Dream Charter School: What to Know Before Applying in 2025

In New York State, charter schools are publicly funded and accessible to all children through a non-discriminatory admissions lottery. A not-for-profit board of trustees that may include educators, representatives of the community, and business executives oversees each charter school.

Charters are free to create their own rules and create their educational plan. They can also choose how they allocate their people and financial resources.

Dream Charter School, formerly known as Harlem RBI, started in 1991 when a group of volunteers turned a vacant, trash-strewn lot into two distinct baseball diamonds for the East Harlem kids.

Thirty years later, Dream Charter School in New York provides youth development initiatives focused on community sports to thousands of kids in East Harlem and the Bronx via a network of free, extended-day, extended-year DREAM Charter Schools.

Dream Charter is building a future where all children are prepared to realize their vision of success. They create a whole child model that responds to the distinct academic and social demands of every kid.

Dream Charter School gives youth opportunities to play, learn, and develop. Their goal is to level the field by enabling all kids to see their potential and achieve their goals.

This article contains veritable information for parents and students who wish to apply for Dream Charter School in New York in 2025. Let’s log in!

Background Information Of Dream Charter School

Then – the nonprofit organization Dream Charter School NY, also known as Harlem RBI, was established in 1991. A group of volunteers turned an abandoned, trash-filled lot into two separate baseball diamonds for the youngsters of East Harlem, settling on what is now the Dream Charter School.

Times previously referred to as “The Worst Block in NYC.” Those original Harlem RBI Volunteers understood the importance of a safe area to play in their neighborhood. They knew that the East Harlem families and kids deserved better.

As they expanded over time, Harlem RBI used their summer and after-school enrichment program to address the community’s bigger concerns, such as low literacy and low high school graduation rates. The outcomes were overwhelming.

Graduation rates rose, college admission rates rose, and the vast majority of their children did not experience summer learning loss. The administration of the school finally realized that restricting their work to after-school hours was insufficient.

History of Dream Charter School

East Harlem’s Dream Charter School was established in 2008, making it possible to implement their approach for an extended day and year. In 2015, they officially opened their first school at 1991 Second Avenue.

The ambitious project comprised the East Harlem Center for Living and Learning, a 160,000-square-foot multi-family and mixed-use structure that includes 89 affordable housing units and restored park space. It was the first public school building in East Harlem in 50 years.

The Dream charter school also introduced its Legends program, which continues to this day to offer alumni of its schools and programs intense postsecondary support for up to six years.

With the help of the strategy they have developed for the next ten years, Dream Charter School in New York has the basis to dream large and ambitious dreams for the future.

This entails growing to achieve even greater dreams, such as reaching out to over 2,000 youngsters in New York City annually. This also means never stopping until our students achieve postsecondary outcomes that are on par with or better than those of their wealthy classmates across the country.

The grades available at Dream charter school NY are Pre-k to Grade 12.

The OCAPSS Team, which comprises the Lower House Youth Development Center along with the Upper House College Counseling Office organizes and facilitates studio sessions, workshops, and other programs. These programs help all students in grades 9 through 12 strengthen and develop:

  • Student Life Programming
  •  College Access
  •  Career Readiness & Life Satisfaction
  •  Social Emotional Learning
  •  College Readiness
  • Student Life Programming
  •  College Access
  •  Career Readiness & Life Satisfaction

By the end of their senior year, students of Dream Charter NY chose their ideal postsecondary program. This could be a four-year college or university, 2-year community college, or a program for workforce development.

Unique Features of Dream Charter School

The Dream Charter School is a 200,000-square-foot adaptive reuse project in the Bronx. The project, which transforms the former ice warehouse into a vibrant new learning environment for the twenty-first century, honors the original building’s industrial past.

The new facility at Dream Charter NY pays tribute to the existing building’s exquisite architecture and embraces remnants of its past by preserving its visible steelwork brick, barrel-vaulted ceilings, and big arched windows.

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The design adds two covered outdoor entry spaces with wooden seats and cascading ramps and staircases. This creates a serene transition between the street edge and the building’s interior programming.

It strategically placed two light wells on both the north and south sides of the building to provide visitors with natural light as they go within. 

These light wells establish visual links both horizontally and vertically between classrooms. The building concludes with an open-air rooftop that overlooks the city in contrast to the enclosed outdoor entryway.

