Citizens of the World enrollment nearly doubles since September
by Andrew Shilling
Feb 05, 2014 | 6717 views | 4 4 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Principal Meredith Cronk
Principal Meredith Cronk
Students study grammar at Citizens of the World charter school.
Students study grammar at Citizens of the World charter school.
Citizens of the World charter school has now been open for nearly four months, and while gathering minimum attendance of 100 students was difficult in the beginning, the new North Brooklyn school has since met and exceeded their requirements.

Protests and opposition from the community came last summer prior to opening the Williamsburg branch, which is co-located on the third floor of M.S. 126, but Principal Meredith Cronk said she remained optimistic about their success.

“I think that was one of the things that made people very nervous initially because the school is in a middle school,” Cronk said. “But that changed once parents could come in here and see that our space is very well contained. There’s no traffic from other schools and we have a separate entrance.”

Although SUNY, the school's authorizer, put the school on probation for low enrollment numbers in October 2013, Cronk said their recruitment efforts and outreach has filled the school at 424 Leonard St., which now has an attendance of 106 and growing, however they are still on probation.

“We did a lot of outreach to let people know that we were open, and they could come see the school,” she said, adding that they also offer bus service to students commuting from the surrounding neighborhoods. “A lot of the original founding families spread the word in their communities.”

Cronk said the school is right where they want to be, and while they were originally forced to remove one of their first grade classes back in October, all four classes are back in full operation and the staff has once again rebounded to 10 full-time teachers.

With two certified teachers appointed to each class, one acting as the lead teacher and other as an associate, the school is able to break classes up into small groups and target individual lessons towards different skill levels among students.

“It’s a model that a lot of other schools have adopted in elementary schools as a way of getting that small class size,” Cronk said.

Mark Comanducci, executive director of CWC, said the school has been able to operate solely on per pupil taxpayer funding for local charter schools, providing $13,500 per student, however they plan to begin fundraising in the future.

“Right now, due to the ‘per people funding,’ we haven’t had to do much fundraising as of yet,” Comanducci said. “We would want to, but we are able to operate on the per people funding from the state of New York.”

Comanducci added that while he is not only confident in their financial standing going into the spring semester, he is also pleased with their work at getting the numbers up to where they need to be.

“We spend a lot of time investing time in the community,” he said. “We try to work with as many daycares and preschools as possible, expose them to what our school is and what we are trying to do, and they advocate to other families.”

Looking forward to 2014, Cronk said there is an abundance of applications already in and the school is expecting to continue their initial plans of adding another kindergarten class in 2014, as well as 2nd grade classes for those moving on from first grade.

“Right now, even with a little bit of attrition, our first and second grade classes should be full for next year,” she said. “We’re also seeing a big uptick in applications from District 14.”

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Concerned Citizen
February 13, 2014
Citizens of the World is a start-up and judging from the performance of their schools, they don't know what they are doing.

At the California schools, the National Network has repeatedly shown little regard for ELLs, special ed students, and general safety for their kids.

At one school, parents do janitorial work and lunchroom duties because the administration won't hire people to do it. A child with multiple health problems was denied services to accommodate his emotional and medical needs--in fact, there's not even a nurse on staff. After having a seizure in class he wound up in a coma on life support. No money for essential services, yet parents at this small school are asked to raise $500,000 this year alone.

At another school, a child with a fever was wrapped in blankets (against the instructions of her mother), which caused her to have a febrile seizure. When the mother arrived, she found her daughter alone and passed out on the floor, covered in her own vomit. Again, no nurse.

Because they refused to install secure gates, more than once children wandered off their campuses. And when two young children were caught kissing and exposing themselves by a parent at their co-located school, Citizens staff refused to do anything about it.

One school has even begun documenting the atrocities:

Finally, a very serious tragedy happened just this week at the first school they opened in Hollywood. After neglecting to hire a crossing guard despite repeated requests from parents to school administrators, a mother and her daughter were struck crossing the street. The mother died and her 9yo was injured.

It's worth noting that the national corporation that opened these schools skims 2-8% off the per-pupil funding at every school to enrich themselves, paying 6-figure salaries to their top executives while parents are asked to scrub toilets.

