Achievement First Brownsville Charter School

Grades K-8

Location

2021 Bergen Street
Brooklyn NY 11233
Crown Heights (District 23)

Contact

Phone
347-471-2600
Principal
Katherine Roger/Keith Brooks

What’s Special

Extra support staff, orderliness

The Downside

Long day, heavy homework load

Our Review

December 2014 update: In 2012,Achievement First Brownsville Charter School expanded to a middle school. Keith Brooks, who was formerly dean of academic culture at Achievement First East New York Middle School, is the founding principal of the middle school.In 2013, Michelle Kagan replacedGina Musumeci as principal of the elementary school.

March 2011 review: Achievement First schools are orderly academies that push hard on students to master their lessons and practice exemplary behavior. An operating principle of this network of 19 charter schools in New York City and Connecticut is that students must make every minute count to stay on the path to success. It aims to launch new schools with a highly structured culture that will lead students to absorb its college-preparatory curriculum without disruption. Founded in August 2008 as the networks fourth elementary school in New York, Achievement First Brownsville seems to have faithfully and successfully implemented the networks program.

On our guided tour of the K-4 school, the halls were full of punchy, inspirational- message posters like Focus. Drive. Succeed. T-shirts worn by staff members (a Friday practice at the school) also displayed motivating mantras. In a kindergarten classroom, we saw three grown-ups directing groups, as other students worked independently on math software. During a 3rd-grade math lesson, the teacher passed colored tiles to two students to tally and describe while the class watched. He offered some play-by-play praise: Its so easy to see theyre each doing the hard work themselves.

Achievement First declined to let us observe any classrooms for an extended period of time, but looking through doorways we saw engaged students propelled by the high energy of their young teachers. We heard a variety of student chants coming from classrooms and saw placards listing teachers favorite books. The writing and artwork in the hallways illustrated students creativity. A 2010 SUNY Charter Schools Institute evaluation concluded that the school offered students solid yet sensitive instruction.

The schools leaders frequently move floating staff to classrooms or pair them with individual students who need support. Our job is to serve teachers, to take the rocks out of the road for them, said Principal Gina Musumeci in a brief interview. The school day runs from 7:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with a 1:30 p.m. dismissal on Fridays. Students have reading and math until 11 a.m., when they start arts (chorus, dance, art), science, and social studies lessons. Homework is demanding.

The hard-driving atmosphere is offset by arts classes each day; students switch among the arts three times a year. About 75 parents attended a late-morning Art and Culture Performance of kindergarteners and 1st graders. First graders performed intricate arm and leg pumps in unison to Ben Harpers anti-violence song Better Way, and a kindergarten class sang Bob Marleys Buffalo Soldiers, about black military regiments. Art teacher Kim Sadler said classes collaborated on folding 1,000 paper birds to illustrate Maya Angelous poem I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

The warmth at the school was evident during the performance as the principal amiably sat with a students younger sibling on her lap. A couple rows away, a teacher and a boy gently discussed his errant behavior. The gathering also showed the schools emphasis on orderly transitions: students went up to the stage and back quietly, as a staff member solicited a high-five from each one.

Outside at 12:30 p.m., a couple of parents said that the school had been wonderful for their children. These Achievement First moms had only one complaint: Right now, I dont like that I have to come back at 1:30 p.m. again. But lessons trump convenience, a school leader announced after the last act: Parents, please wait in your seats for the classes to leave. The students are going back to their learning.

The school shares its blocky building with Brooklyn Collegiate, a schools serving 600 students in grades 6-12. According to the SUNY evaluation, the two schools have had a strained relationship over lack of space.

The school offers after-school tutoring.

Special Education: The school provides SETSS services. In 2009-10, it reported 7 percent of the students had disabilities.

Admissions: Lottery, with District 23 preference. (Matt Fleischer-Black, March 2011; updated by Ella Colley, December 2014)

About the students

Enrollment
937
Asian
0.3%
Black
88.4%
Hispanic
10.1%
White
0.3%
Other
0.9%
Free or reduced priced lunch
82%
Students with disabilities
12%
English language learners
2%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares a building with Brooklyn Collegiate
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
97%
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?
100%
75% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
22%
25% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
90%
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
67%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
40%
46% Citywide Average

About the leadership

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
95%
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?
87%
79% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
95%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
100%
85% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
21%
59% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
80%
79% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
85%
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?
55%
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?
78%
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
67%
55% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
74%
70% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
0%
28% 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
2.7
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.21
2.2 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
2.56
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.27
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.28
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.32
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
64%
69% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
88%
84% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
94%
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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