Specialty laboratories, specialty classrooms, and make spaces are all along the building’s north and south sides to ensure natural light penetration.

The structure at Dream Charter School allows substantial space for artistic production, effectiveness, STEAM, and, equally important, play. This gives all disciplines equal weight. The Hall of Dreams, a triple-height, light-filled cathedral-style hall that serves as a focal point for gatherings, is located on the third level.

The vast barrel-vaulted art wing on the third level, next to the Hall of Dreams, is created with flexibility in mind. This allows it to switch from hosting smaller-scale, one-on-one art projects to hosting larger-scale collaborations or hosting forums or neighborhood gatherings.

Dream Charter School Learning style

STEAM-based learning is practiced throughout the whole structure at Dream Charter School in New York. Within a well-established central core are spaces for administration, support, special education, and mental health counseling.

The placement of the student support zone in the center creates an internal perimeter zone that is activated, naturally illuminated, and bordered by two light wells and informal breakout areas.

All floors have both formal and informal areas for rest, play, and movement. For example, the ground floor has a separate “Play Space” for artistic movements, such as dance, and the fourth floor’s “Commons” has seating as an amphitheater for impromptu gatherings that serve as the expansion of the high school cafeteria.

The building’s new addition, which rises above the existing structure and includes a cutting-edge gymnasium, a scientific quad, and an outdoor rooftop, is the building’s apex. The rooftop, surrounded by a planted garden, serves as an outdoor learning place, an athletic complex, and a backup event location.

Dream Charter School is affiliated with many organizations that support college access and admittance, including CACNY, NCAN, NACAC, and NYSACAC.

Admission Process

It costs nothing to apply for Dream Charter School in New York, and the lottery chooses students. Students must submit applications before the lottery deadline. Any received after that date will be added in the order upon which they are received to a waitlist.

Students can apply and submit applications to Dream Charter School online in English, Spanish, and French.

Any child qualified for enrollment in a regular public school is also qualified for enrollment in a public charter school like Dream Charter.

There cannot be any restrictions on enrollment in a charter school based on a student’s ability, race, creed, gender, country of origin, religion, ancestry, or level of achievement or aptitude.

Dream Charter School NY admits all kids who seek to enroll, provided there is room.

If more students apply to Dream charter school than the facility can accommodate, public drawing will decide attendance. This excludes current Dream Charter School students. Current Dream Charter school students, relatives of current Dream Charter school students, and students who live in the district will receive preference.

Eligibility Requirements for Dream Charter School Application

Dream charter school may request the child’s name, parent, or guardian. To evaluate preferred eligibility if a lottery system will be utilized to choose candidates, more information may be needed.

Additional data may be collected as part of the enrolling process after the lottery procedure and after the student/family has accepted a placement offer. For kindergarten or first grade, this could involve age verification and confirmation of residency (for preference eligibility).

Documentation containing the parent or guardian’s name and address in the district, such as but not limited to any of the following, may serve as proof of residency:

  • Receipts for paying property taxes
  • Pay stubs 
  • Rental property contract, lease, or payment receipt
  • Voter registration documents 
  • Official government correspondence
  • Utility service contract, statement, or payment receipt
  • Parental or guardian signature on a statement of residency

One can confirm one’s age using a variety of documents, such as:

  • A passport 
  • A baptism certificate with the proper attestation 
  • A certified copy of the birth record 

If none of the aforementioned are available, an affidavit from the parent, guardian, or custodian of the minor must be provided. Any other suitable way to show the child’s age as determined by the school district’s governing board is also acceptable.

Dream Charter Application Process

Three simple procedures exist for applying to any charter school:

  • To apply to several schools at once, use the Universal Online Charter School Application. 
  • To download the application or submit an online application, go to each school’s website.
  • You can either call the school as well as ask staff to mail you an application or drop by the school so you can pick up an application.
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To enroll your child in any charter school, you must complete a simple application and submit it, along with some basic information about the student. Every year, applications must be received by April 1.

Curriculum and Instruction

Through the development of critical literacy skills necessary for their success as professionals and as agents of social change, the high school curriculum at Dream Charter School in New York equips students for college and beyond.

