The benefits of New York City charter schools

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The school choice movement has provided parents in New York City and across the United States with more options on where to send their children. While the only legitimate options in the past were between public, private and homeschooling, charter schools have become a viable and attractive option for a child’s education.

A charter school is an independently-operated public school that usually operates under a contract with a government agency or nonprofit organization. It allows the school to not have to follow a mandated curriculum, thus designing their classrooms and lessons to fit individual students’ needs.

While the idea of charter schools has been met with plenty of criticism, there are overarching advantages of sending your child to such an institution:

Adapting to challenges

Within today’s educational landscape lies the growing challenge of properly informing, preparing and developing students who learn and grow under different circumstances.

There are four ways children can properly learn and retain the material of their coursework: visual, auditory, reading/writing and kinesthetic.

Charter schools can provide a perfect match.

If your child is struggling with learning disabilities that withhold them from flourishing at public or private schools, there are charter school options.

If your child is advanced and is not being challenged enough in most group settings, there are charter school options.

Specialization with no tuition

Charter schools provide the best of both schooling worlds.

While they are independent, like most public and private schools, they must adhere to certain guidelines: They still must have licensed teachers; students must take state-mandated tests; and underperforming institutions can be closed.

But what sets charter schools apart from public schooling is the ability to tweak the curriculum and offer specific courses.

The best part? Parents won’t have to pay tuition as they would in private school. Charters are funded on tax dollars.

They outperform public school

Looking at the data, New York City charter schools are putting up better numbers than public schools.

According to the New York Department of Education, public school students grades three through eight were 47% proficient in English language arts (ELA) and 46% proficient in math in 2019.

Per NYCCharterSchools.org, charter schools in the city provided much higher proficiency numbers in 2020.

Math proficiency rates were at 63.87% for students grades three through eight, while ELA proficiency rates were at 57.3%.

Those numbers result in more learning gains, allowing students to learn more material in the same amount of time as public school curriculum allows.

Charter schools have plenty of support

Parents’ schedules are already packed as it is. Their wallets might not be overflowing, either. The last thing they need to do is participate in fundraisers to get their public school some extra money.

Charter schools don’t have that problem as they are privately funded more often than not, meaning parents won’t have to donate more of their hard-earned money to ensure their child gets a proper education.

Here are some charter schools to consider in Queens:

Academy of the City Charter School
31-29 60th St., Woodside

Mission: Academy of the City fosters community, supports families, welcomes children of all backgrounds, celebrates diversity and promotes social justice. With a challenging, hands-on liberal arts experience, the school strives to develop joyful, creative, independent and successful lifelong learners. With a progressive educational model, the academy’s goal is to motivate and prepare students to engage in a lifelong love affair with learning, resulting in a meaningful and productive life. The school’s teachers are firmly committed to empowering students to embrace their proficiencies, skills and interests, and to eventually take their place as citizens of today’s increasingly global world. The academy believes in an integrated educational approach, where even the youngest students experience personal and educational growth as a result of a diverse student body that more closely mirrors the world outside the academy’s doors. The school’s rich and varied curriculum and our focus on the uniqueness of each child’s needs and aspirations is a proven model for long-term success.

CQA MS – 55-30 Junction Blvd., Elmhurst
CQA ES – 75-01 31st  Ave., 2nd floor, East Elmhurst
Announcing CQA’S permanent home at 88-08 Justice Ave., Elmhurst
Moving in fall 2022
Central Queens Academy has the highest performing charter middle school in Queens and is opening a new elementary school. Serving scholars in District 24, CQA reflects the diversity of the district with scholars from over 30 different nations speaking over 20 different languages. With small class sizes and personalized attention, CQA sees much more than one year’s worth of growth in English and math annually in the vast majority of scholars. CQA outperformed middle schools in English and math for six consecutive years. Scholars are accepted to top high schools like Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech, Bronx Science and Townsend Harris.

Elm Community Charter School
69-26 Cooper Ave., Glendale

Elm Community Charter School is a K-4 elementary school servicing the families in Central Queens (District 24). Elm’s mission is to cultivate student leaders with the character and capacity to form their own identity, seize any opportunity and shape the world around them. Elm has a focus on small group learning, inquiry-based learning, social emotional learning, and creative courses. At Elm, the schedule allows for two to three hours of small group learning daily. Elm’s academic program is designed to equip students with the fundamental reading, writing, math, and science skills they need to engage with relevant everyday problems and questions. Elm additionally has a social emotional curriculum that empowers students to advocate for themselves and others. Visit elmcharterschool.org/apply to apply to Elm.

