Growing Up Green Charter School

An Insideschools pick
39-37 28th Street
Long Island City NY 11101 Map
Phone: (347) 642-4306
Website: Click here
Admissions: Lottery. Priority to District 30.
Principal: Matthew Greenberg
Neighborhood: Long Island City
District: 30
Grade range: K-7
Parent Coordinator: Erin Acosta
Unzoned
Charter School

What's special:

A progressive, hands-on approach to learning with an environmental theme

The downside:

Two sites one-half mile apart

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

With a greenhouse, a chicken coop, plants in the classrooms and an egg-laying duck named Walter, this charter school offers kids the chance to "grow up green," as its name suggests. Kids sail on a schooner at South Street Seaport to learn about the history of exploration, build shelters in Central Park to learn how Native Americans lived, or visit the Queens Botanical Garden to study "Trees and Me."

"We probably go on more field trips than any other school in the city," said founding principal Matthew Greenberg, who blends the progressive practices honed at Manhattan School for Children and Bank Street with lessons in building community he learned at a Catholic school, where he also taught.

This charter school, opened in 2009, is meeting its mission so well that it's being cloned, with a new school of the same name opening in 2016. Greenberg was tapped to be executive director of both.

Students here are assertive and eager to defend their positions. One class discussed writing a persuasive essay to the mayor and a judge urging them to reconsider the reversal of the ban on Styrofoam lunch trays. Citing research, one girl pointed out both sides of the issue.

The elementary school, housed in a former Catholic school building has an old wing, complete with old-fashioned cloak rooms, and a brighter newer wing. Every inch of space is used. There is no library, so the corridors, some rather dimly lit, house the school's books, including those used for Read-180, a program for struggling readers. Twelve staff members share the main office, and special education guidance providers are in side-by-side small cubicles off the multi-purpose gym. Fortunately many staff members have been around since the school's inception and seem to get along well. Several bring their own children to the school and, as of 2016, it is written into the school charter that staff children get priority in admissions, in the same way that siblings do.

Class size is about 28 per classroom in the elementary school, but with at least two teachers in each classroom, it seems manageable. There are 24 students per class at the growing middle school. The middle school, located about a half mile away at 36-49 11th Street, opened with a 6th grade in 2014 in a space formerly used as a pre-kindergarten. It is still being refitted for adolescents. There is a small outdoor yard, with some picnic tables and basketball hoops but no gymnasium. It is a long walk from the nearest subway train too.

The green theme continues, encompassing not only recycling and the environment, but also community service. Every morning begins with an advisory, teaching organizational skills and addressing social-emotional issues.

There is a Regents track class in math and science, and some students take algebra and the Earth science Regents. Sixth-grade English students, were doing a poetry slam about "where I come from"; 7th-graders were tackling Shakespeare and reading "Macbeth," learning how Shakespeare's language differs from today's vernacular. Music students finishing a unit on Martin Luther King, Jr., learned freedom and protest songs and were asked to create a song or poem of their own.

About 75 percent of the elementary students stay for middle school; other popular choices are the Baccalaureate School for Global Education, Young Women's Leadership School and Hunter's Point Community Middle School.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There is an ICT class on every grade, SETSS, and services such as speech and occupational therapy, as well as lots of supports within classrooms.

ADMISSIONS: District 30 lottery; priority to siblings and children of staff members. In 2015 there were 1,600 applicants for 125 spots school-wide. Growing Up Green accepts students on every grade level, as spaces open up. (Pamela Wheaton, January 2016)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Number of Students 707

Average Daily Attendance 96%

Students at this school

Asian

  
15%

Black

  
12%

Hispanic

  
36%

White

  
32%

Free Lunch

  
52%

Special ed

  
18%

English Language Learners

  
9%

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?

88% 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?

88% 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

52% 40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

48% 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:

NA 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the school survey?

79% 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:

NA 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

15% 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

4% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

21% 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

18% 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?

96% 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?

80% 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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