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‘Charter’ effort - Brooklyn Paper

‘Charter’ effort

Parents from Park Slope to Red Hook will get a chance to send their kids to an artsy charter school — just in time to assuage local fears about existing middle schools.

The co-founders of Brooklyn Prospect Charter School, Dan Rubenstein and Luyen Chou, have long dreamed of starting a school “their way,” and while there is no formal location yet, Rubenstein is looking for space near the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Fort Greene to partner with the institution in creating a program full of arts and performance classes.

“Visual arts is a core class, but we wanted to have a broad range of rich artistic and creative offerings, so the partnership with BAM is a really fantastic opportunity,” Rubenstein said.

The school is set to open in September 2009 with 88 sixth graders — though it is meant to expand year by year until it includes sixth- through 12th-graders, all following the challenging International Baccalaureate curriculum.

Fifty parents have already applied within District 15, which covers Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Gowanus, Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill. Many parents in those neighborhoods complain that there aren’t enough seats in the best middle schools — and not enough good middle schools in the first place.

A charter school is a public school, though it is independently financed and exempt from some bureaucratic red tape. Students are selected to attend through a lottery system.

The two founders met when they were studying at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Rubenstein is now the chair of the math department at Collegiate, the prestigious private school in Manhattan, and Chou is a longtime private school educator.

“I’ve been planning this school for 10 years — actively for the last three,” Rubenstein said. “We really started this project by looking at rethinking education for the 21st century.”

Interested parents can attend information sessions on Oct. 6 and Oct. 27 at New York Methodist Hospital (Sixth Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues in Park Slope) at 6 pm. For information or to RSVP, visit www.brooklynprospect.org.

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