Forte Prep
51-35 Reeder St., Elmhurst

Forte Prep is a charter middle school open to students in grades five through eight. The school is driven by a philosophy of achieving excellence in all facets of life and learning with the belief that education can transform the lives of students from diverse backgrounds. Through rigorous academics, creative and technological enrichment and leadership development, students are prepared to excel at college preparatory high schools and beyond. Forte Prep graduates can enroll in top-quality public, independent and charter high schools across the city and beyond, and the staff works with students and families to help them get there starting Day 1.

Middle Village Prep
68-02 Metropolitan Ave., Middle Village

Middle Village Prep prepares students for success at a selective college prep high school of their choice. The curriculum is rigorous and designed to meet and surpass the New York State Education Department requirements. Central to the instructional model is a longer school day and increased classroom instructional time that is devoted to curriculum subjects. Students will master skills and attain subject proficiency by the end of the eighth grade. Included is a requirement that all students study Latin, a key language for building a strong vocabulary and understanding romance languages such as Spanish and Italian, for three years. Mathematics and English language arts are prioritized by allocating twice the amount of instructional time that is customarily devoted to these critical instructional areas. Science, social studies, the arts, physical education and health, along with time allocated for enrichment and extracurricular activities, round out the typical daily schedule. It requires that all students take available Regents-level courses, such as algebra 1, Earth science and U.S. history 1 in grade eight.

New Vision Advanced Math & Science H.S. IV
156-10 Baisley Blvd., South Jamaica
For inquiries: ams4admissions@charter.newvisions.org

AMS IV is a STEAM school where the culture is centered on PRIDE – perseverance, respect, integrity, discipline and excellence. Scholars experience a family-like atmosphere that prioritizes project-based learning and supporting their social and emotional needs. Through an advisory structure, AMS IV ensures a strong connection between the school community and families. AMS IV offers scholar supports that foster life skills beyond graduation by way of courses focused in college and career readiness, entrepreneurship and health and wellness. AMS IV’s grade level school counselors work with scholars from ninth grade through 12th grade, and a social worker is designated to the lower house (ninth and 10th grade) and upper house (11th and 12th grade).

The Renaissance Charter School
35-59 81st St., Jackson Heights

The Renaissance Charter School 2
60-02 Maspeth Ave., Maspeth

The Renaissance Charter School is a pre-K through 12 public school whose mission is to foster educated, responsible young leaders who through their own personal growth will spark a renaissance in New York.  Renaissance has been a leader in national progressive education through its example, outreach and collaboration for over 20 years. As a leading charter school, Renaissance commits to serving as a strong model of public school reform. Renaissance has a unique “three-tiered curriculum” consisting of core studies, experiential learning and community involvement.

The Renaissance Charter School 2, located in Community School District 24, is accepting applications for kindergarten through second grade. Like Renaissance, TRCS 2 provides a rigorous, innovative and progressive educational program that will help students become lifelong learners, global citizens and leaders in the renaissance of New York City. TRCS 2 continually accepts applications for any available seats throughout the school year. Applications for both schools are available through the NYC Charter School Center common application.

Valence Prep
32-20 108th St., East Elmhurst

Valence College Preparatory Charter School is a tuition-free fifth- through eighth-grade public charter school for the students of Queens. Valence equips all scholars with the academic skills, professional habits and strength of character to graduate from college and lead lives of opportunity.

VOICE Charter School of NY
36-24 12th St., Long Island City

VOICE Charter School is an elementary and middle school located in Long Island City. They combine rigorous academics with daily instruction in choral singing, encouraging creative and critical thinking while improving academic performance. Opened to NYC kindergarten and first-grade students in September 2008 across two sites located two blocks apart, VOICE has added a full grade every school year and now serves students in grades K-8. The mission of VOICE Charter School of NY is to create a safe and healthy learning environment that will nurture, motivate, and challenge all of children to achieve the highest level of academic excellence and to develop into mindful, responsible, contributing participants in their education, their community, and the diverse society in which we live.

This story first appeared on newyorkfamily.com.

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