Success Academy, a New York-based charter network, is known around the country for its ability to boost the educational success of children from low-income families and children of color.
In the 11 years it has been in existence, children who attend Success Academy charter schools have tested as some of the best educated in the state when it comes to English, Math and Science. In 2016, children of color from Success Academy schools did better on state tests than did white children, and children that were from low-income families did better than those from the middle-class or higher.
How has Success Academy achieved these remarkable results? By making education fun, and by changing the way their students learn.
The way Success Academy teaches children — Success Academy students are taught in an environment that is high energy and where education is treated as ‘fun’.
Their classes every day consist of 80 minutes of traditional instruction followed by the rest of the day of hands-on learning and working in groups. Emphasis is placed on subjects like English, Math and Science, but art, culture, and even subjects like chess and dance are looked at as equally important.
Students are also taught to think for themselves, to be independent in the way they learn and to have good critical thinking skills.
All of this has created a network of charter schools that many parents in New York are now clamoring to get their children into, and a way of teaching that also includes the parents in almost everything the children do.
Parent involvement is key — Success Academy is also very well aware of how important parent involvement is in a child’s education. So it mandates, if a child is accepted into one of their charter schools, parents must also commit to being involved.
That involvement includes coming to parent teacher conferences, being on the Parent Council, volunteering to be a chaperone on a school trip and generally supporting their child in every activity they participate in.
With all of these things, Success Academy has boosted the education of children from low-income families to such an extent, they now have the same chance at a higher education as do those children from wealthier families.