Overview of Dream Charter School Curriculum

Students build a portfolio of college-level assessments of performance throughout their time at Dream Charter School. This serves as a representation of their capacity to learn, apply, as well as reflect across all disciplines.

As a capstone action and rite of passage, students in the 10th and subsequent 12th grades show and uphold their portfolios in their Defenses of Learning. Dream Charter School NY offers the following instructions:

Freshman Courses

  • Global History
  • Living Environment
  • Performing Arts
  • Freshman Courses
  • Algebra
  • American Literature I

Sophomore Courses

  • Geometry
  • Global History II
  • Visual Arts
  • American Literature II
  • Earth Science

Junior Courses

  • AP US History Algebra II
  • AP Environmental Science
  • Spanish II
  • Algebra II
  • AP Seminar

Senior Courses

  • AP Bio
  • Statistics
  • Calculus
  • AP Literature
  • AP Research

Science, technology, engineering, art, and math are collectively referred to as STEAM. STEAM education is the exclusive focus of the Dream Charter School NY. The Dream Charter’s STEAM curriculum is centered on fostering students’ curiosity and creativity via the arts in methods that naturally complement STEM study.

Dream Charter School Student Life

896 students attend Dream Charter School in New York, which offers grades K through 11. 98% of the school’s students are minorities. 28 is a better student-teacher ratio than the district average.

The support services Dream Charter provides to her students through the Dean of student support include:

  • Teach and track the progress of a caseload of students to identify their strengths and needs, conduct data analysis, and accurately give and plan interventions;
  • To encourage student reading growth, offer a wide range of research-based interventions in reading options;
  • Take part in weekly grade team meetings to ensure awareness of grade-level standards & concepts and to maintain an ongoing interaction with content area teachers;
  • Leading students via guided and independent practice while providing visual anchors, agendas, and materials, modeling replies, and routinely checking for understanding.
  • Integrating a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) within the designated reading intervention program. Establishing and monitoring student IEP goals, and presenting student data both orally and in writing during IEP meetings are all ways to show that you understand the special education sector; 
  • Create a joyful, goal-oriented, positive learning atmosphere where students can feel invested in and motivated to attain academic greatness;
  • Communicate routinely with parents regarding student progress and IEPs.They must communicate successes and problems, to involve them in their children’s academic achievement.  

Great expectations, a strong culture of care, and a vision of student success and excellence describe dream charter school as a model learning community.

Dream Charter School Faculty and Staff

There are 1 full-time school counselor and 32 equivalent full-time teachers. Dream Charter School NY works to ensure that the processes are fair, hospitable, and productive while employing staff who reflect and value the diversity of the primarily Black and Hispanic student body.

Dream Charter is committed to establishing a society in which young people. This Charter school offers those of color the freedom and resources to pursue their aspirations.

It encourages its staff to advance personally and professionally. Frequent discussions about race, racism, power, and privilege help to create this culture by better preparing us all to support one another and serve our communities.

They hold anti-racism training seminars for the board and staff. For directors, deans, principals, chiefs, and managers, the school offers a six-part professional and personal growth series that examines how race affects how they cooperate with others and lead.

The Dream Charter School in New York Connect sponsorship program matches school leaders with senior DREAM leaders to get coaching and advocacy. This is another tool used by the Dream Charter.

The school formalized the values and procedures that have been treated as an integral part of Dream Charter’s DNA since its inception in 2025. Their final DEI strategy is based on three key areas of attention:

  • By routinely examining talent and people processes through an equity perspective, you can keep the playing field level.
  • Develop a diverse workforce by supporting its personal and professional growth.
  • To increase equity in school-based methods, policies, programs, and curriculum, improve the student experience.

Since its modest beginnings on 100th Street, Dream Charter School NY has developed, changed, and expanded to serve the needs of its neighborhood.

Parent Involvement

Long-term studies have demonstrated the advantages of parental participation in education. But studies have also revealed that middle-class White parents are disproportionately active.

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It was a thing that minority and low-income parents had fewer barriers to involvement in charter schools because they are schools of choice. A poll of charter leaders conducted in 2007 reveals that parent involvement is still a major obstacle.

