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Frequently Asked Questions

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Here are some questions that we often hear from parents about our schools. If you have a question that's not answered below, please feel free to reach out to us.

Brooklyn: admissionsNYC@achievementfirst.org

Connecticut: admissionsCT@achievementfirst.org

Rhode Island: admissionsCT@achievementfirst.org

Are AF schools public schools? What is a charter school?

Yes. Achievement First schools are public charter schools. Our schools are free and admit students by blind lottery. There are no admissions tests or fees, and we are committed to serving all students, including those who have special needs or who are English language learners, in the communities we serve. While district public schools are run by the local school district, our public charter schools are run by a non-profit (Achievement First) and accountable to the state.

Do you serve students who are learning English and students with disabilities?

Yes. We believe that all means all—when your child is part of our schools, his or her success is at the heart of everything we do. Our approach with English Language Learners includes more time in class and focuses heavily on learning to read and write. We see how the students are performing and then respond right away to their need with individualized support, often through reading help, with a focus on phonics and vocabulary instruction, as well as conversation and comprehension skills.

For our students with disabilities, we focus on opportunities for meaningful inclusion, targeted remediation and intervention, and access to grade-level curriculum through specialized instruction. Many of our students with special needs are successful in a full-inclusion setting while other students may need additional support, including: pullout support, push-in support, collaborative team teaching/integrated co-teaching, speech therapy, occupational therapy, counseling and paraprofessional support (services and programs which are provided at all AF schools).In 2017-18, we are also launching the AF Bushwick Empower Program at AF Bushwick Elementary (LINK), a transitional, intensive program serving students with disabilities who need additional support.

What curriculum do you use?

Our curriculum is designed by a team of content experts at the network level, who help ensure teaching and learning is excellent across all Achievement First schools.  Through research, classroom observations, and ongoing feedback, we continue to refine our curriculum and make it as strong as possible for our teachers and scholars.

What are the typical school hours?

Each school makes its own hours, though typically, school starts between 7:00 and 7:30 a.m. and ends around 4:00 p.m. On Fridays, schools end early so that teachers can devote time to professional development. Our longer school days allow for more time spent learning—over the course of a K-12 education, this adds up to an extra year of school time. You can find specific school hours on the school pages here.

What is a typical day like at your school?

For a peek at life inside our classrooms and schools, check out our Facebook and Instagram pages.

What do after school programs and sports look like?

It varies by school, but many students participate in activities like: Art, Basketball, Dance, Debate, Music, Soccer, Student Government and more. All of our high schools have varsity athletics (and some have championship teams!). Individual schools can share more details about their extra-curriculars and sports – please reach out to the school(s) with questions.  

What is your average class size?

This varies by school and grade level, but a typical classroom has around 30 students. For grades K-2, our classes are co-taught by two teachers, and students spend time working in smaller groups.

What is your school culture like?

We work hard to create schools where students love learning and are held to the highest expectations (because they know they can meet and exceed them). Our schools are both warm and demanding, and they are structured and safe.

Do you provide tutoring?

Yes. We offer a variety of support options, both in class and out of class, to ensure that our students are on track to college readiness, even in the earliest grades. Year-round, our students get pull-out and push-in support. During key times of the year, we may offer tutoring outside of school hours for students who need extra help.

Does AF provide transportation?

For all of our Connecticut and Rhode Island schools, bus transportation is provided. For our Brooklyn elementary and middle schools, bus transportation is provided to all students who meet the Department of Education’s distance from school requirement (.5 miles to 5 miles). Families may also utilize a paid van service or request MetroCards to be used weekdays before and after school. There is no transportation for our Brooklyn High schools, but families can request MetrocCards to be used weekdays before and after school. These are general guidelines—specific transportation information is distributed by each school. Over the summer, school staff will notify parents of transportation details and eligibility (where applicable).

Do you have Pre-K?

No, unfortunately, we do not offer pre-K at this time. You can find resources about pre-K in our regions below.

Brooklyn:

NYC Pre-K Directory

Connecticut:  

CRT

Rhode Island:

Early Education Matters

Ready to Learn Providence

Rhode Island Free Pre-Schools

Does AF have sibling preference? How does it work?

Yes, all of Achievement First’s schools offer siblings of current scholars an “absolute preference”, which means that they will be offered a seat, so long as one is available. If there isn’t a seat available at the time of the lottery or your application, your scholar will be placed at the front of the waitlist.

To qualify for sibling preference, siblings must share a legal guardian and live in the same household.

How are students selected in the lottery?

All of our lotteries are blind. There are no costs or fees to apply. In our Bridgeport, Brooklyn and Providence schools, we administer the lotteries for our schools. Students are selected at random from all of the applications we receive, based on the grades and schools where we have open seats available.

In Hartford and New Haven, the local school district runs the lottery as part of their school choice processes. Visit our Enrollment page for more information on how to apply for the lotteries.  

If your application is not selected in the random lottery, you will be added to the waitlist in the order your application was drawn. Also, if you apply after the lottery, you will be added to the end of the waitlist in the order your application was received.

What happens if I am placed on the waitlist?

If you have a low waitlist number, you may be called to attend an orientation, even before a seat is available. We’d love to have you come see our school and meet the principal and staff, so that you’re ready to make a decision if a seat opens up. Once a seat is available, the school will contact you via a variety of methods (phone, email, letter), but respond quickly to avoid missing your chance!