Inner city schools often have reputations for being inhospitable environments plagued with violence, drugs, and apathy. While this is true in some cases, New York’s Success Academy is breaking down that stereotype and proving that how you work with students and parents is more important than the school’s location.
Opening its doors in 2006, Success Academy is now the biggest public charter school association in New York City; it also is the top rated free, public charter school in the area. It is open to all New York children, and a lottery system determines which children attend one of Success Academy’s 41 schools. In all, Success Academy serves 14,000 students in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx. This number also includes special needs students as well as students who are learning the English language.
Success Academy operates on the premise that children learn best when they are in a safe and supportive environment where they have hands-on learning opportunities, and curiosity is encouraged. To help build this sort of atmosphere, students only receive 80 minutes a day sitting in a traditional setting listening to a teacher, who stands in front of the class.
The balance of an elementary school student’s day consists of time spent in direct learning settings, such as science labs, guided reading groups, and art class. Middle school students attend classes designed to increase their understanding of concepts as well as to prepare them for college-level classes. These students also may choose from a plethora of elective classes to supplement the core courses. Students enjoy extra-curricular activities such as theater, Math Olympiads, and sports.
In High School preparation for college is emphasized in core courses, electives, and extra circular activities. Success Academy also helps prepare high school students for other aspects of life after high school like time management, balancing a bank account, and other valuable skills for daily living. School counselors emphasize persistence and hard work throughout each student’s tenure at Success Academy.
Although located in the heart of New York City, Success Academy equips students to excel anywhere in the world.