The International Charter School of New York

55 Willoughby Street
BROOKLYN NY 11201 Map
Phone: (718) 305-4199
Website: Click here
Admissions: Lottery, District 13
Principal: Ellen Borenstein/Matthew Levey
Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn
District: 13
Grade range: K-2
Zoned
New School
Charter School

What's special:

New charter school in downtown Brooklyn with a global outlook

The downside:

Too soon to say

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Founded by a former diplomat, the International Charter School of New York opened in September 2015 in downtown Brooklyn, in a space formerly occupied by the Brooklyn Friends private school. ICSNYC is the latest entrant in a plethora of charter schools that have appeared in rapidly gentrifying District 13. It opened with a kindergarten and 1st grade and will grow to become a full k–8 school. Its location, just a half block from Metrotech Commons, gives children an outdoor space for play, surrounded by public art. 

The school's first principal is Ellen Borenstein, a veteran teacher and administrator at schools in Westchester.

True to its name, International Charter's curriculum is based on a global theme using history as a "spine on which to nestle your child's learning experience," said school founder Matthew Levey, himself the parent of three children. Kindergartners learn about the ancient world, reading books about pre-European civilizations. Typical children's classics such as The Snowy Day won't be ignored, Levey said. By 2nd grade, children study the medieval age and in 4th grade, they focus on 1850 to the present. Fifth-graders go back to a study of the ancients, reading an abridged text of The Odyssey, he said.

Grammar instruction and phonics are integral to the literacy program. Levey says he expects students to be fluent readers by 3rd grade.

Math instruction balances conceptual understanding and computational skills, said Levey. "There's nothing wrong with memorization," he said. In its first year, the school used the Jump Math curriculum which is designed to build children's confidence in math with the belief that all children can excel at high-level math. However, midway through the first year, the principal decided to switch to the EngageNY math curriculum.  Children are making better progress with that, Levey wrote in an email.

ICSNYC follows the Core Knowledge program, which defines what each child should know in all subjects at the end of every grade.

Classroom teachers are used in "creative ways" to teach art, music and physical education in the early years, he said. Nearby Mark Morris Dance Group brings in dance instructors once a week and Bent on Learning teaches yoga.

Small class sizes are a priority, with no more than 20 students in kindergarten and 25 in 1st grade, each with a head teacher and an assistant teacher.  The school day ends at 4 pm.

For more on the founding of the school, see the New York Times story: Mathew Levey's Charter School Quest.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Levey says he is "eager to serve all families" and welcomes children with learning disabilities. A coordinator of special education works with children in small groups as well as within classrooms. "The goal is to address the underlying issues," said Levey.

ADMISSIONS: Lottery. Priority to District 13. Applications are due annually on April 1st. Unlike other New York City public schools, children must have turned 5 by Dec. 1 to be eligible for kindergarten. In its first few years, the school's founders anticipated openings for children from outside the district, especially for 1st grade. For the latest lottery results, see the school's website.  (Pamela Wheaton, interviews & web reports, March 2015; upated April and August 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 118

Average Daily Attendance NA

Students at this school

Asian

  
3%

Black

  
45%

Hispanic

  
16%

White

  
32%

Free Lunch

  
33%

Special ed

  
9%

English Language Learners

  
1%

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?

80% 81% 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

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

87% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

NA 23% 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 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam

NA 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the school survey?

48% 64% 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 8% 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:

NA 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 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?

87% 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?

80% 86% 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 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 32% 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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