Group hopes to turn a defunct parochial school into a charter


A group of educators including Fordham University professors is seeking to establish a charter school for students in grades six through 12 in District 10 in August 2015. 

Founder Colin Greene said the Atmosphere Academy has spread pamphlets and petitioned for signatures of support at Our Lady of Angels Church in Kingsbridge, although that is not the intended site of the academy.

According to Mr. Greene, the academy is considering the shuttered Our Lady of Mercy School as a possible site for the proposed school.

While the academy is not a project of Fordham University, Mr. Green said his school would work with the Center for Educational Partnerships at Fordham’s Graduate School of Education.

“There are a lot of resources in the community that are not tapped,” Mr. Greene said in reference to Fordham University, which is less than two miles away from Our Lady of Mercy School.

Teacher training

According to the academy’s plans, the Center for Educational Partnerships will provide training for teachers of English as a non-native language and graduate students to intern as school psychologists, among other services.

On its website, the academy also touts one social worker and two social worker interns from Fordham’s graduate school per grade level.

“There’s been a lot of connections between Fordham and the starting of the Atmosphere Academy,” said Grant Grastorf, an Atmosphere Academy trustee and administrator for Fordham’s Westchester campus.

The academy’s advisory board includes three adjunct professors at Fordham, while there is another adjunct professor among the trustees.

The school is also partnering with Bard College, which would provide student teachers, training and other support.

Long road

Regardless of its organizers’ background, the academy has a long way to go before it can open its doors. 

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