Brownsville Ascend Charter School

1501 PITKIN AVENUE
BROOKLYN NY 11212 Map
Phone: (718) 240-9162
Website: Click here
Admissions: Lottery. Priority to District 23.
charter
Principal: Erica Murphy
Neighborhood: Brownsville
District: 18
Grade range: 0K thru 05

What's special:

Immersion Spanish classes, high expectations for students.

The downside:

Long hours; little outdoor play.

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

A clone of the Brooklyn Ascend Charter School, Brownsville Ascend Charter school opened in 2009 with kindergarten and 1st grade and plans to add a grade each year until it serves Kindergarten through-12th grade. [The school is nowhoused in a renovated theater] The two Ascend schools are nearly identical in tone and philosophy—the only difference is the color of uniforms.

Each morning, children shake hands firmly with one of the school’s directors as they enter the building, look her in the eye and say "good morning" with a loud, confident voice. This ritual is followed by a silent breakfast where scholars eat together. Jana Reed, Chief Operating Officer of Ascend Learning, explained this as a time for students to “regroup.”

Students wear a uniform of gray pants or jumper, white polo shirt, maroon sweater and black shoes. In August, new students attend a week-long orientation to learn the rules and expectations, acronyms and procedures. "Almost every kid falls into the culture and structure right away," explained co-director Kelly Bowers. "Kids crave structure." A teacher told us many students are sent home early or suspended in the first month of school, but as the year goes on they adjust to the rules and there are not as many disciplinary incidents.

On our visit, day started strong with focused students, called scholars at Ascend, sitting silently and participating eagerly in class. By lunch attention in the classrooms was waning and children had trouble sitting in their seats. Staff expressed concerns about the long school day and the large class sizes, which range from 25 to 30 students. An Ascend faculty member commented, "Other SABIS schools [days] are not as long. It's too much."

SABIS is the curriculum used by Ascend schools, a coherent system that leads step-by-step from kindergarten to 12th grade with the goal of preparing children to take 4-5 Advanced Placement classes. All students take a period per day of immersion Spanish, where the entire class is taught in the language. Each day, students also have 20 minutes of guided reading.

Though the school boasts a rooftop playground, we were told that scholars rarely use the outside play space. Instead, they have 20 minutes of recess each day playing games or drawing quietly in the classroom.

Morning tutoring help is available from 7:15.-7:30 a.m. and scholars may play soccer afterschool two days a week.

Special education: A SETSS teacher pulls out students for math and reading help in small groups.

Admissions: There is a lottery in April. Students in District 23 and siblings of students already enrolled have priority. In February 2011, the waitlist had 889 students. (Aryn Bloodworth, February 2011)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Number of Students 668

Average Daily Attendance NA

Students at this school

Asian

  
0%

Black

  
89%

Hispanic

  
10%

White

  
0%

Free Lunch

  
65%

Special ed

  
9%

English Language Learners

  
0%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

20% 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

33% 83% 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

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

73% 79% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

54% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

13% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

60% 85% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

47% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

66% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 math exam

39% 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the 2013 ela exam

24% 27% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

98% 87% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the 2013 school survey?

55% 69% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

70% 72% 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?

47% 74% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

96% 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 2013 math exam:

NA 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 13% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 7% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

65% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

80% 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% 89% 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 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

86% 91% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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