Cardinal McCloskey Community Charter School (CMCCS), authorized by SUNY’s Charter Schools Institute, opened its doors to students in September of 2019. It is located within the former Aquinas High School at 685 E. 182nd St.

The charter school focuses its outreach and student recruitment efforts to enroll at-risk students in the community—i.e. students who are in foster care and who are receiving preventive services. Cardinal McCloskey Community Charter School addresses the needs of these students by providing a rigorous academic program in a trauma-sensitive environment that gives students comprehensive wraparound services and support. Students in foster care or preventive services in CSD 10 are in more need of effective academic programs and supportive services than students who are not in foster care or receiving preventive services.

Recognizing the extraordinary challenges children in foster care and preventative services face in traditional school settings, most schools, while well-intentioned, lack the resources and expertise to meet the extreme developmental and social-emotional needs of this vulnerable population of students.

In alignment with our mission, the charter school enrolls a student population comprised of children in foster care and students in preventive services. These children are at risk of undergoing trauma prior to, during and following their foster care/preventive services experience. They are also more likely to face a range of negative outcomes during childhood and later in life. The CMCCS school model enables us to focus on helping each student to overcome trauma and develop social-emotional skills while simultaneously supporting them in rigorous academic study.

In the first year of operation, Cardinal McCloskey Community Charter School enrolled 150 students (75 kindergarten students and 75  students in grade 1). By its fifth year of operation, the school will expand to enroll 450 students (75 students per grade in K-5).

Key design elements of the charter school include the following:

  • A trauma-informed approach to educational and supportive programming through the use of the Sanctuary Model, an evidence-based model that cultivates a trauma-sensitive environment in which at-risk youth can maximize their potential to learn, heal and grow. The Sanctuary Model provides a language and structure throughout the school for talking about the trauma that children have experienced in their recent or longer personal histories. Integration of the Sanctuary Model enables the school to establish and maintain a safe environment in which behavioral change in students can occur.
  • A rigorous Next Generation Learning-aligned and data-informed academic program utilizing an integrated set of formal instructional programs (e.g. Reading and Writing Workshop), commercial curricula (e.g. Junior Great Books) and “homegrown” teacher-developed curricula drawing heavily on the materials and resources of EngageNY. Teachers and instructional staff work individually and collaboratively in professional learning communities to analyze a variety of student data, identify desired student results, determine what evidence will demonstrate achievement of desired results and implement appropriate learning experiences and instruction.
  • Intensive instruction and extended day programming to ensure that each student’s needs are addressed. Cardinal McCloskey Community Charter School is committed to a staffing model and school schedule that promotes personalization of instruction, appropriate remediation and enrichment and effective delivery of supportive services. Each classroom has two instructional staff members (one general education teacher and one special education or teaching assistant, depending on the needs of students), thereby establishing that a low teacher/instructional staff-to-student ratio exists throughout the school and that special education students are served in inclusive classroom environments. In addition, the school has an extended-day schedule that provides daily opportunities for remediation, enrichment, tutoring, counseling and other supportive services, along with time for collaborative planning, curriculum development and mapping, data analysis and professional development for teachers and instructional staff.
  • Comprehensive wraparound services for students to support their social-emotional, developmental and behavioral growth, their resilience and capacity to cope effectively with problems and trauma and their academic performance. The founders of the proposed charter school firmly believe that integrating such supportive services into the school’s program design helps students address social, emotional, developmental, family and trauma-related issues that impacts their academic performance and success in school. These services and supports are tailored to address the needs of each student and are provided by partner organization CMCS at no cost to the charter school.



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