Academic Leadership Charter Elementary School
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High test scores
High teacher turnover
Academic Leadership Charter School, an independent charter school founded in 2009, offers a program that stresses literacy and demands its students work hard. It won a Blue Ribbon for academic excellence from the U.S. Department of Education in 2019.
The school day is longer than standard, allowing for four periods of reading, writing and vocabulary building. Academic Leadership sees standardized tests as a key indicator of performance, noting on its website that the school’s goal is for 80 percent of student to score at level 3 or 4 on the tests. In 2019, it exceeded that goal in English and just fell short in math.
The school expects parents to play a significant role in their child’s education, reading and studying with them every day. According to a Department of Education survey, students see their fellow students as conscientious and say teachers give them extra help and support when they need it. They also report that bullying is relatively rare. Teachers and students expressed concern about the safety of the neighborhood.
Executive director Norma Figueroa-Hurwitz, a longtime educator in the city, founded Academic Leadership with her husband Ted Hurwitz. Bronx native Leena Varghese, one of the original teachers at Academic Leadership, has been principal since 2012.Acording to New York State Education Department figures, teachers leave at a higher rate than the city average and a large percentage are relatively inexperienced and uncertified.
Academic Leadership’s elementary school (grades k to 4) shares a building with PS 65, also called Mother Hale School. The middle school is a short walk away and shares a building at 470 Jackson Ave., with University Prep Charter Middle School and with the J.M. Rapport School for Career Development, a school for teenagers with special needs.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school has a lower than average percentage of student with disabilities though those that do attend far outscore their counterparts around the city on standardized tests.
ADMISSIONS: Students are selected by lottery with preferences for siblings of students who attend Academic Leadership, residents of District 7 and low-income students. (Gail Robinson, from web reports, June 2020)