Unity Prep Charter School

Grades 6-8
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Location

432 Monroe Street
Brooklyn NY 11221
Bedford-Stuyvesant (District 13)

Contact

Phone
718-455-5046
Principal
Josh Beauregard

What’s Special

Progressive education with strong disciplinary focus

The Downside

Test scores are still low

Our Review

Unity Preparatory Charter School, opened in 2013 in rapidly gentrifying Bedford-Stuyvesant, blends many of the best practices of traditional charter schools with a rich progressive education. Its administration has impressive credentials; Principal and Founder Josh Beauregard is finishing doctoral work at Harvard Universitys Graduate School of Education.

Unity Prep, which opened with middle school grades, is expanding to become a 6-12 school by 2020. The middle school shares an aging building with PS 44 The Marcus Garvey School. Relations between the two schools seem amiable; several PS 44 students each year go on to middle school at Unity Prep and the schools hold a joint Black History Month celebration. The high school opened with a 9th grade, sharing space with Brownsville Academy High School. It hopes to complete construction on a new high school building by 2020, DNA Info reported.

Though classrooms are somewhat poorly lit, they are decorated with student art and academic work. The school does not have a proper science lab, but the science classroom houses the schools impressive pet collection.

Many Unity Prep students enter the school with test scores well below grade level and the school struggles to raise them: There is an academic summer academy plus after-school and Saturday tutoring. College preparation is a constant mantra.

Student advisories, like homerooms but focused on guidance and mentoring, are small (averaging about 17 students) with two teachers per class. Each advisory has daily and weekly class goals based on a database of scores from the previous day covering class work, behavior and preparation. Classes are encouraged to improve their overall scores through weekly incentives such as casual dress Fridays.

Students begin their mornings at 7:30 with mindfulness training, meditating in classrooms with their advisors or in larger groups in the gymnasium. After-school activities are mandatory; the schools wrestling team has been particularly successful. The school day ends between 3 and 4:30 pm, with study hall offered two days a week until 6 pm.

Discipline is strongly emphasized, and students are expected to be silent during class transitions. Classrooms were uniformly focused and orderly. One history teacher exhorted students to be tall, proud and silent. Beauregard sees the disciplinary code as a form of empowerment, noting that it helps kids succeed as scholars and citizens.

Like much of the school, the discipline code has a progressive twist; detention, for example, has been rebranded reflection to prompt students to take responsibility for their actions. Unity students wear uniforms with the school emblem, which was designed by the artist also responsible for the chivalric crests on the television series Game of Thrones.

Students receive clear guidance about what they are expected to master in each class each day and during the school year. Teachers attempt to connect academic material to the childrens own experiences. Classes have a strong social justice emphasis. A 6th-grade English class reading Lois Lowrys The Giver expanded the discussion of the dystopic novel to include stop-and-frisk. A 7th-grade history class began with the chant No history; no self; know history; know self, (the history departments guiding ethic) before working on persuasive essays. All students participate in a year-end showcase to present their academic accomplishments before an audience of teachers, parents and others.

Students take technology, art and Spanish in a rotation during the schools trimesters.

Unity Prep is off to a strong start. One student told us that his grades had gone up once he entered the school. They really pay attention to what I am trying to say and they really support you. A community coordinator provides support for families in such areas as computer skills and social services referrals.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: Unity has a large percentage of special education students. The school emphasizes ICT (integrated-co-teaching) classes that blend general education and special needs students. Beauregard wants to be sure that every kid regardless of circumstances can be educated.

ADMISSIONS: Admission is by lottery with preference given to siblings, then District 13 students. (Suzannah Tartan-Hunt, November, 2014; updated high school information 2017)

About the students

Enrollment
390
Asian
1.3%
Black
78.5%
Hispanic
16.9%
White
1.5%
Other
1.8%
Free or reduced priced lunch
79%
Students with disabilities
22%
English language learners
4%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares its building with PS 44
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
67%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
96%
93% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
10%
20% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
53%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
27%
28% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
82%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
38%
43% Citywide Average

About the leadership

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
72%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
62%
88% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
76%
82% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
62%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
81%
86% 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?
14%
27% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
21%
30% Citywide Average

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
87%
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
64%
56% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
87%
72% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
2%
26% 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
1.85
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
1.88
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
1.97
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.01
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.08
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.11
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
54%
67% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
93%
88% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
93%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
90%
90% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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