The Success Academy runs a network of charter schools in New York City that is shocking the educational world with their accomplishments.
A few years ago, just 29 percent of New York City school students tested as proficient in English on the Common Core exams the state gives all its students. Just 35 percent of New York City’s students earned a proficient rating in Math.
But the numbers for Success Academy students were quite higher. 64 percent of them were proficient in English and 94 percent were proficient in Math.
However, almost all Success Academy students are low-income, and racial and ethnic minorities. Many are immigrants. Yet they outperformed students in New York City’s wealthiest districts. An article in Education Next takes an in-depth look at why Success Academies produce such outstanding results.
For one thing, students absorb content. Every small child plays with blocks in kindergarten. But Success Academy has a plan for learning along with blocks. Children work in groups and design small buildings. They have books with pictures of grand buildings to emulate.
And Success Academy continues this emphasis on content. They encourage students to read a lot, to write a lot and to discuss their ideas logically a lot. That builds their proficiency in the English language, but the books they read also fill their fund of general knowledge about the world.
Most public schools in New York City don’t teach science until the middle grades. But Success Academy students get at least one hour of experiment-based science per day beginning in kindergarten. 100% of their fourth and eighth graders passed the state’s science proficiency tests, 99% with an advanced score.
They do prepare their students for the test, because their results have a great influence on their educational opportunities and, therefore, the rest of their lives. It builds their English skills by using the language to absorb everything else they are taught. They developed their own procedures for teaching math, and it is closely aligned with the Common Core tests.
Success Academy spends a lot of time, money and effort training its teachers. Also, they put in ten to twelve hour days. Besides teaching, grading and preparing they spend a lot of time meeting with parents.