Excellence Boys Uncommon Charter Academy
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Issues with bullying and discipline
Excellence Boys Charter School Middle Academy says that its students will go on to graduate from college “despite the very grim odds” facing young African-American men in this country.
The school, which serves grades 5 to 8 and also has an elementary school, is part of Uncommon Schools, a large charter network that aims to get its largely low-income black and Latino students into college and give them the skills to succeed there.
According to the 2016-2017 school quality report, Excellence Boys has a good record of getting even students who entered the school performing below grade level in math or English to move up during their middle school years. To accomplish this, the school, like others in the Uncommon network, provides middle school students with two periods of math and two of English—one focused on reading and one on writing—every day. Classes start in late August and students attend school from 7:40 a.m. to 4 p.m. Struggling students are encouraged to attend classes on Saturday. The school emphasizes an orderly, disciplined environment, and uniforms are mandatory.
According to the school’s website, at Excellence Boys “it is ‘cool’ for boys to be smart, curious scholars who show excitement for school and enthusiasm for learning. Free from social pressures and stereotypes, students at Excellence Boys help each other succeed and feel safe taking responsible academic and personal risks.”
The school holds a community meeting every Friday, which features student performances and presentations. The student who “best exemplifies” school values receives the Spirit Stick, indicating that he is to serve as a role model for other students over the next seven days.
There has been concern about bullying at the school. In 2016, PIX 11 news reported, a student gave a speech at 6th-grade graduation detailing how he was bullied and contending that his teacher did little about it. On the most recent school survey, two-thirds of students said bullying occurred some or most of the time. Only 37 percent think their fellow students listen in class, well below the citywide average, and fewer than half think discipline in the school is fair.
Uncommon started with middle schools and has expanded to include elementary and high schools. It envisions all of its students staying in the network for kindergarten through 12th grade. Many of Excellence Boys’ middle school students also attended the Excellence Boys elementary school. Students in the middle school can go on to Uncommon Charter High School in Crown Heights.
ADMISSIONS: Lottery for 5th grade, with priority to District 16 students. The school fills any vacancies in grades 6 through 8 from its waitlist. Applications are available from the Uncommon website. (Gail Robinson, school website, web reports and DOE statistics, April 2018)Read more