BRASS CITY CHARTER SCHOOL

aka BCCS   |   Waterbury, CT   |  www.BrassCityCharter.org

Mission

Brass City Charter School (BCCS) provides a rigorous academic and holistic social-emotional learning program that will eliminate the achievement gap for underserved students. BCCS enables students to soar academically, develop as people of character, and lead meaningful and productive lives both for themselves and for their community.

Ruling year info

2014

Executive Director

Barbara Ruggiero Ph.D.

Main address

289 Willow Street

Waterbury, CT 06710 USA

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EIN

46-2366321

NTEE code info

Primary/Elementary Schools (B24)

Kindergarten, Nursery Schools, Preschool, Early Admissions (B21)

Elementary, Secondary Ed (B20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Education

BCCS is committed to the whole child – mind, body and spirit – and every portion of our day reflects this commitment. The school reflects the vision of Children’s Community School (CCS), which has for the past 45 years provided a complete education to Waterbury’s underserved children. The dream of those who founded CCS was to end the isolation of children of poverty, prepare young children to enter school ready to learn and poised for academic success, and, ultimately, to eradicate the cycle of poverty that their families had experienced. Education and self-empowerment were viewed as the keys to success. Parental involvement was sought and fostered.

Like the model on which it is built, BCCS has intentionally created a culture that demands academic excellence and supports character development and self-empowerment for its students. The school is a community of learners based on a culture of high expectations and rooted in the deep belief in the intrinsic worth and potential of every student. Parents are expected to support and participate in their children’s education.

As a Pre-K through grade 8 school, BCCS prepares its students for academic success in competitive high school programs by engaging them in a standards-based educational program. The Common Core and CT Frameworks provide the curricular foundation upon which mastery learning is built. Students are expected to perform at or above grade level in the core subjects of reading, math, and writing. Frequent assessments, both informal and formal, serve as the basis for intentional teaching and differentiated instruction. An extended school day, extended school year and summer term provide increased time on task to help facilitate sustained student achievement.

Recent research and reflection have shown that academic skills alone do not ensure success. BCCS therefore also focuses on the character traits that are the foundation for success. We believe that character is malleable and can be taught, and we are experienced using validated techniques for such teaching. BCCS focuses consistently on helping our students develop the optimism, zest, grit, curiosity, social intelligence, gratitude and self-control (Seligman and Peterson) necessary for resilience and for creating successful and meaningful lives. In addition, we use brain training based on the most recent brain research to help children understand how their brains work and to aid teachers in assisting students with metacognition.

In keeping with our belief in educating the whole child, BCCS provides opportunities for students beyond the traditional classroom through rich extra- curricular programs such as those provided by the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra (whose intensive music program addresses all our students for 12 hours a week) and the Connecticut Science Museum (whose inquiry-based teaching model is the foundation of our science curriculum).

Population(s) Served

Where we work

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Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Brass City Charter School’s (BCCS) mission is to eliminate the achievement gap for children living in Waterbury, CT. The gap is measured through high school graduation rates and standardized test scores. Only about 65% of all Waterbury students graduate from high school on time and only approximately 45% test on grade level at any grade level. BCCS intends to be a model educational institution available free of charge to all Waterbury children and providing the kind and quality of instruction that will close the achievement gap and prepare these children for college or career.

Brass City Charter School (BCCS) uses four strategies to achieve its goals. (1) Immersion: BCCS students attend school for 9.5 hours a day and for 11 months out of the year. Such immersion in our academic program helps fill the children’s time with enriching activities customarily enjoyed by their more affluent peers and permits a schedule with a full range of academics as well as time for tutoring and individual attention. (2) Development of character strengths: Research has shown that seven unique personal qualities (curiosity, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism, self-control, zest, and grit) characterize successful individuals. Having these traits is particularly important in the case of low-income students attempting to make their way through college. The BCCS curriculum therefore emphasizes development of these strengths. (3) Highly effective teachers: All teachers are certified and undergo regular professional development and coaching. A flexible approach to curriculum development combined with continuous student assessment, small class sizes (13 maximum), importance given to individual student attention, and a climate of rigor and discipline result in quality instruction. (4) Partnerships with experts: Foundation-funded collaborations with the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra and the Connecticut Science Center bring our students the best in music and science programming. The Symphony’s Bravo Waterbury! program, based on Venezuela’s el Sistema model, transforms our K through 2nd grade students two hours a day into a community of music instruction, behavior, and performance. The Center’s staff has brought its inquiry-based learning programming to our faculty and has created a Science Lab at the school staffed by Center personnel.

As a state charter school, Brass City Charter School (BCCS) receives 75% of its funding from public monies. Our 501(c)(3) status opens the doors to foundation, corporate, and individual contributions. The charter model permits us to hire and keep only the best faculty and to develop the most appropriate curriculum for our students. Our Board of Directors includes civic and professional leaders, and our charter application received the support of the city’s mayor as well as the superintendent of schools. We started in 2013 with grades pre-K through 1 and will add a grade a year until we reach our charter maximum of grade 8 in 2020. The school’s management team represents many years of experience in urban education.

Measurement of progress will not be available until our first 3rd-grade class has finished the Smarter Balanced Assessments next year.

Financials

BRASS CITY CHARTER SCHOOL
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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BRASS CITY CHARTER SCHOOL

Board of directors
as of 4/20/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Andy Sternlieb

Charles Heaven

Joseph Bizzozero

Catherine Smith

Donald Thompson

Staywell Health Care

Jeanine Pocoski Courtney Bauknecht

Christina Cruz

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? No
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No