Success Academy Charter Schools is a free, high-performing charter school based in New York City. Each April, a lottery is held for admission purposes. Founded in 2006, the school now has over 32 locations and over 9000 students.
In order to determine what contributes to the outstanding achievements of Success Academy and its students, several teachers were interviewed, as well as principals, parents and critics. Success Academy has a “no excuses” approach to learning. Students have longer academic days, and there is more instruction time. Success is implied and learning is everywhere. A great example is how classrooms are named after the teacher’s alma mater.
Many curriculums have been developed to reinforce learning, such as a block curriculum for Kindergarten students. In this program, children work on architectural sketches before beginning a project with the blocks, and one student is responsible for explaining to the other students in the class the final product. This helps reinforce the concept that everything has a purpose. Children at the school don’t do things just to do them, there is a reason behind it.
Daily workshops for students emphasize writing skills, and students in higher grades have more advanced writing assignments. Once students reach the middle school level, they have independent reading time and literature class, and they receive an Ipad loaded with books to read.
Rigorous curriculums help the students be successful and devoted to their learning. There is a math curriculum as well as project-based learning where students read and write about a certain subject for six weeks.
The learning at this school is very hands on, which contributes to the academic success of the students. The Common Core Program focuses on English and Math, and the teachers are very involved in each student’s individual needs. The teachers go through a vigorous four-week training program upon being hired, making them more hands-on educators contributing to the outstanding standards of the school.