AECI Charter Schools Network began in the south Bronx two years ago, and as its enrollment slowly increases, so does the need for a larger building.
The Network recently found one in School District 9 at 116 E. 169 St. and will move there next month.
Looking to be good neighbors, Derick Spaulding, Network CEO, and Dr. Charles Gallo, AECI2 principal, spoke to the Community Board 4 Youth Committee on June 17 about the school and received a letter of support from the committee for the transition to the new space.
“If we are going to come to a community we need to introduce ourselves,” Spaulding said. “We want to be a strong partner with CB 4.”
Currently, AECI has two schools at 838 Brook Ave. and 423 E. 138th St., but has outgrown its campus at the latter location. Therefore, Spaulding and his staff began searching for a new home. He quickly discovered that 32% of students come from District 9, and realized that the space at 169th Street would be a perfect fit. Plus, the timing couldn’t have been better, Spaulding added.
At the 138th Street location, the building is co-located with another school and at 169th Street, the current Rosalyn Yalow Charter School is leaving for a larger space, allowing AECI to finally have a place to themselves.
“In our quest to find a permanent space we started looking in District 7 and noticed the south Bronx is hot right now,” Spaulding said. “We started to expand the frame of where we will settle our roots.”
The school currently enrolls ninth- and 10th-graders, but will be adding juniors in the fall and seniors next year. There are 375 kids total and about 25 per class. AECI offers an array of afterschool programs, such as karate, robotics, sports and student government.
Gallo hopes CB 4 sees AECI as an asset to the community.
“It’s an incredible experience to be back in the south Bronx where I started 50 years ago,” Gallo said. “We believe keeping students engaged is key to a successful school.”