Achievement First Crown Heights Charter School

Grades K-8
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Location

790 East New York Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11203
Flatbush (District 17)

Contact

Phone
718-774-0762
Principal
Camilla Lopez/Gillette Eckler

What’s Special

Unwavering academic focus to prepare all students for college

The Downside

Strict discipline criticized by some parents

Our Review

Achievement First Crown Heights Charter School, part of a network of schools based in Connecticut, offers a highly structured program with tight discipline and a long school day. The school, which opened in 2005, now serves children in grades K-12 in two different locations. While many parents appreciate the structure and generally high test scores, others have objected to the discipline and complained of what they see as insufficient opportunities for parent involvement.

Students in grades K through 8 attend classes at 790 East New York Avenue. The building is shared with New Heights Middle School, which opened in 2012 as a replacement school for the Middle School of the Arts. The school adheres to the Achievement First model where students are expected to work hard--both the school day and school year are longer than usual. Classrooms and hallways are lined with posters and labels reminding students of what they have to do and how they should do it. "We are an extremely intentional organization," says Mel Ochoa, the network's senior director for marketing and communications. "Efficiency allows for more time to teach."

Although AF Crown Heights has generally exceeded test scores for the community district as a whole, it has not met its own goals. In 2011-12, only 38 percent of 8th graders scored proficient on their state English Language Arts exam.

Some parents have complained of what they saw as petty rules that resulted in about one in six middle school students being held after school every day, and a high suspension rate. On its website, AF Crown Heights says it uses "fun incentive programs" to encourage good behavior. These include rewarding classes that have top homework completion and attendance rates with a party, and giving middle school students who complete their homework on time or come to school in the full uniform points to spend at the school store. The middle school principal is Gillette Eckler, a former teacher and dean at the school.

For grades 9 through 12, students attend Achievement First Brooklyn High School at 1485 Pacific Street, in a building shared with Uncommon Charter High School. The phone number is 718-363-2260. Paul Adler, a math teacher and former assistant principal at Brooklyn Preparatory High School, is the principal.

Every student there is expected to go on to college, and acceptance to a four-year college is a graduation requirement. On its website, Achievement First says it offers demanding academics through a longer school day and individual attention, as well as strict discipline. Its Regents pass rate exceeds the state average. All students must take AP US history and biology, and the school offers other AP classes as well. The school graduates its first class in 2013.

At all level, AF Crown Heights serves a largely African American, low-income student body. While the elementary school is evenly divided between boys and girls, by high school, according to the school's own figures, fewer than 40 percent of all students are male.

The school gets high marks for its environment based on its Learning Environment Survey, although only a small percentage of teachers and parents filled out the survey.

Special education: Achievement First says it provides team teaching and special education services at all of its schools.

Admission: By lottery. Most students enter in kindergarten or 1st grade, although Achievement First also holds a lottery for admission to the 5th grade. The schools select from their waiting lists to fill any vacancies in other grades. (Gail Robinson, website, interviews, June 2013)

About the students

Enrollment
1032
Asian
0.1%
Black
95.2%
Hispanic
3.5%
White
0.5%
Other
0.8%
Free or reduced priced lunch
77%
Students with disabilities
15%
English language learners
0%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with New Heights Middle School
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
117%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?
2%
19% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
95%
75% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
17%
25% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
92%
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
76%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
58%
46% Citywide Average

About the leadership

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
89%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
100%
86% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
91%
79% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
83%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
98%
85% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
50%
59% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
84%
79% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
86%
84% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Test scores

How many students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
62%
39% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
46%
40% Citywide Average

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
87%
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
62%
55% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
79%
70% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
1%
28% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
89%
87% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

Average math score for ICT students
2.36
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.62
2.2 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.95
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.37
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.7
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.13
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
51%
69% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
75%
84% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
87%
89% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
81%
87% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
100%
89% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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