Explore Charter School
BROOKLYN NY 11226 Map
Explore Charter School
Explore Charter School styles itself as a back-to-basics, college-prep charter, with a low-key and warm atmosphere. Like many charter schools, Explore relocated during its early years. Now among the oldest operating charter schools in the city, few of its students and teachers remember the disruption caused by its 2004 move from downtown Brooklyn to the Flatbush neighborhood. In fall 2011, the full-grown school again relocated, to the MS 2 building [shown in this Brooklyn Eagle photo] a mile away.
Classes of 16 to 22 students are aided by a handful of staff members who work with small groups of students on the side to support academics or resolve behavior issues. Teachers use uniform gestures and expressions to keep students focused on learning. Several times we heard, "SLANT check-in: 3-2-1,"; or some variant. (The acronym stands for "Sit up, listen, ask and answer, nod for understanding, and track the speaker.") The day runs from 8:20 a.m to 3:45 p.m for lower-school students; older students start at 7:45 a.m. The school divides the year into five terms, sending a report card home every eight weeks.
These structures helped 74 percent of students pass the state English tests in 2009. To further increase the success rate, the school has started using reading tests from Achievement Network, whose coaches work with teachers four times a year to create plans for specific students. "It's something we've done with math for a long time and hadn't found a way to do with literacy," says Tracy Rebe, principal at the time of our 2011 visit. [In 2012, Tracy Rebe was replaced by Rod Bowen.]
In K-4 classes, students were engaged in math, reading, and social studies lessons. For a class newspaper project, a 4th-grade class split into groups to draft articles on an aspect of the Revolutionary War. When some students' attention strayed, teachers were generally able to draw them back, but some teachers let more noise bubble in the classroom than would be acceptable at some other "no excuses" charter schools. A 5th and 6th grade English class on metaphors had some students less than engaged, as they sat on the rug.
Upper-school classrooms have SMARTboards. Students use computers almost exclusively in the library, said librarian Mark Engel.
Parents praised the school's frequent reports and notices, its strictness on rules, and the energy of the staff; 10 of 11 parents had high praise for the school. The teaching staff is ethnically more diverse than at some other network-supported charter schools. All staff must respond to parent messages within 24 hours.
Afterschool: For K-4, a handful of neighborhood after-care programs pick up at the school. The upper-school students stay for tutoring and clubs that include glee, flag football, basketball, running, and cooking.
Special Education: The school provides SETSS services to 17 percent of students.
Admissions: Lottery, District 17 preference. (Matt Fleischer Black, March 2011)
At a glance
Number of Students 529
Average Daily Attendance 96%
Safety & vibe
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?39% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average kindergarten classNA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average fifth grade classNA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average middle school english classNA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?49% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?NA 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam
Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam
Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam
Percent of 8th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam
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?
This school NULL self-contained classes.
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:NA 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
This school NULL team teaching (ict).
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:0% 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:0% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:0% 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:0% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many parents say students with disabilities are included in all activities?
How many teachers say students with special needs are educated in the least restrictive environment appropriate?
How many parents of students with ieps say this school offers a wide enough variety of services and activities for their children’s needs?