admissions season

Number of charters using common online app grows fivefold

For the third straight year, the city’s charter sector has made it easier to apply to charter schools.

This year, 110 of the city’s 136 charter schools will be allowing students to use a digital version of the common application to apply to multiple schools by their April deadlines. Charter schools are not allowed to close applications before April 1.

Until two years ago, families applying to charters schools had to fill out individual applications for each school or network of schools they wanted to attend. In 2010, the city debuted a common application system on paper by which students could apply to multiple schools using a single application. Last year, city’s main charter advocacy organization, the Charter Center, devised the Common Online Charter Application to give students access to the common application online for 20 pilot schools.

The push to streamline the charter school application process counters criticism that some schools’ applications are time-consuming, complicated, and too onerous for some families. The common application may also help schools draw more applicants and maintain longer waiting lists — one figure the charter sector points to as evidence the public wants more charter schools.

The online application asks students for their names, addresses, current school, and other the basic information needed to enter the lotteries that take place when schools receive more applicants than they have seats to fill. Many of the schools also have their own applications.

This year, the online forms will be available in Spanish, Haitian Creole and French for the first time.

Two notable networks that aren’t on the list are the Success Academy Charter Network and KIPP, but a spokesperson for the Charter Center said Success would be joining the list.

The list of schools participating:

Academy of the City Charter School
Achievement First Apollo Elementary School
Achievement First Brownsville Elementary School
Achievement First Bushwick Elementary School
Achievement First Crown Heights Elementary School
Achievement First East New York Elementary School
Achievement First Endeavor Elementary School
Achievement First Endeavor Middle School
Amber Charter School
Bedford Stuyvesant Collegiate Charter School
Bedford Stuyvesant New Beginnings Charter School
Beginning with Children Charter School
Beginning with Children II Charter School
Bronx Academy of Promise Charter School
Bronx Charter School for Excellence
Bronx Charter School for the Arts
Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls Charter School
Bronx Preparatory Charter School
Brooklyn Ascend Charter School
Brooklyn Dreams Charter School
Brooklyn East Collegiate Charter School
Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School
Brooklyn Prospect Charter School
Brooklyn Scholars Charter School
Brooklyn Urban Garden Charter School
Broome Street Academy Charter High School
Brownsville Ascend Charter School
Brownsville Collegiate Charter School
Bushwick Ascend Charter School
Canarsie Ascend Charter School
Carl C. Icahn Charter School 1
Carl C. Icahn Charter School 3
Carl C. Icahn Charter School 4
Carl C. Icahn Charter School 5
Carl C. Icahn Charter School 6
Central Queens Academy Charter School

Children’s Aid College Prep

Community Partnership Charter School
Community Roots Charter School
Coney Island Preparatory Public Charter School
Democracy Prep Charter High School
Democracy Prep Charter Middle School
Democracy Prep Harlem Middle School
Democracy Prep III Middle School
DREAM Charter School
East Harlem Scholars Academy
Excellence Boys Charter School
Excellence Girls Charter School
Fahari Academy Charter School
Future Leaders Institute Charter School
Girls Prep Bronx (Public Prep Schools)
Girls Prep Lower East Side (Public Prep Schools)
Grand Concourse Academy Charter School
Green Dot New York Charter School
Growing Up Green Charter School
Harlem Link Charter School
Harlem Prep Elementary School
Hyde Leadership Charter School (Bronx)
Hyde Leadership Charter School (Brooklyn)
Icahn Charter School 2
Imagine Me Leadership Charter School
Innovate Manhattan Charter School
Invictus Preparatory Charter School
Inwood Academy for Leadership Charter School
John V. Lindsay Wildcat Charter School
John W. Lavelle Preparatory Charter School
Kings Collegiate Charter School
La Cima Charter School
Launch Expeditionary Learning Charter School
Leadership Prep #4 Charter School
Leadership Prep Bedford Stuyvesant Charter School
Leadership Prep Brownsville Charter School
Leadership Prep Ocean Hill Charter School
Lefferts Gardens Charter School
Manhattan Charter School
Manhattan Charter School II
Merrick Academy Charter School
Metropolitan Lighthouse Charter School
Mott Hall Charter School
New Dawn Charter High School
New Heights Academy Charter School
New Hope Academy Charter School
New World Preparatory Charter School
New York City Montessori Charter School
Ocean Hill Collegiate Charter School
Opportunity Charter School
Our World Neighborhood Charter School
PAVE Academy Charter School
Riverton Street Charter School
Rochdale Early Advantage Charter School
Sisulu-Walker Charter School of Harlem
South Bronx Classical Charter School
St Hope Leadership Academy
Staten Island Community Charter School
Summit Academy Charter School
Teaching Firms of America-Professional Preparatory Charter School
The Bronx Charter School for Better Learning
The Bronx Charter School for Children
The Brooklyn Charter School
The Cultural Arts Academy at Spring Creek Charter School
The Equity Project (TEP) Charter School
The Ethical Community Charter School
The Neighborhood Charter School of Harlem
The Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation
The Renaissance Charter School
The UFT Charter School
Urban Dove
VOICE Charter School
Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School

call out

Our readers had a lot to say in 2017. Make your voice heard in 2018.

PHOTO: Chris Hill/Whitney Achievement School
Teacher Carl Schneider walks children home in 2015 as part of the after-school walking program at Whitney Achievement Elementary School in Memphis. This photograph went viral and inspired a First Person reflection from Schneider in 2017.

Last year, some of our most popular pieces came from readers who told their stories in a series that we call First Person.

For instance, Carl Schneider wrote about the 2015 viral photograph that showed him walking his students home from school in a low-income neighborhood of Memphis. His perspective on what got lost in the shuffle continues to draw thousands of readers.

