Albany Preparatory Charter School

ALBANY — After a decade of explosive growth, Albany's charter school movement is in a period of contraction.

The city will lose another charter school at the end of the 2012-13 academic year when Achievement Academy Charter School closes its doors, the second charter school in four months to say it will close...

Achievement Academy will become the second charter school supported by Brighter Choice to shut down for poor academics. Albany Preparatory Academy, also a middle school, was shuttered in June.

Both closures are voluntary, though it is unlikely either school would have received state approval to continue operations because student scores on standardized tests have lagged for years...

When Albany Prep shut down in June school officials claimed it was merging with Achievement Academy. However, the state Education Department said the school likely would have not have received renewal approval because of its poor performance. Achievement Academy was then moved to Albany Prep's former location at 75 Park Ave., a former Catholic school and the only building rented by Brighter Choice for one of its schools.

In 2010, both Albany Prep and Achievement Academy were flagged for poor academic and economic performance by the State University of New York's Charter Schools Institute and were given three-year charter renewals instead of the usual five-year renewals awarded to healthy schools.

Achievement Academy is the city's third charter school targeted for closure since 2010. New Covenant Charter School, which was run by a for-profit company, was shuttered by the state in 2010 after years of academic and financial failure and a protracted battle to stay open...


…The Albany Preparatory Charter School is facing probation for screening out those with academic challenges. A report by the Charter School Institute found that an administrator trying to improve the school’s test scores denied admission to – or wait-listed – students with learning disabilities. The school also “pre-tested” students, and the parents of those who did not score well were counseled that Albany Prep was “not a good fit.” Charter School Institute inspectors also found that Albany Prep under-reported teacher attrition as well as its number of violent incidents. Although some parents were told there was a waiting list, the school is, in fact, under-enrolled. The report also found that the school’s principal threatened to fire teachers who came forward to blow the whistle. “The extent, specificity and sources of the allegations are unprecedented. The complainants all linked the alleged behavior to attaining higher scores on the state assessments in light of a pending (charter) renewal decision.”
CHARTER SCHOOL COULD FACE PROBATION; Albany Preparatory is accused of screening potential pupils to weed out those with academic challenges (Times Union, February 22, 2010)

ALBANY -- An Albany charter school is accused of screening potential students to weed out those with academic challenges and could be put on probation this week as a result.
Three former employees of the Albany Preparatory Charter School claimed an administrator at the school was trying to improve the school's scores on state standardized tests by denying admission or wait-listing learning-disabled students, an investigation has found. Some parents of students who did not perform well on a reading test were counseled that the school was "not a good fit" or would have their applications denied, according to a scathing new report by the State University of New York's Charter Schools Institute...

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