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Believe High Schools Network (BELIEVE), a not-for-profit Charter School Management

Organization, was established in January 2008. BELIEVE’s mission is to develop and

support charter high schools within its network; Currently Williamsburg Charter High
School, Northside Charter High School, and Southside Charter High School. BELIEVE
is led by President and Chief Executive Officer, Eddie Calderon-Melendez. Eddie, an
exuberant and dedicated Williamsburg native, founded the Williamsburg Charter High
School in 2004, filling a huge gap in the high school landscape for North Brooklyn.
After two additional schools were opened to meet demand, BELIEVE was established to
support and manage these charter high schools.

BHSN is committed to managing and encouraging the development of charter high

schools, a population which has traditionally been underrepresented in the development
of charter schools in New York City. Our schools feature a rigorous college-preparatory
program of study. Our approach requires students to pass all classes with a 70% (five
points higher than NYC public school standards), four years of core subjects,
and three years of Latin.
Williamsburg Charter High School is the first chancellor-
authorized high school in New York City. Developed in
response to a community need for a local environment
focused on academic excellence and innovation,
WCHS was a welcome addition to the North Brooklyn
communities it now serves. Founded in 2004 with a 9th
grade class of 131 students, WCHS has grown to a current
population of 800 students, serving grades 9-12. Each year,
WCHS welcomes new students into a supportive, college-
preparatory culture. The curriculum includes a thorough
liberal arts education designed to not only fulfill New York
State learning standards but also to prepare all students
for life after high school. WCHS graduated its first senior
class in June 2008 with students pursuing higher education
degrees at more than 50 colleges and universities including
New York University and Amherst College. WCHS is
moving into a new facility at 198 Varet Street

Modeled after Williamsburg Charter High School,

Northside and Southside Charter High Schools opened
in August of 2009. Families in North Brooklyn made
repeated requests to WCHS to expand allowing space for
more students. Rather than add more seats for WCHS
and risk diminishing the intimate, small high school
environment, two new rigorous and supportive public
schools were opened and modeled after WCHS.

With invaluable support from the Nonprofit Finance

Fund, Believe Northside Charter High School and Believe
Southside Charter High School were established in 2004.
Northside and Southside achieve outcomes through
delivery of a comprehensive program that includes a New
York state aligned curriculum, high quality materials, and
teaching methods that are attentive and comprehensive to
the individual stage of development for each student.
198 Varet Street, a renovated, state of the art facility, located in
District 14 of Williamsburg, Brooklyn will house Williamsburg
Charter High School beginning in the 2010-2011 academic
year. The new facility is a flexible and adaptable learning
environment for all students which includes planning for rapid
technological and societal changes in both educational programs
and building design. Classrooms, laboratory workspaces,
and common areas will be fitted with wireless technologies
and be designed as interactive learning centers with spaces
for formal and informal seating. Clustered research stations
will give students the opportunity to work independently or
collaboratively in digital environments as they develop research
and application skills.

Dining, physical fitness, and performing/studio arts spaces

accommodate all members of the community and promote
high levels of interaction between students, faculty, and staff
as well as the surrounding community in a safe and inspiring
facility. Each floor is self-contained, creating an environment of
smaller academies. Students are supported both academically
and socially in a manner that changes with the dynamic needs
of high school students.

Specifically our design includes:

• Classrooms: The building will include 20 core classrooms

and 8 elective classrooms. These rooms include
specialized spaces such as science labs (4) and art studios.

• Student Center: This space encompasses all student

support services such as the guidance counselors, social
workers, school nurse, etc.; as well as the library or
research center, school store, and other student-centric
meeting spaces such as club rooms, required, specialized
or dedicated space or equipment.

• Fitness Center: This area is similar in function to a health

club with rooms for cardiovascular activity, weights, yoga,
dance, etc.

• Multi-purpose: This area serves as the cafeteria and

gathering space for large/school-wide events. The cafeteria
will be equipped with a full service kitchen with space for
food preparation.

