Proposed schools

Learn more about Ascend's proposed new school and submit feedback on our proposal.

Ascend to submit application to open demonstration school in partnership with the Lavinia Group


In January 2019 Ascend will submit a proposal to the State University of New York (SUNY) Charter Schools Institute to open a new school in Community School District (CSD) 13. If approved, the proposed school, Ascend’s first school in the district, will open in fall 2020 to 224 students in kindergarten and first grade; the school will ultimately grow to serve children in grades K-12.

The proposed new school, bringing together Ascend’s proven model with the Lavinia Group’s expertise in propelling academic growth in the charter school sector, represents a unique opportunity to enhance Ascend’s impact. Featuring a groundbreaking collaborative training center for educators, the collaboration continues Ascend’s mission to develop a scalable model of excellence in urban education that has resulted in some of the most dramatic improvement in academic proficiency citywide.

Over the past three years Ascend schools have posted dramatic academic proficiency gains—over 30 percentage points in both ELA and math—and closed the achievement gap by race on New York State’s Common Core exams, with African American students exceeding the performance of white students statewide. Last year alone, Ascend schools posted the highest combined proficiency gains among New York City’s largest charter management organizations. As a result, there are more than 4,800 students and families on Ascend waitlists hoping to gain access to Ascend’s unique rich and rigorous liberal arts curriculum and supportive environment.

“Ascend welcomes this opportunity to further serve the high academic aspirations of the Brooklyn community by opening a new public charter school. We are eager to respond to the overwhelming demand for our academically rigorous program which nurtures curiosity and develops critical, independent thinking in warm school communities. Building on this strong foundation, our partnership with the Lavinia Group offers us the opportunity to pioneer the next stage of innovations in the education sector and share best practices by leveraging Lavinia’s unparalleled expertise in driving dramatic achievement gains,” said Susan Pollock, president of Ascend Learning.

Arin Lavinia, founder of the Lavinia Group, said of Ascend’s proposal, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to come together with Ascend to establish a school where educators can learn to foster curiosity in their students and intellectual engagement in their classrooms. Ascend has shown itself to be a leader in the field, and their model uniquely positions them to meet the needs of students from diverse backgrounds and drive achievement. Together, we can continue to raise student achievement across New York City and beyond and put more students on the path to success in college and life.”

Ascend currently serves nearly 5,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across 12 schools in the Central Brooklyn neighborhoods of Brownsville, Bushwick, Canarsie, Cypress Hills, and East Flatbush; Ascend is authorized and plans to open three additional schools in Brooklyn in fall 2019. Ninety-six percent of Ascend’s students are Black or Latino, and over 80 percent are eligible for free or reduced-priced lunch. To serve as many families as possible, Ascend fills every open seat through grade nine. Ascend Public Charter Schools is committed to operating truly public schools, open to all students, including English language learners and those with special education needs. Our schools are not co-located with Department of Education schools but instead housed in custom-built or newly renovated private spaces.

Ascend schools are committed to the educational success and achievement of all students, regardless of race, economic means, ethnicity, and ability. We expect that the new school’s student population will be racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse. Outreach and marketing will be conducted throughout the district, with a vigorous effort to enroll a student population that reflects the highly diverse composition of the community school district it serves.

As we prepare to submit our proposal for a new school, we value the voices of those in the communities we hope to serve. Ascend invites members of the community to share feedback about the proposed expansion and provide input on how the new schools can best serve Central Brooklyn.

We’d love your feedback on our proposal! Comments can be sent to feedback@ascendlearning.org with “New School Feedback” in the subject line.