The New York city based charter school network Success Academy is known not only for the high scores many of its students get in state-wide tests, it is also known for its schools not having the same problems other New York public schools do.
Why is this, and what has Success Academy done to make sure the schools in its network are not plagued with typical public school problems?
Success Academy discipline — Success Academy is serious about discipline. So serious it runs its schools on a platform of hard work, good behavior, high attendance, a strict dress code and an equally strict expectation of its students adhering to the rules. Any infraction is met with a consequence.
While other public schools are often lax with rules and put up with behavior that is detrimental to the entire student body, Success Academy schools make it obvious from a student being first admitted that infractions will not be tolerated.
Success Academy and fun — While Success Academy’s idea of education being disciplined sounds ominous, lessons at the schools and the way education is looked at is actually fun.
The mission of Success Academy, in fact, is to make learning seem like so much fun students want to keep doing it for as long as they can.
They do this by limiting teacher instruction to only 80 minutes per day. From then on, each student works in a group of their peers and learns by being involved in hands-on projects and by being inquisitive.
Critical thinking is also encouraged, as Success Academy knows children that can think their way through problems to a good result will do better on tests as well as do better in the education system as a whole.
Success in testing — The way Success Academy approaches education has been so successful for students in their schools, all of their elementary and middle schools now test in the 90th percentile across the state.
Thus proving Success Academy’s mission as valid — that a child, no matter what their background, can learn and succeed if given the right environment to do so.