New Staten Island Charter School Aims to Help At Risk High School Students

By Nicholas Rizzi on March 13, 2014 9:50am 

 Dr. Kenneth Byalin, founder of the Lavelle Prep Charter School, has plans for a new charter school on Staten Island aimed to help at risk high school students graduate and become college or career ready.
Dr. Kenneth Byalin, founder of the Lavelle Prep Charter School, has plans for a new charter school on Staten Island aimed to help at risk high school students graduate and become college or career ready.
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DNAinfo/Nicholas Rizzi

BLOOMFIELD — A proposed charter school for Staten Island aims to help at-risk students or those who have already dropped out of high school, its founders said.

The New Ventures Charter School, which changed its name from the original The Richmond Charter School for Entrepreneurship, will aim to get students aged 16 to 21 college and career ready with a more focused instructional model.

"Our students will do their work in a much more concentrated way," said Kenneth Byalin, president of the school. "Students will prepare one academic course with three terms during the year."

The school held its first public-comment meeting on Wednesday night at Lavelle Prep, and was met with near universal support from the small crowd.

"A lot of these kids are forgotten by the system," said Carmen Martinez, the head of the PTA at Lavelle Prep. "I think this new school would give the guidance they need."

Byalin, who helped found Lavelle Prep, said the new school plans to share space with Lavelle when it opens, and plans to have students work at internships or mentor programs with local businesses to promote entrepreneurs.

"This school, at its core, is committed to helping every student overcome the obstacles they face in their paths to success and in helping every student discover their inner entrepreneur," Byalin said.

Byalin said the group got the idea to start the school when they did the first lottery for Lavelle Prep and many parents were asking if it would be open to older students looking to get back to school.

"People started calling and saying 'What can you do for my child? He's too old for the Lavelle Prep lottery,'' Byalin said. "We didn't have anything to offer."

The school will submit its application at the end of the month, and if all goes well it will accept its first class of 68 students in 2015, Byalin said.

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