“At Explore, our teachers genuinely care about us, but there are no passes either. We are expected to achieve.”
Since we opened our first school in 2002, the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) has closed 108 failing public schools. Nevertheless, there are still more than 30,000 students in New York City attending schools with unsafe conditions, high teacher turnover, low performance, and even lower expectations.
To address this intolerable reality, we are leveraging our experience, relationships, and evidence of results to reach thousands of students stuck in low performing schools in Brooklyn. In partnership with the New York City DOE, we have identified two strategies to attack this problem:
The first strategy is to co-locate a charter school in a building where a chronically failing school has previously been the community's sole option. In fact, our third school, Excel Charter School, is one such example of this method in action.
The second strategy is to re-open a traditional public school that was closed due to poor performance as a high-performing public school.
With either approach we will prove that by working with students in traditional public schools that are failing, we will prove that ALL children can learn in an environment with high expectations, rigorous academics and caring and committed adults.
What makes Explore capable of taking on school turnaround? The evidence is in our schools:
Our schools are successful: In addition to high test scores, nearly 100% of our eighth grade graduates go on to college preparatory high schools and 94% of our students return to our schools each year.
Our schools are sustainable: Schools in the Explore Network operate on the per pupil allotment. They do not fundraise for any operations ensuring focus on academics instead of raising money.
Our schools are supportive: We celebrate and support our staff, resulting in one third of our teachers are in their fourth year with Explore Schools, and over 20 percent have been with us five or more years.