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Highly demanded charter school to expand

Kindergarten students at Ascend Charter School. The school, which currently serves pupils from kindergarten to 10th grade, is hoping to expand the school with the opening of two new schools by 2018. Applications for kindergarten and first grade are amond the highest in demand, according to the schools president.
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A local charter school is expanding their highly demanded academia for Brooklyn students.

Ascend Public Charter Schools, which operates nine low and middle grade schools throughout Brooklyn, is hoping to open two more schools in East New York and East Flatbush by 2018. The school currently has about 6,000 students on a wait-list and the future expansion is hoping to satisfy the increasing list, said a school administrator.

“We have a tremendous demand,” said Susan Pollack, president of Ascend Charter Schools. “We get five applications for one seat for each school.”

And it is the lower grades such as kindergarten and first grade that are especially seeing a high number of applications, said Pollack.

She also said the schools academic services are designed after some of the city’s top private schools, and it’s a standout quality.

“Every one of our school outperforms other schools in their district on New York State core curriculum exams, and we very proud,” she said. “What we offer is very unique education model on the curricular side, and we offer rich programs and a liberal arts curriculum modelled by some of the finest schools in country, and we’re offering this to kids underserved by education opportunit­ies.”

Ascend Public Charter Schools operates in Bushwick, Brownsville, and Canarsie, serving 4,000 students from kindergarten to the 10th grade. Their plan is to open additional schools in districts 21 and 22, which will serve students by lottery in East Flatbush and East New York. And with nine high performing schools that outperform other schools within their district, Pollack is confident that the State University of New York (SUNY) Charter Schools Institute will approve their proposal sooner than later.

“We’ve submitted full applications to SUNY before and letters of support from community leaders,” said Pollack. “It’s a long process but no doubt we feel pretty comfortable — we had our last five other schools approved by SUNY, and we have shown our academic and cultural growth.”

School administrators are very happy about the rise of their charter schools in the city, and are very optimistic about the support they get from their community, said Pollack.

“We are incredibly enthusiastic about the opportunity to do this,” she said. “We have a very long wait list, and that gives us ample reason to believe that the community and parents believe in us and our leadership with school.”

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimon@cnglocal.com.

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