Charter school eyes location at Astoria site

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An Astoria/Long Island City-based charter school applying to open a new location for schoolchildren in kindergarten through fifth-grade focused on helping them learn the English language presented its plans at a Community School District 30 hearing Monday night.

Isaac Carmignani, second vice president for CSD 30, said if approved by the state, this would be the second school for Our World Neighborhood Charter School, which will be called Our World Neighborhood II. Our World has two locations, one that houses kindergarteners through fifth-graders at 36-12 35th Ave. in Astoria, and another at 31-20 37th St. in Astoria.

“They came and presented,” Carmignani said. “It was pretty straightforward since they already have a school in District 30.”

Carmignani said the first Our World was targeted at preparing students to graduate to high schools with unique curriculum programs, but Our World II will be geared toward students who need training in English. He said this would be a positive thing, as a lack of ESL programs is a common criticism of charter schools.

“There are charter schools that don’t have as many English language learners and special education schools as district schools,” Carmignani said.

Carmignani said Our World II will start with classes for kindergarten and first-grade, eventually adding a new class every year until they have a fifth-grade class. The school is expected to top out at 400 to 500 students, and District 30 students will be given a priority.

“Given that we’re overcrowded, we’re thrilled to see that happen if that happens,” Carmignani said.

Our World plans to open at an existing location, so the new school would not require a new building or any startup costs, Carmignani said. One possibility is to install the school at or near Trinity Lutheran Church, where Our World currently teaches its upper grade levels.

The state planned to vote on approving the school this week. If granted approval, the school is scheduled to open in 2011, Carmignani said.

The proposed school received positive and some negative comments involving charter schools in general, Carmignani said. One parent had called Our World attentive to her child with special needs, he noted.

Carmignani said originally two charter schools were supposed to make presentations at the public hearing, but Phoenix Charter School, pulled its application.

“We don’t know why,” he said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 6:20 pm, October 10, 2011
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