School Overview

In a small, village-like setting, Renaissance provides a supportive environment. Staff and parents work together to develop students' academic and leadership skills. Teachers collaborate on developing integrated subject matter, innovative approaches to learning, and improved practice. This ideal faculty-student ratio helps strengthen each student's sense of belonging.

In many grades, students stay with the same dedicated teachers for two years, providing stability and enabling each student to feel cared for and well-known. The PK-12 program of Renaissance enables students and families to enjoy a sense of continuity and stability as the students progress from elementary school to high school. Among the school's myriad attributes is its liberating atmosphere – informal work settings replace traditional desks and chairs. To further enhance its accommodating learning culture, Renaissance encourages students of various age groups to work together, yet places a high value on individual performance.

Student Body

Renaissance has 567 predominantly minority students (57% Hispanic, 10.4% African-American, 18.2% Asian, 13.4% White, and 1.1% Multi-Racial, and 73% receive free or reduced meals.

Many students enter Renaissance as English Language Learners (ELL), and most quickly gain proficiency. The school has an inclusion model for both ELL and special education students, including its partnership with District 75 that allows a group of autistic students to be mainstreamed. The majority of the students come from the neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, North Corona, Astoria and Long Island City. These communities are characterized by the rich ethnic diversity that is reflected in its student body.

History

In 1993, in an effort to reform public education, a group of teachers and parents worked together to establish The Renaissance School. Energized by a shared conviction that every child has unique and valuable potential that can and deserves to be nurtured, the team worked on a proposal nights and weekends while holding down full-time teaching jobs across the city. Their efforts paid off. Awarded a New Vision's start-up grant, The Renaissance School was established. Renaissance was unique from the beginning. First, it was designed to be small in a time when the small school movement was just getting under way. Second, it was K-12. Many said this was an impossible task for a public school. Third, it had a unique governance structure that was democratic and valued collaboration and cooperation rather than a top-down management style.

In 2000, the leadership team of Renaissance jumped at the opportunity to convert to charter status because it was believed that the added autonomy granted by The Charter Act, in exchange for increased accountability, would ultimately allow it to more successfully support the learning of its 530-plus young people. Renaissance was granted its charter and officially became The Renaissance Charter School in May, 2000. In 2005 and again in June of 2010 the charter was renewed for the full five-year term permitted by law. We are currently in our 4th charter, which will be renewed again on June 30, 2019. Renewal is contingent on meeting academic and other goals set in the charter, having a strong governance structure and demonstrating fiscal soundness and sustainability. For this achievement, Renaissance received the prestigious Blackboard Award. Today, Renaissance is one of the city and state's most successful charter schools.