First Person is also a platform to influence policy. Recent high school graduate Anisah Karim described the pressure she felt to apply to 100 colleges in the quest for millions of dollars in scholarships. Because of her piece, the school board in Memphis is reviewing the so-called “million-dollar scholar” culture at some high schools.

Do you have a story to tell or a point to make? In 2018, we want to give an even greater voice to students, parents, teachers, administrators, advocates and others who are trying to improve public education in Tennessee. We’re looking for essays of 500 to 750 words grounded in personal experience.

Whether your piece is finished or you just have an idea to discuss, drop a line to Community Editor Caroline Bauman at

But first, check out these top First Person pieces from Tennesseans in 2017:

My high school told me to apply to 100 colleges — and I almost lost myself in the process

“A counselor never tried to determine what the absolute best school for me would be. I wasted a lot of time, money and resources trying to figure that out. And I almost lost myself in the process.” —Anisah Karim     

Why I’m not anxious about where my kids go to school — but do worry about the segregation that surrounds us

“In fact, it will be a good thing for my boys to learn alongside children who are different from them in many ways — that is one advantage they will have that I did not, attending parochial schools in a lily-white suburb.” —Mary Jo Cramb

I covered Tennessee’s ed beat for Chalkbeat. Here’s what I learned.

“Apathy is often cited as a major problem facing education. That’s not the case in Tennessee.” —Grace Tatter

I went viral for walking my students home from school in Memphis. Here’s what got lost in the shuffle.

“When #blacklivesmatter is a controversial statement; when our black male students have a one in three chance of facing jail time; when kids in Memphis raised in the bottom fifth of the socioeconomic bracket have a 2.6 percent chance of climbing to the top fifth — our walking students home does not fix that, either.” —Carl Schneider

I think traditional public schools are the backbone of democracy. My child attends a charter school. Let’s talk.

“It was a complicated choice to make. The dialogue around school choice in Nashville, though, doesn’t often include much nuance — or many voices of parents like me.” —Aidan Hoyal

I grew up near Charlottesville and got a misleading education about Civil War history. Students deserve better.

“In my classroom discussions, the impetus for the Civil War was resigned to a debate over the balance of power between federal and state governments. Slavery was taught as a footnote to the cause of the war.” —Laura Faith Kebede

Weekend Reads

Need classroom decor inspiration? These educators have got you covered.

This school year, students will spend about 1,000 hours in school —making their classrooms a huge part of their learning experience.

We’re recognizing educators who’ve poured on the pizazz to make students feel welcome. From a 9th-grade “forensics lab” decked out in caution tape to a classroom stage complete with lights to get first graders pumped about public speaking, these crafty teachers have gone above and beyond to create great spaces.

Got a classroom of your own to show off? Know someone that should be on this list? Let us know!

Jaclyn Flores, First Grade Dual Language, Rochester, New York
“Having a classroom that is bright, cheerful, organized and inviting allows my students to feel pride in their classroom as well as feel welcome. My students look forward to standing on the stage to share or sitting on special chairs to dive into their learning. This space is a safe place for my students and we take pride in what it has become.”

Jasmine, Pre-K, Las Vegas, Nevada
“My classroom environment helps my students because providing calming colors and a home-like space makes them feel more comfortable in the classroom and ready to learn as first-time students!”


Oneika Osborne, 10th Grade Reading, Miami Southridge Senior High School, Miami, Florida
“My classroom environment invites all of my students to constantly be in a state of celebration and self-empowerment at all points of the learning process. With inspirational quotes, culturally relevant images, and an explosion of color, my classroom sets the tone for the day every single day as soon as we walk in. It is one of optimism, power, and of course glitter.”

Kristen Poindexter, Kindergarten, Spring Mill Elementary School, Indianapolis, Indiana
“I try very hard to make my classroom a place where memorable experiences happen. I use songs, finger plays, movement, and interactive activities to help cement concepts in their minds. It makes my teacher heart so happy when past students walk by my classroom and start their sentence with, “Remember when we…?”. We recently transformed our classroom into a Mad Science Lab where we investigated more about our 5 Senses.”


Brittany, 9th Grade Biology, Dallas, Texas
“I love my classroom environment because I teach Biology, it’s easy to relate every topic back to Forensics and real-life investigations! Mystery always gets the students going!”


Ms. Heaton, First Grade, Westampton, New Jersey
“As an educator, it is my goal to create a classroom environment that is positive and welcoming for students. I wanted to create a learning environment where students feel comfortable and in return stimulates student learning. A classroom is a second home for students so I wanted to ensure that the space was bright, friendly, and organized for the students to be able to use each and every day.”

D’Essence Grant, 8th Grade ELA, KIPP Houston, Houston, Texas
“Intentionally decorating my classroom was my first act of showing my students I care about them. I pride myself on building relationships with my students and them knowing I care about them inside and outside of the classroom. Taking the time to make the classroom meaningful and creative as well building a safe place for our community helps establish an effective classroom setting.”


Jayme Wiertzema, Elementary Art, Worthington, Minnesota
“I’m looking forward to having a CLASSROOM this year. The past two years I have taught from a cart and this year my amazing school district allowed me to have a classroom in our school that is busting at the seams! I’m so excited to use my classroom environment to inspire creativity in my students, get to know them and learn from their amazing imaginations in art class!”


Melissa Vecchio, 4th Grade, Queens, New York
“Since so much of a student’s time is spent inside their classroom, the environment should be neat, organized, easy to move around in but most of all positive. I love to use a theme to reinforce great behavior. I always give the students a choice in helping to design bulletin boards and desk arrangements. When they are involved they take pride in the classroom, and enjoy being there.”