When I founded Success Academies in 2006, I set out to create rigorous, high-performing public schools that I’d send my own children to in a heartbeat. Five years later, Success Academies is doing just that, serving 3,500 students at very high levels in the Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn. It’s with this same motivation to provide even more families with great public school options that Success Academies plans to open in Cobble or Boerum Hill next August.
Success Academy will serve students in grades K-8 and provide a well-rounded, college prep curriculum that includes daily science instruction, arts, music and even chess — a favorite for developing critical thinking skills. Our results speak for themselves — our schools regularly rank among the top performing in the entire state in reading, math and science. This past year, 100 percent of our fourth graders at our flagship school aced the New York state math exam.
Since announcing this decision, one question has come up over and over again: Why Cobble or Boerum Hill? After all, District 15, is already home to many outstanding public schools. I couldn’t agree more. But let’s face it. There’s been a baby boom in Brownstone Brooklyn and the numbers of seats at the best schools aren’t keeping up with demand. This year, many families found themselves on waitlists or forced to attend schools not of their own choosing. Education is the biggest decision a parent will make and the idea that choice is taken out of the equation is a big part of what spurred us to action. We know the demand exists — more than 1,500 District 15 residents signed a petition expressing interest in applying to one of our schools.
This process is just beginning and I look forward to speaking with as many parents as possible and answering their questions. One of the biggest ones, of course, is our location. That decision is up to the Department of Education, and we look forward to working with them and the community to identify the best available space. Having done this nine times already, I know there will be lots of noise, but ultimately little impact on our neighbors — who we work closely with to create a high quality learning environment for all children, no matter which school they attend. In fact, several studies have shown that buildings where charter and district schools share space are less overcrowded than single school buildings.
But don’t just take my word for it. I encourage all prospective families to come see first hand whether we’re the right fit. They should tour a school and speak with teachers and other parents. After all, we’re here to give families another option so that when the time comes, they can make the best choice for their child.
Eva Moskowitz, a former city councilwoman, is the founder and CEO of the Success Charter Network.