Explore Charter School

Grades K-8

Location

655 Parkside Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11226
Prospect-Lefferts Gardens (District 17)

Contact

Phone
718-703-4484
Principal
Michal-Anne Jones/Kevin Mara

What’s Special

Diverse staff, community feeling

The Downside

Disruption from moves, unremarkable English scores

Our Review

Explore Charter School styles itself as a back-to-basics, college-prep charter, with a low-key and warm atmosphere. Like many charter schools, Explore relocated during its early years. Now among the oldest operating charter schools in the city, few of its students and teachers remember the disruption caused by its 2004 move from downtown Brooklyn to the Flatbush neighborhood. In fall 2011, the full-grown school again relocated, to theMS 2 building [shown in this Brooklyn Eagle photo] a mile away.

Classes of 16 to 22 students are aided by a handful of staff members who work with small groups of students on the side to support academics or resolve behavior issues. Teachers use uniform gestures and expressions to keep students focused on learning. Several times we heard, \"SLANT check-in: 3-2-1,\"; or some variant. (The acronym stands for \"Sit up, listen, ask and answer, nod for understanding, and track the speaker.\") The day runs from 8:20 a.m to 3:45 p.m for lower-school students; older students start at 7:45 a.m. The school divides the year into five terms, sending a report card home every eight weeks.

These structures helped 74 percent of students pass the state English tests in 2009. To further increase the success rate, the school has started using reading tests from Achievement Network, whose coaches work with teachers four times a year to create plans for specific students. \"It\'s something we\'ve done with math for a long time and hadn\'t found a way to do with literacy,\" says Tracy Rebe, principal at the time of our 2011 visit. [In 2012, Tracy Rebe was replaced by Rod Bowen.]

In K-4 classes, students were engaged in math, reading, and social studies lessons. For a class newspaper project, a 4th-grade class split into groups to draft articles on an aspect of the Revolutionary War. When some students\' attention strayed, teachers were generally able to draw them back, but some teachers let more noise bubble in the classroom than would be acceptable at some other \"no excuses\" charter schools. A 5th and 6th grade English class on metaphors had some students less than engaged, as they sat on the rug.

Upper-school classrooms have SMARTboards. Students use computers almost exclusively in the library, said librarian Mark Engel.

Parents praised the school\'s frequent reports and notices, its strictness on rules, and the energy of the staff; 10 of 11 parents had high praise for the school. The teaching staff is ethnically more diverse than at some other network-supported charter schools. All staff must respond to parent messages within 24 hours.

Afterschool: For K-4, a handful of neighborhood after-care programs pick up at the school. The upper-school students stay for tutoring and clubs that include glee, flag football, basketball, running, and cooking.

Special Education: The school provides SETSS services to 17 percent of students.

Admissions: Lottery, District 17 preference. (Matt Fleischer Black, March 2011)

About the students

Enrollment
538
Asian
0.0%
Black
82.2%
Hispanic
14.3%
White
0.0%
Other
3.5%
Free or reduced priced lunch
76%
Students with disabilities
14%
English language learners
4%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with MS 2 and a District 75 program, K141
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
132%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
95%
94% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
13%
19% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
39%
75% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
46%
25% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
72%
85% Citywide Average
How many teachers say their students are safe outside around this school?
77%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
28%
46% Citywide Average

About the leadership

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
49%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
71%
86% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
49%
79% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
47%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
70%
85% Citywide Average

Do parents like the school?

How many parents responded to the school survey?
78%
59% Citywide Average
How many parents say they are invited to visit classrooms?
83%
79% Citywide Average
How many parents say this school offers enough courses, activities and services to keep their children interested in school?
73%
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?
31%
39% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
29%
40% Citywide Average

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
43%
72% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
51%
55% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
52%
70% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
20%
28% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
92%
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 self-contained students
2.18
2.2 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
1.96
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.05
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
1.98
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
39%
69% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
78%
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?
91%
87% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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