The Opportunity Charter School
Manhattan NY 10026
Inclusion school mixes special education and general ed students
Weak academic performance
Opportunity Charter School is committed to "inclusive" education--teaching both general education students and students with special needs. For admissions, the school conducts two separate lotteries, one for the general population, the other for special needs students, who make up about half of the student population at the school. There are 18 kids in classes, all of which have both a teacher and an assistant. In addition, on each grade the school has placed a social worker and a speech and language therapist. They work with children in their classrooms; no kids are pulled out for special services. Most students come from the neighborhood and most enter middle school with weak academic skills, administrators said.
Founded in September 2004 as a middle school, it has expanded to include a high school program.
The Department of Education threatened to close the school in 2012 because of poor academic performance, but it was given a reprieve and allowed to stay open, according to DNAinfo.
The school accepts students that other schools shuneither because they have poor grades or behavior problems. "We wind up with a lot of students who were not succeeding at other charter schools," Emily Samuels, Opportunity's director of development, told DNAinfo.
Natasha Dyer, a senior, said individual attention helped her do better at Opportunity than her old school.
"You have more than just a teacher here," she told DNAinfo. "You have counselors and other people to help you. If you can't find one person, there's 20 others." [video by DNAinfo]
The school has a team of social workers to help students with emotional and other problems.
Admissions: A lottery is held in April. Priority is given to District 3 residents. (Judy Baum, March 2006, updated with web reports August 2013)