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Collaboration Between District and Charter Schools


Contact: Kerri Lyon, 917-348-2191,

With support from Gates Foundation, Charter Center to Partner with Existing Organizations to Increase Capacity of All Schools to Raise Achievement

December 10, 2012 (NY, NY) – The New York City Charter School Center today announced it will partner with several local organizations to build on its work of scaling and replicating successful practices within different public schools so that they may benefit as many children as possible. The work will be funded through a $3.7 million grant from the Gates Foundation. New York City is one of seven U.S. cities to receive additional Gates Foundation funding through the District-Charter Collaboration Compact initiative to deepen their district-charter partnerships and improve efforts to prepare students for college and careers.

"There are so many promising practices taking place in public schools throughout the five boroughs and with these additional dollars, we can really begin to draw them out of the confines of the classroom and spread them system wide," said James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center. "The Gates Foundation deserves a lot of credit for its commitment to cutting through the charter vs. district barriers and trying to harness excellence from wherever it is taking hold."

"The goal is to support these communities in significantly boosting the number of students enrolled in high-performing schools. These cities understand that opening the lines of communication and sharing best practices across schools are an effective way to do that," said Vicki Phillips, director of education, College Ready, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "They have moved beyond the question of whether charters or district schools are better and are working together to benefit all students in these communities. These cities serve as models for what collaboration can do, and we applaud these local leaders for their commitment to advancing college readiness."

The funding helps support the city's District-Charter Collaboration Compact, in which the district and charter schools have committed to working more closely to improve achievement. New York City signed on to a compact nearly two years ago. With these additional funds, the Charter Center plans to partner with two leading New York City nonprofit groups to build the capacity of schools to succeed—New Visions for Public Schools and Coro New York Leadership Center.

New Visions for Public Schools
The Charter Center will partner with New Visions over the next three years to build the capacity of middle schools to integrate the new Common Core curriculum and standards. Specifically, New Visions will work with four district schools and four independent charter schools to provide in-depth, inquiry-based curricular and assessment support. The partnership aims to create and disseminate Common Core-aligned lesson modules and formative assessments for adoption throughout the city and the state.

Coro New York City Leadership Center
The Charter Center will partner with Coro and the New York City Department of Education to deepen the city's teacher and leadership pipeline. Specifically, Coro will bring together a diverse cohort of 20 secondary leaders and high-potential teachers—from all types of public schools—to form a leadership collaborative. This group will establish a learning community to provide peer mentorships, strategy sessions with experts in the field and guidance on the development of school change projects designed to support students' college readiness.

"This unique district-charter compact allows New Visions to expand its ongoing work helping schools meet the Common Core by uniting the best work from both district and charter schools," said Robert Hughes, president of New Visions. "By building the capacity of our middle schools to meet these higher standards, we will ensure students enter high school with the skills and habits of mind they need to meet rigorous college-ready benchmarks."

"As an organization committed to building the leadership community of New York City, we are pleased to begin this partnership with the Charter Center and the Department of Education to expand our work to the city's public schools," said Scott Millstein, Executive Director of Coro New York Leadership Center. "The Education Leadership Collaborative will create an opportunity for the future leaders of our city's schools to move beyond the hallways of their buildings and grow their knowledge and networks with other committed educators and the broader Coro community."

The Gates Foundation grant will also help support existing efforts to improve relationships between district and charter schools, including NYC Collaborates, which brings together educators across schools through classroom tours, policy dialogues and leadership opportunities.


About the New York City Charter School Center
The New York City Charter School Center is an independent non-profit committed to fostering an environment in which public charters can open and flourish, and, through their innovative approaches, provide models for improving all public schools. The Charter Center helps new charter schools get started, supports existing schools, and builds community support so that highly effective schools can flourish.

About NYC's Charter Schools
Charter schools are free, independently run public schools that are able to innovate in their classroom structures, curriculum, and teaching methods. In return, they're held to higher standards of accountability. More than 90 percent of the City's charter school students are African-American or Latino, and more than 75 percent are from low-income families. There are currently 159 public charter schools serving students in all five boroughs.

Press Release