Harriet Tubman Charter School
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Focus on science
No full size gym; school in two locations
Founded in 2004, The Harriet Tubman Charter School is a kindergarten through 8th grade school with a focus on science. Students are called scholars and wear uniforms of khaki pants and white shirts. The school day is longer than a typical public school day.
The school has a Maker Space and a Robotics program; 5th through 8th grade students participate in frequent hands-on science lab experiments. A video on the website shows children examining goldfish under microscopes as they study blood circulation in fish.
State test scores in reading and math are solid and improving, including for children with special needs and those learning to speak English. The school does not recruit as many English Language Learners and students with disabilities as other schools in the area, such as PS 63, which has roughly double the number. Recruitment efforts show up in board meeting minutes on the Tubman website, such as outreach to local public housing developments.
Tubman is housed in two locations about half a mile from each other: students in kindergarten through 4th grade are located at 3565 Third Ave., while 5th through 8th grades are at 1176 Franklin Ave.
The Third Avenue location is a former supermarket building whose parking lot has been turned into a schoolyard with climbing equipment and swings for the youngest students. A cafeteria, all-purpose room, library, and computer room are on the lower level. The upper school is housed in a former Catholic school. There is no full size gym in the building.
Tubman is run by LearnNow, a division of Edison Schools, perhaps the best-known of the for-profit public-school management companies.
ADMISSIONS: A lottery is held in April. Priority is given to District 9 residents. Seats have opened in grades K, 1, and all middle school grades in recent years. Some students leave because they move out of the district, according to board meeting minutes. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, March 2020)