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

What's Your Education Story?

As the 2018 school year begins, join us for storytelling from Indianapolis educators

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat
Sarah TeKolste, right, and Lori Jenkins at a Teacher Story Slam, in April.

In partnership with Teachers Lounge Indy, Chalkbeat is hosting another teacher story slam this fall featuring educators from across the city.

Over the past couple of years, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from teachers and students through the events. Some of our favorites touched on how a teacher won the trust of her most skeptical student, why another teacher decided to come out to his students, and one educator’s call to ramp up the number of students pursuing a college education.

The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.

For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.

Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.