Coney Island Prep serves 360 scholars in grades 5 - 8 in the Coney Island community in South Brooklyn. The mission of Coney Island Prep is straightforward--to prepare every scholar to succeed in the college and career of their choice. Students are randomly selected by a public lottery in grade 5, and we maintain waiting lists into high school.
Coney Island Prep has had the tremendous advantage of being able to learn from and build upon the best practices of high-performing public charter schools across the country. These schools have realized academic achievement that in many cases was previously unheard of, proving that the zip code in which a student is born does not need to determine their life trajectory. In general, Coney Island Prep follows a "no excuses" model, which includes:
- More time to learn: Coney Island Prep scholars are in school from 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. or 5 p.m., 190 days per year, representing almost a 40% increase in learning time over traditional public school.
- Rigorous, college preparatory academic program: In the early years of middle school, we focus on the basics, with scholars taking two periods of reading and two periods of math every day, in addition to writing, and a rotation of science, art and physical education. By 7th grade, scholars also take social studies, as well as science and art every day. In 8th grade, scholars begin studying French. In addition, all of scholars participate in our enrichment program, choosing between such activities as step, latin dance, soccer, art, drama, student newspaper, novel writing, and fit club.
- Data driven decision making: We take a systematic approach to improving student learning, relying on frequent assessments, and the data produced by those assessments to drive our decision making. Periodic data days allow the staff to look at the multitude of data collected, rejigger curriculum based on that data, and determine what standards need to be retaught whole-group, what needs to be retaught small-group, and what individual students need to be targeted for additional support.
- Supportive and structured school environment: In addition to having extraordinarily high expectations for student academic achievement, we also have very high expectations for student behavior. Our scholars internalize and live by our PRIDE values of professionalism, respect, integrity, determination, and excellence.
- Outstanding staff: The biggest impact a school has on academic achievement relates to the teachers that stand in the front of the classrooms. To that end, we invest significantly in recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining the best and the brightest. Coney Island Prep staff members share the belief that all children can learn and achieve academically, work tirelessly to achieve our ambitious mission, and are constantly working to improve their practice.
On the spring 2012 state exams in grades 3-8, 82% of Coney Island Prep scholars scored Advanced or Proficient on the Math exam, besting the citywide average by 22 percentage points, and the overall state average by 15 percentage points. On the ELA Exam, 51% of Coney Island Prep students scored Advanced or Proficient, 4 percentage points above the citywide average, and 8.5 percentage points below the New York State average.
This coming school year, Coney Island Prep will launch its high school, eventually growing to serve approximately 650 scholars in grades 5 - 12.