Opportunity Charter School (OCS) is unique among New York City charter schools because it actively recruits, serves and retains students with special needs. The majority of students at OCS are special education students with Individualized Education Plans. Whereas, most charter schools counsel out and push out special education students in NYC, OCS welcomes them all.
Fact: OCS scored a "B" on its overall NYC Department of Education progress report.
Fact: OCS scored a "B" on student progress in the progress report.
Fact: OCS' overall percentile rank jumped from 16th percentile citywide to 47th.
Fact: Over 50% of OCS students have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
Fact: OCS was serving a large majority of special education students before the Charter Schools Act of 2010, requiring charter schools to recruit, serve and retain special education students. OCS never creamed or pushed out any low performing students or students with an IEP. OCS did not have to be forced by state law to serve all students unlike most NYC charter schools.
The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) charter and district school method of evaluating the performance of charter schools, based solely on the school's ability to recruit high performing students, must change. It punishes schools such as OCS and district schools who serve large special needs populations by closing those schools because their students do not score proficient, level 3 and level 4 on the New York State Standardized Tests. When OCS and other district schools serving high needs, special education populations are closed by the NYC Department of Education, the students end up being warehoused at schools which will be slated for closure themselves a year later. These students are setup for failure because they are not high performing, level 3 and level 4. They are given no opportunity to succeed.
OCS must be congratulated for serving all students, not closed. The OCS charter must be renewed and our high needs, special education students must be given an opportunity to succeed.