Achievement First Endeavor Charter School

Grades K-8
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Location

510 Waverly Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11238
Clinton Hill (District 13)
Trains:
Buses:

Contact

Phone
718-622-4786
Principal
Sarah Lewis (elementary) Caroline Roth (middle)
Parent Coordinator

What’s Special

Beautifully-renovated building

The Downside

Long school day and strict rules not for everyone

Our Review

A billboard hanging near the front doors of Achievement First Endeavor declares the sparkling new structure to be Home of the hardest working students in New York. Students attend school from 7:30 am until 4:30 pm and then go home to study some more. Even kindergarten teachers assign at least an hour of homework each night.

AF Endeavor is part of a network of charter schools that has a strongly imposed no excuses culture. Achievement Firsts mission is to prove an urban school can succeed at a low cost and prepare students for college. School officials say fulfilling the mission takes a strict, no-nonsense approach to learning. We have a lot of work to do, were closing the achievement gap, said Devyn Humphrey, an AF spokesperson.

The hard work pays off in high middle school math scores on state standardized exams. Reading scores are significantly lower, a challenge the school is addressing with four hours of daily literacy instruction.

All AF schools have a strongly imposed culture - students are called scholars, half the lessons involve building character values and new families are on-boarded, and expected to be actively in their childs education. Posters saying No Excuses and photocopies of inspirational quotes from Malcolm X and Mahatma Gandhi and other historical figures line the walls. Desks are organized in tidy rows and the building is sparkling clean.

In 2010, AF Endeavor middle school moved from a shared building in Bedford Stuyvesant to its own renovated six-story building on a factory-lined block of Clinton Hill. The Robin Hood Foundation and Civic Builders, a non-profit that specializes in charter school building, transformed a former ice cream factory into a school. The facility features elevated playing fields and bright floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the quickly gentrifying neighborhood.

In fall 2011, AF Endeavor, which began as a 5-8 middle school in 2006, opened a lower school with kindergarten and 1st grade and will grow to 4th grade. All students wear uniforms color-coded by grade.

The elementary and middle schools are technically two different schools, each with its own principal and administration. They are two separate schools that happen to be in the same building, different floors, said Mel Ochoa, another AF spokesperson. But, 4th graders who graduate from AF Endeavor elementary may automatically continue on to Endeavor middle school and eventually high schools within the charter network. Class sizes for both schools average about 27 students.

The middle school principal is Tom Kaiser, a Teach for America alumni and former AF Endeavor teacher. Every middle school student learns an instrument and plays in the school's jazz band, and there is an optional, after school orchestra program as well. Other than music, enrichment is generally confined to field trips, such as to the Alvin Ailey Dance Company and local colleges. Stucents can "buy" using Scholar Dollars, earned through good behavior and work habits to other activities such as laser tag and other field trips.

The founding principal of the elementary school, Stephanie Blake, is a former teacher who smiles and says Awesome! a lot but has strict expectations: College starts the first minute of kindergarten, she says. The longer school day is packed with literacy and math instruction and Blake expects her students to have, hands folded, eyes on the teacher.

All elementary classes have two teachers, one leading the lesson and another providing individual support or quietly working at a desk in the back of the room. That way Achievement First can more easily accommodate special needs students, says Humphrey. Some middle school classes have two teachers as well. Children are assessed every six weeks to measure their learning levels so teachers may provide targeted learning interventions when necessary.

The Achievement First has received bad press in the past for harsh disciplinary tactics and there are many suspension - 115 at the middle school in 2009-10 school year. Humphrey said that about 12 percent of students leave for other schools each year, a number she hopes to reduce to 5 percent.

Admissions: Lottery. Priority to District 13.

Special Education: The school has a lower rate of special education students than the rest of District 13, a discrepancy AF says they are working to reconcile. Students who need extra attention receive help both inside and outside the classroom. (Anna Schneider, May 2012)

About the students

Enrollment
1053
Asian
0.8%
Black
85.9%
Hispanic
12.0%
White
0.6%
Other
0.9%
Free or reduced priced lunch
79%
Students with disabilities
16%
English language learners
1%

About the school

Shared campus?
No
This school is in its own building.
Metal detectors?
No
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?
3%
19% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
97%
75% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
26%
25% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
81%
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
95%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
38%
46% Citywide Average

About the leadership

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
94%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
92%
86% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
92%
79% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
82%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
95%
85% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
40%
59% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
79%
79% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
82%
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?
52%
40% Citywide Average

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
71%
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
53%
55% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
78%
70% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
0%
28% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
86%
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
2.45
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.49
2.2 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
2.14
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.34
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
3.75
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.95
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
55%
69% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
93%
84% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
93%
89% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
94%
87% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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