 98%

Students at this school

Asian

  
0%

Black

  
95%

Hispanic

  
4%

White

  
0%

Free Lunch

  
73%

Special ed

  
13%

English Language Learners

  
0%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?

96% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average kindergarten class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average middle school english class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

89% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

NA 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

How many teachers say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep students engaged?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school does a good job teaching social-emotional skills?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school does a good job teaching organizational and study skills?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam

61% 40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam

46% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 8th grades pass high school regents exams?

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass the algebra regents:

0% 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass a science regents:

0% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the school survey?

50% 59% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents say they attended at least one pta meeting in the last school year?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Does the school encourage family involvement?

How many parents say they were invited to an event at the school at least 3 times in the last school year?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

14% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

14% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

13% 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

9% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

NA 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents say students with disabilities are included in all activities?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say students with special needs are educated in the least restrictive environment appropriate?

91% 91% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents of students with ieps say this school offers a wide enough variety of services and activities for their children’s needs?

75% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

Percent of ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

0% 3% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of former ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

0% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school ensures that ells receive the same curriculum as non-ells with appropriate suppports?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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