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Ascend Public Charter Schools Welcomes 6,000 Students for a Transformative Year with New Math & Literacy Curriculums

Ascend Public Charter Schools

August 31, 2023

Ascend Implements New Research-Based Curriculum Thanks to $11M Grant from the Mackenzie Scott Foundation to Succeed & Excel Beyond the Impacts of the Pandemic

Brooklyn's Largest Charter Network Embarks on a Journey to Create Equitable Education with Newly Appointed President & Advancement Team

BROOKLYN, August 31, 2023 - Ascend Public Charter Schools has officially started the 2023-24 school year with new math and literacy curriculum for grades K-12 fueled by a recent philanthropic infusion to support schools in better serving students in the new post-pandemic world. Serving nearly 6,000 students across 17 schools in Brooklyn, Ascend is doubling down on its commitment to excellent and equitable education with the implementation of these cutting-edge programs, along with new classroom libraries and a robust six-week teacher training institute. These new initiatives mark the start of the organization's 15th year in Brooklyn and are accompanied by the launch of a new leadership structure that will support Ascend’s continued growth and innovation for years to come.

Over the past year, New York’s literacy standards have come under pressure as reading levels continue to remain low after the pandemic due to inadequate state standards and instructional programs. Ascend is taking action and ensuring its students experience a world-class education that not only meets but exceeds state standards. The organization has used an $11M grant from the Mackenzie Scott Foundation to implement new research-based literacy programs, classroom libraries, and math curricula for every single student in grades K-12. This approach underscores Ascend's dedication to rigorous academics and reflects its readiness to innovate in response to the evolving educational needs of our time.

To build on Scott’s significant donation and continue greater innovation into the future, Ascend has undergone a transformative leadership shift. The organization has created its first-ever Advancement Team led directly by CEO Recy B. Dunn to drive philanthropic engagement while amplifying Ascend's story across the educational landscape. As a public charter school, Ascend relies on per pupil funding from the state and is seeking additional resources that will enable it to develop new student and faculty initiatives to push the envelope on what is possible in public education.

Ascend has also announced that Maryann Li has been appointed to the new role of President and will lead the successful operation of the network’s 17 campuses. Li will directly manage the executive team with a focus on championing internal alignment, driving precise decision-making, and cultivating the empowerment of teams and individuals. These strategic shifts in leadership along with the launch of the Advancement Team represent the beginning of a new era of achievement for the organization.

"Our investment in new curriculum and classroom resources demonstrates our commitment to delivering a world-class education that equips our students for success in a rapidly changing world," said Dunn. "Our Advancement Team is more than just a fundraising entity; it is the bridge between our mission and partners who share our vision. We aspire to work with individuals and organizations across the nation to shape a brighter, more equitable future for generations to come."

"Our strategic shift in leadership underscores Ascend's commitment to holistic growth," said Li. "After 15 years, there is much we have already accomplished and we know we can go even further. Ascend is committed to continuous elevation and innovation–our students deserve our best to create vibrant learning environments that prepare them for a future of boundless choice."

This pivotal moment for Ascend Public Charter Schools marks a new era of collaboration, innovation, and educational excellence. By integrating research-based curriculum changes with a dynamic leadership structure, Ascend is ready to inspire, empower, and shape the future of education in Brooklyn and beyond.

About Ascend Public Charter Schools

Ascend exists to serve every student – to help them embody their inherent excellence by providing rich, joyful learning experiences that unlock a life of boundless choice. We are the largest Brooklyn-based public charter school serving nearly 6,000 K-12 students in 17 schools.

Our schools honor, nurture, and challenge the whole child. Ascend fosters critical thinking skills and a love of learning through an inquiry-based learning approach, Responsive Classroom model, and anti-racist education. We are deeply committed to advancing educational equity for all our students.

Media contact:

John Eddy

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