Brownsville Ascend Charter School

1501 PITKIN AVENUE
BROOKLYN NY 11212 Map
Phone: (718) 240-9162
Website: Click here
Admissions: Lottery. Priority to District 23.
Principal: Erica Murphy/Emily Fernandez/Melissa Jarvis-Cedeño
Neighborhood: Brownsville
District: 23
Grade range: K-7, 9
Unzoned
Charter School

What's special:

Unique location in a bright and spacious former theatre building

The downside:

Long school day can be tiring for young students

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

October 2015 update: In September 2015, a high school opened in the Brownsville Ascend Charter School building, called Brooklyn Ascend High. The Principal is Melissa Jarvis-Cedeño, who returned to the area where she grew up to found the school.

October 2015 review: Ascend Learning is a growing charter network based in central Brooklyn that primarily serves students from low-income backgrounds in poorly performing districts. The first Ascend school 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 (the network's flagship school) have since fallen by 90 percent, Wilson said.

Teachers at some Ascend schools gave poor ratings on the 2013-2014 School Survey. At Brownsville Ascend, just 37% of teachers felt there were enough programs to keep students engaged but Wilson believes that the culture and curriculum changes the network has made will address those concerns.

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. Every school has outdoor space, either a yard or rooftop. Brownsville Ascend, the second Ascend Learning school, opened as an elementary school in 2009 and in 2014 expanded to include a middle school. It is located in the former Loew's Pitkin Theatre, which was completely refitted to accommodate the schools. The newest Ascend school, Central Brooklyn, is also housed in the building.

After a sharp decline in test scores following the introduction of Common Core Standards 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 aims 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 with 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 specialists are available to students based on the requirements outlined in their Individualized Education Programme. 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)

 

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 787

Average Daily Attendance 95%

Students at this school

Asian

  
1%

Black

  
88%

Hispanic

  
10%

White

  
1%

Free Lunch

  
58%

Special ed

  
9%

English Language Learners

  
1%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

27% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

95% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average kindergarten class

NA 22 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 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

100% 85% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

89% 86% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

9% 21% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

37% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

78% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

69% 87% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

34% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

23% 31% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

91% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 57% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 8th grades pass high school regents exams?

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

NA 13% 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?

59% 57% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

71% 69% 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?

55% 71% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

96% 93% 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% 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

33% 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

10% 14% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

10% 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

12% 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

4% 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

99% 97% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

86% 93% 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?

100% 88% 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:

NA 4% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 21% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

69% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HS InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? No

This school is in its own building.

Number of Students 787

Average Daily Attendance 95%

Uniforms? NA

Metal detectors? NA

Students at this school

Asian

  
1%

Black

  
88%

Hispanic

  
10%

White

  
1%

Free Lunch

  
58%

Special ed

  
9%

English Language Learners

  
1%

INCOMING STUDENTS' PROFICIENCY: NA 2.38 CITYWIDE AVERAGE


1 = Far below grade level 2 = Below grade level 3 = At grade level 4 = Above grade level

Middle school students reading at grade level:

NA 28% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Middle school students doing math at grade level:

NA 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Safety & vibe

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average english class

NA 25 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO STUDENTS LIKE THE TEACHERS?

How many students say their teachers inspire them to learn?

NA 63% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE PRINCIPAL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

100% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

IS THIS SCHOOL SAFE?

How many students say they feel safe in hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?

88% 85% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

 
 

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

95% 82% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

HOW IS
ATTENDANCE?

How Many Students are Chronically Absent?

NA 36% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Who graduates

Class of 2015

How many students graduated within 4 years?

NA 69% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates earned an advanced regents diploma within 4 years?

NA 11% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated within 6 years?

NA 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many graduates dropped out within 4 years?

NA 10% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

College prep

Does this school offer a college preparatory curriculum?

How many students took an AP or IB class and scored at least a "3" on the AP exam or a "4" on the IB exam?

NA

How Many Students took a College Course and Got a "C" or Higher?

NA

How many students passed a Regents exam for algebra 2, physics or chemistry?

NA

Are students ready for college?

How many students graduated in four years with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?

NA 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT reading scores

NA
423 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 497 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

How many students graduated in four years and enrolled in college?

NA 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

SAT math scores

NA
431 CITYWIDE AVERAGE 513 NATIONWIDE AVERAGE

Is the guidance counseling helpful?

How many students say that this school provides helpful counseling on college or job-seeking?

NA 76% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many special ed students graduated within 4 years?

NA 48% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many special ed students graduated within 6 years?

NA 57% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many students with disabilities spend most of the day with non-disabled peers?

NA 68% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

100% 97% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

How many English language learners graduated within 4 years?

47% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many English language learners graduated within 6 years?

55% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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