The Renaissance Charter School

An Insideschools pick
An Insideschools pick for Special Education
35-59 81ST STREET
QUEENS NY 11372 Map
Phone: (718) 803-0060
Website: Click here
Admissions: Lottery/District 30 priority
Principal: Stacey Gauthier
Neighborhood: Jackson Heights
District:30
Grade range: PK-12
Unzoned
Charter School

What's special:

Small, close-knit k-12 school community

The downside:

No outside space, long waitlist

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

A progressive school serving children in grades K-12, Renaissance Charter offers a family-like environment with plenty of projects and class trips. Students seem happy: on our visit we saw some of the younger students skipping cheerfully down the halls.

Quirky kids are welcome, and Renaissance has a long history of integrating children with special needs in regular classes. High-achieving kids may do advanced work while children who are struggling get the help they need. Students with emotional problems or physical handicaps get plenty of support. “Kids who are different are accepted,” said Principal Stacey Gauthier, whose own children attended Renaissance.

Class trips and projects allow students to learn and to show their understanding in a variety of ways. For instance, students who have trouble reading a science textbook may learn about geology through a trip to the Sterling Hill Mining Museum. The school’s small size allows teachers and staff to provide individual attention. Homework and classroom assignments may be modified depending on the needs of individual students.

Teachers of all grade levels integrate lessons about New York City into their classes, using the city and surrounding areas as a learning lab. Children in grades 4-6 took a five-day trip to Nature’s Classroom on Lake George where they learned about environmental science and reenacted scenes from the Underground Railroad.

Many classes integrate the arts. For example, 9th graders wrote short plays and composed songs to understand the historical context of current events. While Renaissance is a small school and cannot offer the wide variety of classes that a larger high school can, it does offer electives such as agriculture and Mandarin Chinese. Advanced Placement classes are offered in Human Geography, Spanish Language, Spanish Literature, and Calculus.

The school’s weeklong celebration of learning called “Rensizzle” (named for Dr. Joseph Renzulli, the director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented) exemplifies the school’s hands-on, project-based teaching style. In preparation for Rensizzle, students in grades 7-12 write proposals of classes they would like to take during that week—ranging from culinary arts to robotics to animal care—and then during the week of Rensizzle, traditional classes are cancelled as students work in mixed-age groups to explore the topic they voted on through field trips to places such as the Bronx Zoo, the Tenement Museum, or the Brooklyn Bridge.

Extracurricular activities include sports, such as soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, and volleyball; student government; Teens for Racial and Ethnic Awakening; robotics; chess; and band among others. The school has no outdoor space, but it does have an indoor playground.

Special education: The school accommodates children with a wide range of disabilities, including autism, dyslexia, visual impairment, and emotional and physical handicaps. Students with special needs are fully integrated into general education classrooms, many of which have two teachers. They participate in all elements of student life, from student government to the National Honors Society.

The principal is particularly sensitive to learning differences: her own son, who has dyslexia, graduated from Renaissance, went to a selective liberal arts college and applied to law school. Children with autism, including some served by District 75, have gone on to colleges such as Pace University.’

Many of the high school teachers are dually certified in special education and another subject. Additionally, the school also has reading specialists, an ESL teacher, a certified social worker, and paraprofessionals.

All students, including those with special needs, may get extra help at the school’s Learning Center, staffed by teachers and paraprofessionals who help students with their homework. Students also receive after school help with their homework and tutoring through a partnership with 82nd Street Academics.

College admissions: Students in grades 9-12 participate in the College Bound Program, in which they take college prep courses and chart a four-year plan to establish a career plan and an academic and community involvement portfolio to prepare them for career and college options. Starting in their junior year, students may also take college classes at Queens College. Nearly all students are accepted into colleges, including CUNY and SUNY colleges and some very selective schools like Wellesley and Barnard.

Admissions: Renaissance accepts one incoming kindergarten and 5th-grade class each year. There is one class per grade in K-4 and two per grade in 5-12. Priority is given first to siblings of enrolled students and then to residents of District 30. Available seats are awarded by lottery. Some seats may be available in grades 1-4, 6-8, 9-12. Applications for these grades are automatically wait listed and will be considered only if openings occur; however, the waitlist is generally over 1,000 students long. (Pauline Zaldonis, November 2012)

K-8 InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building

Number of Students 545

Average Daily Attendance 96%

Students at this school

Asian

  
20%

Black

  
12%

Hispanic

  
54%

White

  
13%

Free Lunch

  
40%

Special ed

  
14%

English Language Learners

  
7%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

12% 20% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

94% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average kindergarten class

NA 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

NA 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average middle school english class

NA 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

86% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

94% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

7% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

88% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

89% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

89% 86% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam

38% 30% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ela exam

28% 26% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 science exam

89% 83% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 science exam

89% 60% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 8th grades pass high school regents exams?

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

39% 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

63% 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the 2013 school survey?

63% 61% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents say they attended at least one pta meeting in the 2012-2013 school year?

72% 70% 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 2012-2013 school year?

74% 70% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

97% 92% 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 2013 math exam:

NA 3% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

NA 1% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:

9% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

0% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam:

29% 10% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

43% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

76% 74% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 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?

84% 87% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

Percent of ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of former ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ELA exam:

NA 18% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

89% 89% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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