Importance of Parents’ Involvement at Charter School

This qualitative study examines parent involvement programs in twelve charter schools in six different U.S. states using Epstein’s model of family involvement. Results point to a rather good fit between Epstein’s typology and the parent participation “activities” in the investigation’s sample of urban charter schools.

The “strategies” employed to carry out these activities and draw in difficult-to-reach parents, however, are comparatively creative. To increase and guarantee engagement, study schools provided wrap-around services, incentives, and contracts.

They also used technology to promote parent volunteer opportunities and included parents in the decision-making and management of the school. Overall, these techniques were associated with raising parents’ confidence and self-efficacy in their ability to contribute to their kids’ education.

For the past few decades, the connection between parental involvement and students’ achievement has become a well-established and substantiated topic. In a world that is always changing, the interaction between parents and schools becomes crucial to achieving the goals of the educational system.

Here are some positive outcomes of effective parental involvement in Dream Charter School:

  • Regular attendance and completion of tasks
  • Better social skills and behavior
  • Greater sense of self and social accountability
  • A sense of personal competence for learning
  • Higher grades and scores in exams.
  • Lower drop-out rates
  • Greater likelihood of course completion
  • Higher graduation rate

Opportunities for parents’ involvement in Dream Charter School New in York include:

  • Actively participating in parent portals to be informed about communications from the school, student progress, and teacher comments.
  • Taking part in parent-teacher conferences and collaborating with educators to address the areas that can be improved.
  • Encouraging the academic success and advancement of the kids.
  • Allowing the pupils to set reasonable goals and assisting them in achieving them.
  • Encouraging family members to engage in constructive conversation about any issues they may have. This includes reading and writing activities.

The notion that home influences learning 60–80% and school influences it 20–40% is now universal knowledge.

Because of the lack of standardized parental engagement approaches in Dream Charter School in New York, this relative impact caused by parental involvement is currently not a reliable indicator. It also heavily depends on other elements like genetic predisposition, family socioeconomic situation, geographic circumstances, and parental literacy. However, supportive parental involvement may play a substantial role in adolescents’ general growth and academic achievement.

Inclusion, equity, and diversity are central to Dream Charter’s goal. They know that the world in which they do their work is a much bigger one. One in which students live and work and deal with issues of equity daily.

Although this has consistently been true, the recent political and social unrest has made the school’s interaction with children and families, as well as its DEI investments, more critical than ever.

Frequently Asked Questions

What time does Dream Charter School operate? 

The breakfast hour is 7:30–7:55. The start of the school day is at 7:45 and it concludes at 4:00, with afterward lasting until 5:45. For students attending aftercare, Friday dismissal is often either 1:00 pm or 5:00 pm. Every DREAM scholar will have access to the school’s free after-school programs.

Where is Dream charter school situated? Does it provide busing?

DREAM has locations in Mott Haven in the South Bronx (K-2 and 6), as well as East Harlem (K-12). For the 2025–22 academic year, Dream Charter School Mott Haven will likely offer eligible families busing before school and at regular dismissal. They most likely won’t be able to offer busing after school if you decide to enroll your child in after-school. Busing is not currently available at Dream Charter School East Harlem, which is unfortunate.

What sort of assistance does DREAM provide for kids with IEPs?

At Dream Charter School in New York, they warmly welcome all children, and each of our classes features an integrated co-teaching approach (two instructors in each classroom), as well as on-site paraprofessional services, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, physical therapy, and hearing support services.
IEP services are always given in person. Academic and social-emotional interventions are part of the Tier 2 Support services that Dream Charter School provides for its pupils without IEPs.

For the current academic year, is DREAM currently taking applications?

You are always welcome to apply for the current school year because Dream Charter School NY fills spaces as they become available. Fill out a standard application to apply; there will be a section to specify that you are applying for the current academic year.

Conclusion

Through a non-discriminatory admissions lottery, charter schools in New York State are accessible to all students and are publicly supported. A non-profit board of trustees, which could comprise educators, community people, and business executives, oversees each charter school.

Despite a culture that denies some children access to opportunities and agency, Dream Charter School considers the potential of all children.

While many schools place a strong emphasis on academics and social-emotional learning, Dream Charter School also promotes wellness, in-depth family and community engagement, and good health. These four core pillars of their work are integrated into Dream Charter School NY, which distinguishes it and propels excellent outcomes for our students, families, and communities.

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