Utica Academy Of Science Charter School

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Opening Elementary School in 2018-2019

January 23, 2018
Dear Utica Academy of Science Parents:

I am pleased to announce that the New York State Board of Regents has approved our
plan to expand the Utica Academy of Science Charter School to include grades K-5. We
are grateful to the Board of Regents, as well as our own School Board members, parents,
teachers and alumni who have supported this plan.

Parents have long emphasized the importance of having a choice in the public schools
their children attend. Our school has been providing that choice in Utica since it opened
in 2013. This past June, the first class of seniors in our existing grades 6-12 school
became our first graduates. We are thrilled that all of our seniors graduated, and all were
accepted to colleges.

With the approval of our plan, we are now preparing to add a grades K-5 school in Utica.
We will start with kindergarten and first grade this fall, then add a grade each year
thereafter until we become a full grades K-5 school in the 2022-23 academic year. We
strongly believe that adding the elementary school will not only bring a viable public
school choice to families with young children, but it also will enhance our existing
middle and high schools in years to come.

As we have shown in our Syracuse Academy of Science Charter Schools, students who
start school in our kindergarten and progress through the grades are the best prepared to
begin the challenging middle and high school years. We expect those same results in our
Utica school as it becomes a full grades K-12 school.

In his 2016 column “Schools That Work,” New York Times columnist David Leonhardt
cited studies from researchers at Harvard, M.I.T., Columbia and elsewhere who have
found that the best charter schools are “high expectation, high support” schools. Such
schools offer a longer school day and year, set high expectations for students, and provide
extra support and feedback to classroom teachers. Our schools do all of those things.
Our new K-5 school in Utica, like our elementary schools in Syracuse, will have two
teachers in each 25-student classroom, in addition to a resource teacher, a literacy
teacher, an art teacher and a music teacher. Although our schools have a strong focus on
math and science, we believe that the arts are a key to opening up a child’s creativity and
curiosity.

We understand that some people oppose the very idea of charter schools, believing they
take away from traditional public schools. However, we would like to point out that our
sole goal is to provide choices for Utica’s parents and opportunities for their children.
Our expansion does both. Our record in Syracuse, as well as our success so far in Utica,
is the best proof of that.
 
The Utica City School District has legitimate concerns about children who leave district
schools to come to our school. But shouldn’t parents be able to decide what schools their
children attend? Wealthy families have always had that choice, either sending their
children to private schools or moving to a wealthy suburb. Shouldn’t our urban families
have a choice, too?

It is important to note that charter schools such as ours operate on significantly less
taxpayer money than traditional district schools. Charter schools receive no state money
for building, renting or renovating schools, as other public schools do. And our Utica
school gets less than two-thirds of the money, per pupil, than the district schools receive.
We look forward to offering our successful education model to families in Utica. And we
look forward to cooperating in any way we can with the Utica City School District in the
shared task of helping all of our city’s children succeed.

Respectfully,

Tolga Hayali
Superintendent
SANY Charter Schools
 

Attached Files