If you have heard about New York City-based Success Academy, you may also have heard about how successful their programs have been. So successful, in fact, most of the 41 schools in their network now test in the 90th percentile of all schools in New York State.
Not bad for an organization that has only been in existence since 2006, and was the brainchild of one woman — CEO and founder Eva Moskowitz.
So what makes Success Academy so successful, and how are their students taught differently than children currently attending other New York City schools?
The mission of Success Academy — The mission of the Academy is to provide a high-quality education to children of color, children with special needs and those from low-income families.
To that end, the network planned a curriculum with an emphasis on reading, math and science, and with a push to teach every student critical thinking. All of this is taught in an environment that stresses hands-on education, and working in groups, rather than education via instruction from a teacher alone.
Students work in groups for most of the school day, collaborate on projects, develop their artistic talents by participating in various art projects and get an education via being involved in cultural experiences not always available in other school systems.
Success Academy also makes learning fun as they believe, if a child wants to come to school every day, they will learn faster and better. This has proven true for most of the students attending schools in their network.
Parent involvement — Success Academy also expects every parent to be involved in their child’s education. That means making sure their child arrives on time every day, and is dressed in the school uniform. It also means being involved in the school itself, from participation on a school council to being chaperones during field trips and participating in class clubs.
Future Plans — With this approach to education, Success Academy has not only improved the educational opportunities for more than 14,000 under-privileged children in New York, it is also now looking at opportunities to positively affect the lives of 40,000 more.