Good buzz is being heard around Eva Moskowitz’s network of Charter Schools in New York, Success Academy. The mission is to serve the poor and low performing communities to bridge the gap. The teachers and staff are completing their mission with great success. New York City school children average 29% proficient in English but Success Academy students average 64%. The network has blossomed from one school in 2006 to 32 schools today. They are hoping to open an additional 13 schools that would educate about 2% of New York’s 1.1 million school aged children.
This charter school has earned their name the Success Academy because no charter network has grown as fast or earned such stellar results. Success Academy seems comparable to the other “no excuses” schools. These schools have stricter expectations and hold their students to a much more rigorous routine. The big key to their success is the fact that content remains the number one focus. “Joyful Rigor” is the term used to describe their purposeful, yet fun curriculum. Even kindergartners work together on a small blueprint before they build something with blocks. They even have books as resources to help them with inspiration for their projects.
At Success Academy, they have even developed their own original ELA Curriculum, THINK Literacy. THINK Literacy is a balanced literacy program that emphasizes independent reading. Every day the students spend two hours on the program, and this innovative program may be a reason for their success. They encourage reading through independent reading time, a literature class, and access to IPads loaded with electronic books. Writings skills are a big part of the curriculum from kindergarten through the upper grades regardless if their is a test or not.
Aside from content, quality conversations and quality teacher training. Teachers at Success Academy receive intensive training at Teacher Success Academy and have access to technology in every classroom, like Smartboards. It is no wonder that these schools are helping typically underachieving students achieve great success.