Leading our students on an intellectual adventure

Ascend is a network of K-12 public charter schools serving 5,000 students in 12 schools across Brooklyn—New York’s most populous borough. Our undertaking is to lead our students on a great intellectual adventure, provide them with an exceptional college preparatory education, and place them firmly on the path to success in college and beyond.

Our history


Ascend opened its first school—Brooklyn Ascend Lower School—in 2008 to 210 students in kindergarten through second grade, and now educates 5,000 students at 12 schools in kindergarten through twelfth grade, marking the halfway point in our plan to educate 10,000 students by school year 2026-27. In school year 2017-18 Ascend posted the second highest combined proficiency gains in English language arts and mathematics on the New York State Common Core exams among New York City charter management organizations.

Ascend school are located in the Central Brooklyn neighborhoods of Brownsville, Bushwick, Canarsie, Cypress Hills, and East Flatbush.

Our mission


Ascend’s mission is to develop a scalable solution to the underachievement of economically disadvantaged children—a network of urban, college-preparatory, K-12 charter schools, operating with widely available financial resources, and posting achievement levels equal or superior to schools educating students from middle-class families.

Ascend schools equip students with the knowledge, confidence, and character to succeed in college and beyond. By offering a rich liberal arts education in a supportive environment, we animate children’s natural sense of curiosity and prepare students to think on their own, thrive on their own, and engage the world as informed, responsible citizens.

A new generation of public schools


Ascend Public Charter Schools offers a rich, varied, rigorous Common Core-aligned curriculum, in a warm, supportive, and joyful culture. All Ascend schools occupy inspiring, light-filled, privately-leased facilities that express our highest aspirations for our program and our students. Ascend schools are open to all students by lottery—with no admission criteria other than New York City residence—at no cost to families. As truly public schools, we fill every vacated seat through grade nine, proudly serve students with special needs and English language learners, never “counsel out” challenging students, and operate at district spending levels.

We backfill every vacant seat through grade 9,

and yet...

Ascend proficiency, 2015-2018

Percent proficient, 2015-2018

Ascend posted the highest combined three-year gains of any large network in New York City, and the pace continues.

Our results


Ascend succeeds when our students discover a passion for learning and master essential knowledge and skills.

Strong academic gains

Our liberal arts curriculum, inquiry-based instructional practices, and supportive cultural model are driving striking gains in student achievement while promoting student independence and agency. Over the three-year period from school year 2014-15 to school year 2017-18, the percentage of Ascend’s students found proficient or advanced in English language arts rose from 25 to 58, and in math from 32 to 66, a gain of 33 percentage points in ELA and 34 percentage points in math.

A superior educational option

Ascend offers a superior educational option to our communities. In nearly every comparison—regardless of school, grade, or subject—our students outperformed their district peers, in many cases by 30 percentage points or more in 2018. In both ELA and math, our students achieved levels of proficiency higher than their peers across both New York City and New York State enrolled in both district and charter schools. In a particularly meaningful achievement, proficiency among Ascend African American students was higher than white students statewide in both subjects, thereby reversing the achievement gap by race. And for the first time, in 2018, Ascend’s economically disadvantaged students outperformed their non-economically disadvantaged peers statewide in math, reversing the achievement gap by income, and came close to doing so in ELA.

Proficiency growth in ELA, 2015-2018

Proficiency growth in math, 2015-2018

High school achievement

Brooklyn Ascend High School students have demonstrated impressive results on the New York State Regents exams. Ascend students in school year 2017-18 outperformed students citywide on the Algebra I, Geometry, English, and Global History exams, and matched the city on the US History exam (based on the most recent State data available, for school year 2016-17).

Parent satisfaction

Ascend families appreciate the benefit of an Ascend education. In spring 2018, 97 percent of parents responding to a survey—including parents of children with special needs—expressed satisfaction with “The education my child has received this year,” and with “The overall quality of my child’s teacher this year.” Ninety-three and 94 percent, respectively, agree with the statements, “I feel respected by my child’s principal,” and “[the school] promotes family and community involvement in the school.”

Notes of appreciation


Dan Schermele

“As as a Fellow I thought I might get to dabble in Maker eventually, but they gave me so much ownership over it! From the beginning, the school and my mentor supported me. I started a STEAM Club, and my students developed the club with me!”

Dan Schermele

Teaching Fellow

Avery

“My favorite class is math. I like to solve problems, and even though it’s challenging sometimes, math brings me the most happiness. I’m really excited about college. I want to get the most education so I can know as much as I can about the world and be ready for it.”

Avery

Middle school student

Shannon Re-Ismael

“I was crazy thrilled to work at Ascend because I work in the community that raised me. Ascend has never been afraid to reevaluate, and shifted its approach with teacher input. It’s working! I see my students learning more, and I learn from the conversations they have in class.”

Shannon Re-Ismael

Dean of instruction

Richard Tucker

“When I applied to Ascend, a panel of students interviewed me. I thought that was so cool. I knew then that Ascend really encouraged kids to take ownership of their education. I teach Humanities English; we’re reading The Biography of Malcolm X now. And every Humanities class reads Shakespeare!”

Richard Tucker

Middle school teacher

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