Although most of its students are immigrants or African-Americans or Hispanic-Americans or Asian-Americans, and almost all of them are from low-income households, Success Academy test results are beating even those students from the wealthiest school districts in New York.
Success Academy does a lot of things differently than ordinary public schools, and also from other charter schools that achieve extraordinary results.
They start off the day with the principal shaking each student’s hand and welcoming them.
They emphasize doing, not passive listening. Students spend only 80 minutes a day sitting at their desks listening to a teacher lecture them. They devote the remainder of the day to hands on learning and to working in small groups. They work hard to make students fall in love with learning so they would attend school even if they didn’t have to.
Success Academy also has high expectations for the parents of their students. They require parents to get their students there on time every day, in uniform. And they expect parents to read a book a night and to make sure all their homework gets done. They also encourage parents to stay in touch with the teachers and how well their student is doing. Teacher parent communication is considered essential to the equation.
Students are selected by a lottery system. And they have ten applications for every slot. Their schools are safe.