2016-2017 Blackboard Award Honoree: Mott Haven Academy Charter School

Photo by Daniel S. Burnstein

Editor’s note: To read profiles of all 2016-2017 Blackboard Awards honorees, click HERE! Plus: Scroll down for video from the Awards ceremony.

Mott Haven Academy Charter School
Principal & School Founder: Jessica Nauiokas
Assistant Principal & School Founder: Ashlyn Field

Pre-K-5 (Expanding to 8)
170 Brown Place, Bronx
Award: Outstanding School

Describe your school’s core educational philosophy.
The Mott Haven Academy Charter School empowers children in an educational environment that addresses and reduces the barriers to academic success through the integration of family support services with a rigorous, college-preparatory academic program. Our graduates will be resilient, resourceful, independent scholars who have the skills necessary to reach their full potential and to build a better future. Our goal is to reduce the achievement gap that plagues children growing up in poor, underserved, urban communities. We have developed a school climate that addresses these unique needs through academic and social emotional interventions.

Tell us about a few of the school’s achievements or distinguishing programs.
In order to ensure that every student reaches high levels of academic achievement, teachers gather, analyze, and use information about student progress to differentiate lesson plans and personalize instruction. We continue to implement evidence-based Social Emotional curricula as well as school-wide Positive Behavior Supports. The After-School Program at Haven Academy extends the school day to 6pm and is offered to 100 percent of our students. This year we will be collaborating with Harvard University to offer our families additional supports in the evenings.

Photos by Andrew Schwartz

What’s new?
Our work continues to achieve academic results and recognition for our contribution to the field of educating children in the child welfare system. In 2016, we were awarded a State Dissemination Grant which will allow us to capture and share elements of our trauma sensitive environment with the broader New York City community. In 2017, Haven Academy will open a middle school starting with the expansion to 6th grade and expanding to 8th grade at full capacity.

What do you love about your school?
Our mission and purpose—the notion our school environment is a stabilizing force for kids who might be experience chaos in their home life. Our kids love school. Haven is a safe place where kids want to be. Our scholars make positive attachments to adults and are excited to work with many team members, whether it is in an intervention, club or mentorship relationship. There is no stigmatization about getting personalized help.