Brooklyn Ascend Charter Elementary School
BROOKLYN NY 11212 Map
Brooklyn Ascend Charter Elementary School
Ascend Learning is a growing charter network based in central Brooklyn that primarily serves students from low-income backgrounds in poorly performing districts. Brooklyn Ascend Rockaway Campus opened in 2008 with a strict "no excuses" philosophy but in 2012 the network shifted to a Responsive Classroom model and made significant changes to both culture and curriculum. Responsive Classroom is designed to develop the social and emotional capacities of children and includes rituals such as morning meetings in each classroom and regular goal setting activities.
Network CEO Steven Wilson says there has been a "marked change in the demeanor and joyfulness of students and of classrooms" since the adoption of Responsive Classroom. Rates of suspension and office referrals at Brooklyn Ascend have fallen by 90 percent since responsive classroom was adopted, Wilson said.
All Ascend schools have their own buildings, avoiding the challenges that can arise in shared space, and all feature the same color scheme and general atmosphere. Brooklyn Ascend Rockaway Campus is the oldest school in the network. It is located in a new building that boasts a rooftop playground and a multipurpose space that is used for physical education and special events.
After a sharp decline in test scores following the introduction of Common Core in 2013, the network designed its own curriculum to be fully aligned with the standards. The network is "wildly enthusiastic" about Common Core, Wilson said.
Ascend wants to provide a liberal arts education to all students. Elementary students participate in "literature circle", where teachers use a college-style seminar to discuss themes of the books that students are reading. Books are selected because they present moral and ethical dilemmas and the goal is to enable students to articulate themes in their own voice and discuss them with classmates.
From 5th grade on, students participate in a humanities, writing and arts program twice daily. All students get art, music, physical education and Spanish instruction. Spanish classes are taught entirely in Spanish with three lessons per week. Native Spanish speakers focus on grammar and literature.
Ascend's hours are longer than the average school day. Tutoring is offered daily from 4-4:45 pm for students who need more time on task or support in a small group setting.
Parent teacher conferences are held three times a year and teachers are expected to have frequent phone contact with all families. Wilson says that parental involvement "is a point of real pride that schools and principals have developed with families."
The first Ascend high school opens in 2015 in the Loew's Pitkin Theatre building shared by Brownsville and Central Brooklyn Ascend schools. Lottery preference for the high school goes to current students, their siblings and District 23 students.
Special education: Ascend has Integrated Co-Teaching classes in every grade. Wilson said that specialists are available to students based on the requirements outlined in Individual Education Plans. Every Ascend school has counselors and social workers.
Admissions: Admission is by lottery. Preference is given to students in the district and siblings of current students. New students are accepted at all grades to fill seats. (Ella Colley, phone interview, October 2014)
At a glance
Number of Students 974
Average Daily Attendance 97%
Safety & vibe
How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?14% 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?77% 86% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
ARE CLASSES BIG?
Number of students in an average kindergarten classNA 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Number of students in an average fifth grade classNA 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE
DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?93% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?77% 87% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
How many students are chronically absent?4% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam
Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam
Percent of 4th 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?69% 75% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Do parents like the school?
How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?95% 94% 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:11% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:0% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:6% 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:0% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE
Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:0% 17% 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?