Charters, Public Schools and A Chasm In Between

In New York, the Gates Foundation, state and city education officials, and charter school leaders have worked to reduce friction. Charter schools often share classroom space, cafeterias and gyms with traditional public schools, which has created hostility within some buildings.

The Bronx Charter School for Excellence and the nearby Public School 85 are exceptions. Since winning a state grant in 2013, the schools have worked together to improve the quality of their kindergarten programs. They have held teacher exchanges, and every week they come together to discuss topics like student participation and reading strategies.

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A Tale of Two Cities' Charter School Reactions

By Angela Carella

Hours after the state Board of Education on Wednesday announced it had approved two charter schools for Bridgeport, Mayor Bill Finch issued a statement.

"As the father of two kids who are currently attending Bridgeport public schools, I strongly believe that every child in Bridgeport deserves a fair shot at getting a high-quality education. And high-performing public charter schools in the Park City and across the state are preparing kids for college and to compete for 21st-century jobs. That's why I'm thrilled the state Board of Education gave the green light for these schools ... helping to ensure that additional high-quality public school options will be available for kids and families in our state's largest city."

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Stamford Charter School Wins State Approval!

HARTFORD -- A controversial plan to open a charter school modeled after a renowned school in the Bronx, N.Y., gained approval from the state Wednesday in the face of overwhelming community resistance.

The state Board of Education unanimously approved the Stamford Charter School for Excellence's application for 2015, along with three other charter schools in Bridgeport and New Haven.

"Thank you for hanging in there," said a woman who hugged Charlene Reid, the head of the effort in Stamford, after the vote.

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School Leaders, Students and Families Call on Board of Education to Approve Four New Charter School Proposals

HARTFORD, C.T. – On Tuesday, April 1, dozens of charter school supporters from across the state – school and community leaders, clergy, parents and students - gathered at Jumoke Academy Honors at the Hartford Conservatory to urge Governor Dannel Malloy and the Connecticut State Board of Education to approve four new pub lic charter schools.

The State Board of Education will convene on Wednesday, April 2 at 9:30 am to vote on the four new charter school proposals, which include Booker T. Washington Academy (New Haven), Capital Prep Harbor (Bridgeport), Great Oaks Charter School (Bridgeport) and Stamford Charter School for Excellence (Stamford).

“By opening these four schools, hundreds of families in Connecticut can have a fighting chance,” said Jeremiah Grace, Connecticut state director, Northeast Charter Schools Network. “There are thousands of parents and students that want options now. And they deserve them.”

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Charter School Plan A Call For Open Minds

As a long-ago member of the Board of Education, Michael Guroian was intrigued to learn about a proposal to open a charter elementary school in Stamford.

If approved by the state, the Stamford Charter School for Excellence would be the city's first for elementary students, and it would target those who underperform just as they enter the system -- the critical time for ensuring educational success.

Guroian read the charter school's state application on the Board of Education website. He learned it would be modeled on one of the best elementary charter schools in the nation, the Bronx Charter School for Excellence, so Guroian visited that website, too.

"I did quite a bit of research," Guroian said. "There was a lot of fascinating information about how students are performing in Stamford, in Connecticut, and in the country. This school had found a way to do in a handful of years what Stamford has been trying to do for more than 30 years.

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Hearing Divided on Charter Proposal

STAMFORD -- Two entrenched factions met in the lunchroom at the Government Center -- one to attack and one to support a plan to start a new charter elementary school in Stamford, based on a Bronx, N.Y., model.

Fifty-two people spoke. The sides largely broke down as Stamford public school backers, administrators, board of education members and parents of students in the district, who were squarely against the proposal. Supporters were largely connected to theBronx Charter School for Excellence, the school upon which the proposed Stamford Charter School for Excellence would be modeled.

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A Charter School's Philosophy

This is going to be a bad news-good news piece.

First, the bad news. We regularly hear how the United States isn't preparing enough low-income students for college and the careers of the future. What's more depressing is in Stamford, that problem is very real. Roughly half of Stamford's low-income elementary school children are below grade level in reading, writing and math.

To make matters worse, these students and their families have very few public school options. And they can't afford to move to a higher-quality school district.

But there is hope, and that's the good news. We have proposed creating a new public school for Stamford children that's replicates a nationally recognized public school in the Bronx, N.Y., named the Bronx Charter School for Excellence (BCSE).

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The Proposed Stamford Charter School is for Stamford Students

There’s been some confusion about the proposal, led by a Bronx Charter School, to establish the Stamford Charter School for Excellence.

Just to be clear, this would be a state-chartered school for Stamford and Connecticut residents. The proposal is not to open a school for Bronx kids in Stamford.

State and local funds would be used for the school if approved by the State Board of Education.

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Bronx Charter School for Excellence Wants A Charter in Stamford, CT

STAMFORD -- An acclaimed Bronx, N.Y., charter school is looking to expand its teaching model to Stamford, where local school officials are struggling to address overcrowding in its elementary schools.

"We would work with the entire community," saidCharlene Reid, head of school for The Bronx Charter School for Excellence. "There are students we can help."

Reid and her group filed an application with the state in January seeking approval to open a second school and establish The Stamford Charter School for Excellence. The state Board of Education would have to approve the application and a public hearing is to be held March 11 at the Stamford Government Center beginning at 6 p.m.

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