• Administration/Staff Resource: School administration

spaces include the main office, attendance, principal,
safety officers, and other operations related functions.
A staff or teacher resource room would function as a
professional development library, meeting and planning
space for teachers.
8 Credits (4 years)

Social Studies
8 Credits (4 years)
2 Credits in History and Government
1 Credit in Participation in Government
1 Credit in Economics

8 Credits (4 years)

8 Credits (4 years)

1 Credit (1/2 year)

(Dance, Music, Theater, Visual Arts)
Our broad liberal arts academic program is individualized SCIENCE: The current offerings include Earth Science, 4 Credits (2 years)
to connect to each student’s particular level of development, Biology, Regents Chemistry, Regents Physics, Conceptual
including English Language Learners and students Physics, and AP Physics. Students learn the basics of lab
with Special Education Services. There are supportive procedures, writing lab reports, and analyzing data, as well Foreign Language
relationships with faculty, extended instructional periods,
and opportunities after-school and on Saturdays for
as logic, reasoning, and scientific observation.
6 Credits (3 years)
additional academic support. The core requirements of HISTORY: Students study Global Studies and American
4 years of English, Math, Science, History and 3 years History sequences in grades 9-11 with participation in Physical Education
of foreign language are structured to broaden students’ Government and Economics during the 12th grade year.
perspectives while remaining relevant: Opportunities to study AP European History, AP American
4 Credits (2 years)
History, and AP Government are also available.
ENGLISH: Students learn to examine literary themes and
ideas, and explore literature through study of Shakespeare, FOREIGN LANGUAGE: Latin is offered to help students
Senior Seminar
British literature and American literature works such focus on the classical world, and aid in the understanding Portfolios must be passed for Graduation
as Beowulf, Pride and Prejudice, Catcher in the Rye, of English and basic linguistic structure. Studying Latin
The Great Gatsby, Fences, The Crucible, and To Kill a
Mockingbird. In the early grades, Greek and Roman
translates into a larger vocabulary, higher reading scores, and
better pronunciation. Latin improves skills in vocabulary,
Required Regents
myths and The Odyssey are also explored. reasoning, communication, grammar, and comprehension Comprehensive English
since it focuses on grammar and word roots. Once students US History & Government
MATH: All students cover Algebra, Geometry, and master the logic and consistent grammatical structure of
Trigonometry and incoming students will begin the Latin, they will more easily grasp the grammatical rules of
Global History & Geography
integrated Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra II sequence. English. One (1) Math
We also provide interested students with Pre-Calculus and One (1) Science
Calculus in preparation for higher level math acquisition.
Southside Charter
High School

Williamsburg Charter
High School

N0rthside Charter
High School

Where are Believe Schools located? Help us build on our success.

All three high schools are located in Williamsburg/Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Currently, Believe High Schools share space
with JHS 126. The building is located in a neighborhood that surrounds McCarren Park on 424 Leonard Street. A new Donate today.
state-of –the-art facility is under construction . This location at198 Varet Street in East Williamsburg will be the home of
Join the remarkable businesses, organizations and individuals who support Believe High Schools Network
Williamsburg Charter High School. Tours and more information will be available throughout the year.
Charles Hayden Foundation • Dennis Uniform Manufacturing Company • Assemblyman Joe Lentol • City Council Member Stephen Levin
Assemblyman Vito Lopez • Mars, Inc. • Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz • New York State Education Department
Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation • NYC Charter School Center • Peter Carmen and Lucia Buck Foundation
Do Believe High School students wear uniforms? City Council Member Diana Reyna • Select Equity Group • Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation • SUNY Charter Schools Institute
Yes. Uniforms allow students to focus on their coursework . The Believe uniforms change colors at each grade level. Tiger Foundation • Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez • City Council Member David Yassky
Following a progression of “Believe colors” encourage students to look forward to the next level.

Why do Believe schools require a 70% for passing?

One way Believe students are prepared for life after high school is through our strict credit requirements. While most
Whenever we can, we like to shine a light
city schools pass students at 65%, Believe Schools expect their students to work towards and beyond a 70% to pass any
on our partners.
Please let us know how you would like
How is the Believe Schools calendar different? your name to appear in any future
publications below:
All Believe schools begin at 7:55 am and dismiss at 3:56 pm (Wednesdays are 7:55 am- 1:30 pm). School generally begins
the first week of September and goes through the end of June.

Are there any extra-curricular activities?

Believe Schools share a baseball and basketball team. There are also clubs and theatre activities available to interested
students. Students are encouraged to start clubs if they have a special interest.

For more information about the Believe Network of high schools please call us at
(718) 782-9830 or email us contact@believeschools.org.