“Intentionally Integrated” Charter School Approved For 2020 In UWS/Harlem District

A charter school network’s plan to open an “intentionally integrated” middle school in Manhattan’s third school district — which spans the entire Upper West Side and parts of Harlem — will move forward after securing a key state approval.

The State University of New York Charter Schools Institute voted to approve the KIPP NYC plan to open the “KIPP Beyond Charter School” for the 2020 school year, the institute announced Monday. The proposal was one of seven new charters approved by the state.

KIPP’s new school will open with a fifth grade class of 95 students and grow to serve 451 students in the fifth through ninth grades, according to the state institute. KIPP NYC — which currently operates 13 schools in the city and is in the middle of an expansion in the Bronx — announced it was “exploring” options to open an “intentionally integrated” school in District 3 in a December letter from the network’s superintendent.

The city Department of Education did not accurately reflect community opposition to the school in its assessment sent to the SUNY Charter Schools Institute, which cited equal support both for and against the school…

Kim Watkins, president of the Community Education Council for the third school district — a volunteer body made up of parents from the school district — told Patch the council is “disappointed” that the proposal was approved despite opposition from the council and the majority of elected officials in the district. The city Department of Education did not accurately reflect community opposition to the school in its assessment sent to the SUNY Charter Schools Institute, which cited equal support both for and against the school, Watkins said.

The Community Education Council will continue to work with state and city agencies to get a better understanding of the process that led to KIPP’s application being approved, Watkins said.

“I’m not optimistic that we can stop it, however I am fueled by the desire to unearth the corruption and lack of transparency in the approval process and evaluation process,” Watkins said. “The CEC will continue to try to get to the truth if for no other reason than to set a precedent for how decisions are made moving forward.”

The CEC was opposed to the new “intentionally integrated” school because it will further proliferate the district with charter schools and may undermine district-wide diversity initiatives that have been implemented within the past two years.

Watkins said that KIPP’s justification that District 3 is one of the most segregated school districts in the city should be made invalid by the district’s 2018 middle school diversity plan.

Watkins said that KIPP’s justification that District 3 is one of the most segregated school districts in the city should be made invalid by the district’s 2018 middle school diversity plan.

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“Coming in next year and extracting 95 fifth graders before having the opportunity to have full view of 17 public middle school options is going to effect the intricacies of our delicately balanced set asides for academic and socioeconomic diversity,” Watkins said.

It’s unclear where KIPP’s new middle school will open in District 3, but Watkins estimated that the network will want to open somewhere on the Upper West Side that’s located centrally within the district.

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