Democracy Prep Charter Middle School

Grades 6-8
Staff Pick
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Location

2230 5 Avenue
Manhattan NY 10037
Harlem (District 5)

Contact

Phone
212-281-1248
Principal
Tanya Nunez/Natasha Trivers

What’s Special

Korean music and dance, lots of trips

The Downside

Strict discipline and high suspension rates

Our Review

Democracy Prep Charter is a structured and challenging school with strong leadership, good test scores and orderly classrooms, according to school surveys. The school combines strict discipline and a long academic day with trips, civic engagement and exposure to Korean music and dance. (High school students take four years of Korean language.)

The school day runs from 7:45 am and 4:00 pm, but many students don't leave until later due to tutoring, extra-curricular activities, a proctored study-hall and detention. Extracurricular activities may include sports, choir, dance, student government, storytelling, and Korean mask dance.

Like the other schools in the Democracy Prep network, the school has clear rules and high expectations. Students move from class to class in straight, silent lines. Countdown clocks keep middle school students on task, and for the most part, desks are arranged in pairs facing the front of the classroom.

High school classrooms are set up to facilitate greater class discussion, and the tone of classes is less structured than in the middle school. In one class we visited, students discussed the historical and political context of the music of artists like James Brown and B.B. King. In a chemistry class, students seemed to be covering advanced material with a focus on performing well on the Regents exam.

Students earn and lose fake dollars based on their behavior and academic performance and can use their dollars to participate in a variety of activities and trips.

While the structured environment is a defining feature of the Democracy Prep schools, the strict rules do not appeal to everybody. More than one-third of students say discipline is unfair, according to school surveys. The 2014-15 suspension rate (the most recently available data) was 27 percent, far above the statewide average of 3 percent. “Any student can thrive at Democracy Prep, but you have to be able to work in a structured environment,” External Affairs Associate, Amara Sillah said on our 2012 visit.

The focus on citizenship and democracy is reflected in a variety of activities. During election campaigns, students participate in a “Get out the vote” campaign to help Harlem residents identify where they should vote. In 2012, some students attended a campaign event for Barack Obama in Columbus, Ohio; others went to South Korea to study that country’s presidential election.

The middle school shares a building with PS 197 and the high school shares a building with PS 92 at 222 W. 134th Street.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: School founder, Seth Andrews, who had a learning disability as a child, said the school was designed to accommodate children with special needs.

ADMISSIONS: By lottery. Priority to District 5. Democracy Prep accepts new students at every grade level, depending on the number of spaces available. About two-thirds of the middle school students continue on to the high school. (Pauline Zaldonis, November 2012; updated, school data, 2017)

  

 

About the students

Enrollment
719
Asian
0.6%
Black
65.4%
Hispanic
31.2%
White
1.0%
Other
2.0%
Free or reduced priced lunch
78%
Students with disabilities
17%
English language learners
3%

About the school

Shared campus?
Yes
This school shares the building with PS 197
Metal detectors?
No
How crowded? (Full is 100%)
117%
Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Attendance

Average daily attendance
87%
93% Citywide Average
How many students are chronically absent?
12%
20% Citywide Average

Is this school safe?

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
100%
77% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
12%
28% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
92%
82% Citywide Average
How many students say most students treat each other with respect?
51%
43% Citywide Average

About the leadership

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
100%
82% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal has a clear vision for this school?
100%
88% Citywide Average
How many teachers trust the principal?
99%
82% Citywide Average

About the teachers

How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
99%
81% Citywide Average
How many teachers think the staff collaborate to make this school run effectively?
100%
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?
64%
27% Citywide Average
How many students scored 3-4 on the state ELA exam?
37%
30% Citywide Average

Engaging curriculum?

How many students say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep them interested?
72%
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they are challenged in most or all of their classes?
67%
56% Citywide Average
How many students say the programs, classes and activities here encourage them to develop talent outside academics?
71%
72% Citywide Average

Are students prepared for high school?

How many 8th graders earn high school credit?
26%
26% Citywide Average
How many graduates of this school pass all their classes in 9th grade?
76%
84% 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
2.44
1.9 Citywide Average
Average math score for self-contained students
2.85
2.1 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for ICT students
2.2
1.9 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for self-contained students
2.43
2.2 Citywide Average
Average math score for SETSS students
2.85
2.3 Citywide Average
Average ELA score for SETSS students
2.54
2.3 Citywide Average
How many students say that students with disabilities are included in all activities?
58%
67% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school offers enough activities and services for their children's needs?
82%
88% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say this school works to achive the goals of their students' IEPs?
88%
91% Citywide Average
How many parents of students with disabilities say they are satisfied with the IEP development process at this school?
86%
90% Citywide Average
How many special ed students graduate in 4 years?
80%
93% Citywide Average
For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data
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