There’s a New School Coming to Astoria

If you’re a parent, you’ve no doubt spent hours wondering where to send your children for school. Public? Private? What about high school? Do they take the specialized test? Are they prepared for it? Well, one more option is looking to be added to the educational choices of Queens’ parents – a charter school.

Success Academy recently announced that by 2016 they are looking to open 14 new public charter schools in New York City – four of which will be in Queens – one in District 30 which includes Astoria, L.I.C and Jackson Heights.

We decided to do a little research into Success Academy – after all, the children of Astoria are important and parents should be informed before deciding to send their children there in the next two years. Success academy has two goals listed: to build schools that are, ” engaging, academically rigorous, economically efficient,” and to “prove that all kids can excel, across neighborhoods and across racial, ethnic and socio-economic lines.” Now, that’s a pretty good mission statement. If you’ve been keeping up with school news in NYC lately, there’s been some initiative to change the testing for Standardized High Schools – the current tests, certain community and board members believe, cater to students who are economically capable of attending vigorous classes and sessions that prepare them for the exam. So, a school that is looking at the diverse, socio-economic variations in NYC, especially in Astoria, is something we can get behind.

The advantage of charter schools is that, though they are part of the public school system, they have more freedom in their approach to teaching. If you have elementary school age children, you know that the newly implement common core has been met with a lot of criticism, as well as programs such as “no child left behind.” Charter schools are capable of trying new, innovative techniques – techniques that may work better than the currently implemented public school programs.

Success Academy began in Harlem in 2006 – so they are fairly new. