Uncommon Charter High School

Grades 9-12

Location

1485 Pacific Street
Brooklyn NY 11216
Crown Heights (District 13)

Contact

Phone
718-638-1868
Principal
Maya Roth Bisignano/Thomas O'brien

What’s Special

Serious focus on achievement, new building

The Downside

Very limited admissions, long hours and rules not for everyone

Our Review

Uncommon Charter High School, housed in a brand new building, has a serious, orderly atmosphere geared toward success in college. Students who choose to attend must agree to regular testing and be willing to have reports on their academic performance and behavior posted publicly. When students earn rewards or punishments, the whole school is informed.

Opened in 2009 with a ninth grade class, the school will expand each year until it has 200 students in each grade. The teaching styles are mostly traditional, with lectures rather than class discussions or group work. Students were attentive in every class we visited, with almost no side talking. All students wear uniforms. Students may not wear brown belts, only black. Hoop earrings must be no more than 1.5 inches across. Students chant mottos at the end of some classes.

Each week, the students have two advisories to help with school and college planning. Every Wednesday morning, each grade assembles for an hour. During our visit, the assembly celebrated student and group achievements, described outside academic programs, and included problem-solving exercises. In an orderly school, this appears to be a weekly chance to make some noise.

Students must complete four years of math, science, English and social studies, three years of a foreign language, and arts classes. The high school has long hours (7:45 am to 3:45 pm) except on Wednesday. Some students are asked to come to school on Saturday morning for extra academic help.

Reading Days are set aside to practice for exams. Students belong to a house named after the colleges that the teachers attended. Teachers hold office hours afterschool; students struggling in class must sign themselves up for that afterschool help. We saw several lessons that focused on study skills like taking notes from lectures, annotating articles, and organizing ones notes. The library looks like many college libraries, with long wooden tables and closed study rooms. As in the cafeteria of a large corporation, the lunchroom displays a loop of school announcements on three 14-foot wide screens hanging beside the eating area.

Clubs include soccer, photography, writing, glee and theater. The school has step and basketball teams and plans to offer varsity sports once it reaches its full size.

Special education: Co-director Minnie Setty said the school has a special education coordinator, but very few students receive special education services. [Minnie Setty left the school in 2012 and was replaced by Thomas O'Brien, who was formerly at Williamsburg Collegiate. Minnie Setty co-founded the schoolwith co-director Maya Roth Bisignano.]

Uncommon Charter shares a building with Brooklyn East Collegiate Charter School, and Achievement First Crown Heights Charter High School.

Admissions: preference is given tostudents who attend Uncommon Schools network middle school.

Uncommon Charter High School operates under more than one charter and data for the students at this high school can be found in the profiles of the the network's middle schools.(Matt Fleischer-Black, October 2010; updated by Ella Colley, December 2014)

About the students

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares a building with Achievement First Brooklyn High School
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
100%
76% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
11%
18% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
95%
84% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
66%
56% Citywide Average

About the leadership

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
95%
77% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
95%
83% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
98%
78% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
98%
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
98%
84% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
65%
71% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
64%
49% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
62%
70% Citywide Average
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How many graduate?

Are students prepared for college?

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

How does this school serve students with disabilities?

How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
62%
64% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
86%
87% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
86%
90% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
83%
89% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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