Regents’ Renewal Commentary

Excerpts from NYS Board of Regents Meeting March 2, 2020

Rosalyn Yalow Charter School 4-year Renewal

Here is a snapshot of why Yalow’s charter was renewed, as reported in the minutes of the NYS Board of Regents meeting on March 2, 2020:

“Rosalyn Yalow Charter School (RYCS) is meeting six and exceeding one out of the 10 benchmarks set forth in the Board of Regents Charter School Performance Framework. The school is approaching NYSED standards in the other three benchmarks. The school is implementing the mission, key design elements, education program, and organizational plan set forth in the charter.

Noteworthy: Rosalyn Yalow Charter School (RYCS) is making progress in implementing an ambitious educational model, characterized by a rigorous curriculum, particularly in mathematics; an enriched staffing model to support individual student learning pace and needs; extended learning time during the school day, week, and year; and attention to student and family social-emotional needs. The in-school chess and fencing programs avail RYCS students of additional enrichment opportunities not typically found in Bronx schools. The school’s early academic outcomes in the NYS testing program are strong. The validity of the model is promising, despite the fiscal, facility, and staffing challenges the school continues to face as it moves forward in its implementation.

Innovative Programs: Targeted recruitment of at-risk students is a strong RYCS commitment, and the school has built a successful model to eliminate the achievement gap for ELL/MLL and SWD students…In general, proportionately more ELLs/MLLs reach English proficiency at RYCS in comparison to ELLs/MLLs attending NYC CSD 9 schools. In ELA, Yalow’s ELL/MLL, SWD, and ED students tend to outperform students in schools with similar grade spans and demographics.

RYCS’s goal is developing the whole child, encouraging each young student to excel. The extended school day and two-week longer school year builds in supports for children beyond academic achievement. Partnerships with high-quality collaborators, including Bronx Arts Ensemble (BAE) for art, dance, and music, a satellite clinic run by Mosaic Mental Health Association, chess and fencing programs for all students and across the tri-state region for the chess and fencing teams—beginning in kindergarten—exposes at-risk children to worlds beyond the Bronx and prove that they can compete with the very best, building their self-esteem and encouraging deeper family engagement in a child’s growth. Yalow parents are learning to play chess with their children, and a few now compete in a parent section at chess tournaments. Grades 2-4 students engage in choral performances alongside the Bronx Opera Company at Bronx Community College and the BAE at Van Cortlandt Park, and RYCS fencers engage in fencing competitions against the elite Hunter Elementary school and private schools in Manhattan.

In addition, RYCS has created the Yalow “Yalowbirds” family support group—a 10-week after-school session for troubled students and their parent(s), fostering stronger family bonds and better student focus. Children in the support group engage in creative activities designed to develop better relations with other children. Parents are encouraged to practice self-care, stress management, and discipline strategies. Yalow held 100 family support group sessions in 2015–2018, attended by 63 student families.

Academic Program for Elementary School: Core Knowledge Language Arts (CKLA) and Singapore Math are the foundational curricula at RYCS. Science and social studies content are embedded in CKLA, and teachers supplement science instruction with Full Option Science System (FOSS) kits and bi-monthly American Museum of Natural History visits. Teachers develop flexible, differentiated grouping for guided classroom practice, using data from exit tickets, unit tests, and Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) and STEP assessments. Response to Intervention (RtI) groups are developed by interventionists with teacher input, using the same approach.”