Successful Yonkers Charter School of Educational Excellence (CSEE), Applies to Replicate in Growing City

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CSEE 2 Would Address Huge Parent Demand, Alleviate City School Overcrowding

97% of 8th graders passed New York State English Language Arts (ELA), 92.4% of 8th graders passed Algebra I Regents in 2019.

Sobeida Cruz , Charter School of Educational Excellence (CSEE) Board Trustee and Co-Founder

YONKERS, NY – March 5, 2020 —This rapidly growing city just north of The Bronx is home to one of New York State’s highest-achieving charter public schools and would be home to a second, if an application recently submitted to the State University of New York Board of Trustees is approved.

The new school application was submitted by founders of the Charter School of Educational Excellence (CSEE), which educates approximately 850 students in grades K-9 and will grow to K-12 in the next three years. Upon completion of the high school campus, CSEE will be serving approximately 1,150 students. CSEE is located at 260 Warburton Avenue, Yonkers, New York.

CSEE 2, as the new school would be called, would replicate the current school in academics, school culture of rigorous standards and mutual respect, extra-curricular programs, longer school day, athletics, partnerships with the NFL, and more. It would be located in privately financed facilities. If approved, CSEE 2 would open in Fall 2021 with 168 students in grades K-1, grow to K-5 by the end of its first 5-year charter and, if renewed, eventually grow to a full K-12 school.

“The need for this new school is clear,” said CSEE Board Chair Eduardo LaGuerre. “Demand is high as we have 500 children on our waiting list, including many who have siblings in our school. Openings are rare because students and families love the academics and school culture. And our students and educators are knocking it out of the park academically.”

“A new school would be tremendous news to the hundreds of children on our waiting list and the many more who will be moving into Yonkers in the coming years as the city’s expansion continues and new housing is built,” Mr. LaGuerre said. “CSEE 2 will also help relieve worsening overcrowding in the Yonkers school district. Both Mayor Mike Spano and Schools Superintendent Dr. Edwin Quezada have acknowledged the need for more school space as Yonkers school buildings are operating far beyond their capacity.”

As Dr. Quezada told state legislators just last month, Yonkers’ residential, industrial and business renaissance is putting tremendous strains on the district, noting that the average Yonkers school building is 80 years old and the district hasn’t built a new school building in two decades.

“Our leaders are doing the right things to drive investment, growth and opportunity in our city. More than 6,500 new housing units are in development right now and our new school is needed to meet not only the existing demand for our school but also to meet that growing need and avoid an overcrowding cataclysm on the city school system,” Mr. LaGuerre said. “A new CSEE 2 would serve not only our children and families with a great public education but also our city, which needs school space for the current and future population.”

The CSEE 2 application to SUNY’s Charter Schools Institute contains evidence of significant public outreach and support, including petitions with more than 400 signatures, plus letters of support in both English and Spanish, support letters from local elected officials and numerous other stakeholders. Earlier this year, hundreds of parents expressed their desire for the new school at a public meeting, in both English and Spanish.

“My son came in as a pigeon and now he’s an eagle,” one mom said.

Several other parents expressed their sadness that there wasn’t enough room at CSEE for both their children.

Charter School of Educational Excellence (CSEE).

Charter schools are tuition-free public schools.

The Charter School of Educational Excellence lives up to it name in every way:

  • CSEE outperforms its local district by factors of two or three.
  • CSEE outperforms the Westchester County and NYS average in every academic category.
  • In 2018-19, 97% of CSEE 8th graders scored proficient on the ELA assessment and 100% of 8th grade students took the high school level math and science exams and 92.4% passed Algebra I Regents and 90% passed the Living Environment Regents, earning credits towards high school graduation.
  • CSEE has been designated as a Reward School for the last five years, meaning it’s made extraordinary progress in closing the achievement gap.
  • Students learn outside the classroom as well, with nationally recognized athletics and partnerships with the National Football League and the American Dairy Association for sports and healthy eating.

CSEE’s rigorous and joyful academic programming, combined with a longer school day, leads to high student achievement, strong personal growth and a positive, safe learning environment. The result is well-rounded young adults readily equipped to handle challenges and live healthy lives.

2018-19 NYS Assessment Results (% of Students Scoring Proficient)

Additional Academic Awards and Achievements:

  • CSEE was awarded a NYS Dissemination Grant to serve as the mentor school to two public schools; Yonkers and Greenburgh.  Through this grant, schools observed and shared best practices.
  • In 2010, CSEE won the prestigious International Reading Association’s “Exemplary Reading Program Award for New York State,” which recognized the school for Best Practices in Literacy by the state education department.

About CSEE:

  • Founded in 2005, CSEE was the first charter public school in Yonkers and Westchester County. CSEE is authorized to serve students in grades K-12 and is overseen by the New York State Board of Regents.
  • CSEE is a tuition-free public school open to all children through a lottery admissions process. The application process starts in January and lottery takes place in April. Students are placed on a wait list based on the lottery results.  As of September 2019, CSEE has more than 500 students on its waitlist
  • CSEE is building a new high school adjacent to its current K-8 campus on Warburton Avenue in time for the 2021-22 school year. With its high school, CSEE will serve some 1,150 students in grades K-12.
  • School hours are 8:00 am – 4:00 pm.  School opens at 7:30 am for breakfast and operates until 5:30/6:00 pm for after school academic and sports programs.
  • 87% of CSEE students qualify for free and reduced lunch.

CSEE has the Premier Athletics Program in Yonkers:

  • CSEE is the only public school in Yonkers that offers interscholastic sports for middle school grades.
  • CSEE’s extensive athletic program for grades 4-9, includes flag football, cheerleading, volleyball, soccer, basketball, soccer, and baseball at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. CSEE has won numerous recent championships in a league of over 200 charter schools, in flag football, baseball, soccer, softball, and basketball.
  • CSEE is nationally recognized as a model Fuel Up to Play 60 school, in partnership with the NFL and the National Dairy Council, to promote physical activity and healthy eating. This program involves closing working relationships with both the New York Giants and New York Jets.
  • CSEE is a model school for the Positive Coaching Alliance,  a national non-profit organization that works with schools to create a positive youth sports environment and help young people develop character and life skills.
  • More than 20 former CSEE student-athletes have received scholarships to NCAA colleges and universities, including St. Johns, Iona, Manhattanville, Princeton, Indiana State and Pace. This year a CSEE alum will be entering the 2020 MLB draft.

The Urgent Need For More Quality Seats for Yonkers Students

  • Yonkers Public Schools District currently serves 32,678 students.
  • Average age of Yonkers schools is 80 years. Yonkers has not built a new public school in 20 years.
  • Numerous new housing projects are under development in Yonkers, including Dayspring Campus, a $39 million development with affordable apartments and community center announced in December by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.  Our research indicates there is approximately a total of 6,529 housing units being developed.

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TribuneSuccessful Yonkers Charter School of Educational Excellence (CSEE), Applies to Replicate in Growing City

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