Leading our students on an intellectual adventure

Ascend is a network of K-12 public charter schools serving 4,800 students in 12 schools across Brooklyn—New York’s most populous borough. Our mission 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 Brownsville, Brooklyn in 2008. With the opening of two new schools in September 2018, Ascend will educate 4,800 students at 12 schools in the Central Brooklyn neighborhoods of Brownsville, Bushwick, Canarsie, Cypress Hills, and East Flatbush, moving toward a five-year plan to more than double the network’s size to 10,000 students. In 2016-17, Ascend posted the highest combined gain in English language arts and mathematics proficiency on the New York State Common Core exams of large networks in New York City.

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.

Proficiency

Grades 3-8

Ascend posted the second highest two-year gains of any large network in New York City and the pace continues,

and yet...

we backfill every vacant seat through grade 9.

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 have together driven striking gains in student achievement, while promoting student independence and agency. Over the two-year period from school year 2014-15 to school year 2016-17, the percentage of Ascend’s students found proficient or advanced in English language arts rose from 25.3 to 45.2, and in math from 31.7 to 51.9, a gain of 20 percentage points in both subjects—the second highest proficiency growth among major New York City charter school networks.

A superior educational option

Ascend offers a superior educational option to our communities. In more than 90 percent of grades and subjects, Ascend students surpassed their district peers in 2017, in many cases by margins exceeding 30 percentage points of proficiency. In both ELA and math, our students achieved levels of proficiency higher than their peers across both New York City and New York State. And Ascend posted the highest average proficiency gains in both subjects in 2017 among New York City’s largest charter management organizations. In a particularly meaningful achievement, proficiency was higher among Ascend African American students than white students statewide in both subjects, thereby closing the achievement gap by race.

Proficiency growth in ELA (2015-2017)

Proficiency growth in Math (2015-2017)

High school achievement

Brooklyn Ascend High School has demonstrated impressive results in its first two years administering the New York State Regents exams. As was the case in 2015-16—the school’s launch year—Ascend students in school year 2016-17 outperformed students statewide on the Algebra and Living Environment exams (based on the most recent State data available, for school year 2015-16), with 80 percent of students passing the Algebra exam and 79 percent passing Living Environment. One hundred percent of students who sat for the English Regents exam—a year early—passed the exam.

Parent satisfaction

Ascend families appreciate the benefit of an Ascend education. In spring 2017, 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-seven and 95 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

Teach with us

Join our collaborative, intellectually driven educators in building the finest schools in Brooklyn.

Enroll your child

Find the Ascend school closest to you and enroll now.