Starting high school for the first time can be scary. Starting a brand new high school can be even scarier.
Nicholas Tishuk won a $250,000 start-up grant for the Renaissance Charter High School for Innovation in East Harlem, New York, which will become the newest school for 135 ninth graders this fall.
Charter schools are usually started with younger children in either elementary or middle school. Because they are taking on the challenge of working with teenagers, the New York Charter School Association recommended the school to the Walton Family Foundation.
Many of the students, although an older age, perform at a fourth or fifth grade level. The Walton Family Foundation picked Renaissance for the grant with hopes to improve student achievement in all U.S. schools at all levels.
Most teens in the area attend high schools with four-year graduation rates of 62% or less. With the grant money, a student-performance tracking system will be used. This system will have a focus on special education and at-risk students.
Having previously worked with challenging students, Mr. Tishuk is eager to get the school started. He has recruited special education students with learning disabilities and behavioral problems for the school. Of the incoming freshman, 30% are special needs students, which is double the amount of the average New York City school. Most students are also eligible for free or reduced lunch.
Mr. Tishuk strongly believes that all children can learn and with this school he hopes that these students will get that chance.