The Opportunity Charter School
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Extra support for students with disabilities
Some concerns about discipline and order
Opportunity Charter School serves a uniquely challenging population—more than half its students have a moderate to severe learning disability, and many have failed at other schools.
Founded in September 2004, Opportunity’s middle school was on the brink of closing due to poor performance in 2017, but it was granted a reprieve after pushback from parents, students and leaders. The school says it accepts students that other schools shun, either because they have poor grades or behavior problems. It asked the city to take this into consideration when evaluating their performance.
The school has a ways to go to create a safe and welcoming environment, according to school surveys. More than half the teachers report discipline and order are not maintained, and the suspension rate is almost four times the citywide average.
On the positive side, Opportunity offers free medical and dental care, mental health counseling, eye glasses, sex education and help with money management as part of a partnership with Children’s Aid-Carrera Program. “Life-time sports,” such as squash, swimming and tennis, are offered to help build healthy habits and as impulse control, according to the school website. Music, dance, writing and theater help teens find other avenues of expression and talent to boost self-esteem, even if they haven’t found success in academics.
Opportunity Charter has two programs to give teens a leg up in the job market whether they choose to attend college or not: Culinary Arts and Microsoft Certification.
The school shares a building with PS 241, STEM Institute and Harlem Success Academy 4.
Admissions: A lottery is held in April. Priority is given to District 3 residents. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, February 2019)