This is what happens when schools are unregulated. The "school choice" movement that Citizens of the World embraces is all about competition, and free-market economics. Sadly, for Citizens of the World it's led them to value profit over children. Is that the kind of Citizen you want your child to be?
February 11, 2014
We must continue to stress that Citizens of the World Williamsburg (aka CWC Williamsburg) is on probation to close. In spite of their enrollment increase, SUNY has decided to continue their probation indefinitely. Should SUNY decide to take CWC off probation, there is an ongoing lawsuit on the part of over 200 local parents to close the school.

That CWC Williamsburg school has recruited families for months - knowing their risk for closure and never telling the families they recruited - speaks volumes about their ethics. We find those kind of lies by omission reprehensible, but par for the course for an organization that well respected Congressman Velazquez has asked the IRS to investigate for fraud.

You will see in all of the materials including public comments by staff and Executive Director, Mark Comanducci, that CWC Williamsburg never mentions their probationary status. CWC has pumped every resource they have into marketing, but local parents continue to choose our excellent neighborhood schools.

Every attempt was made to close CWC before it opened, but CWC and SUNY refused to acknowledge the lack of demand or interest on the part of our community in their school. The school opened with less than 1/2 of it's intended enrollment and only 1 student from the zip code attending. We have excellent neighborhood schools that offer exactly what CWC claims to offer, but have the support of our community.

The sum of all of our neighborhood public schools combined don't have the marketing budget that this single school has. Don't fall for the powerpoint presentations and the film footage.

If there are any questions regarding the probationary status of CWC Williamsburg or questions regarding why the Community Board, the CEC14, parents, and every elected body in the community have stood against CWC Williamsburg, feel free to contact our elected officials and ask them.
Mark Comanducci
February 09, 2014
We are thrilled to be able to report that CWC Williamsburg has nearly doubled its enrollment since the start of school, achieving an 89% increase in enrollment! We are now proudly serving 106 students and their families.

We know that few schools are ever able to achieve such an increase in enrollment in the middle of the school year. Once parents were able to see our school model in action, nearly 90 percent of them chose to enroll their child in CWC Williamsburg.

We are also pleased to report that because of this enrollment increase, and because our charter authorizer SUNY has found our school to be financially sound, SUNY has confirmed we will remain open.

We know it is not an easy decision to switch a child into a new school after the school year has started, and yet our families made the change because they believe the unique model that CWC Williamsburg offers is the right choice for their child. This trend is one that Citizens of the World schools have seen nationally. All other CWC schools currently have waitlists.

Our heartfelt thanks go out to our parents, teachers and staff who spent their time and energy sharing perspectives and stories with other families (see:

We will continue to engage with families across Brooklyn as we grow and add a grade level each year so that they, too, are aware of the opportunities offered at CWC Williamsburg. We are more committed than ever to serving as many young people and families as possible.

As we speak, our talented educators are inspiring 106 students through meaningful projects that bring learning to life, giving them the individual support they need to flourish academically and work together productively. Our students are now developing the knowledge and skills – along with resilience and character – that will allow them to grow into individuals prepared to thrive in college, a diverse society and a global economy, as citizens of the world.

Thank you for your support!
February 05, 2014
Citizens of the World Williamsburg misled your reporter.

As of January 17, 2014, Citizens of the World Williamsburg's probation was extended indefinitely. There are numerous issues that the Board of Trustees needs to address before their probation is lifted.

CWC never met the terms of their probation in time, and grants that are in their budget will likely be returned because they were applied for fraudulently when they couldn't get enough board members to be a legal educational corporation.

Any one who is curious about the ACTUAL status of Citizen of the World Charter School's probation should contact our elected representatives Assemblyman Lentol and Senator Dilan.

Lentol and Dilan are putting through legislation that compels charter schools to inform the public of their risk for closure when they are put on probation, particularly to parents they are recruiting.

Absolutely none of CWC's marketing materials mentioned their probationary status.

This is, of course, leaving aside the ongoing lawsuit that 200 neighborhood parents launched to close the school, the numerous lawsuits against their schools in Los Angeles, and the IRS investigation that Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez requested into Citizens of the World Charter Schools.

If you have any questions about the school or would like to do a follow up article on anything we've mentioned, feel free to email our organization at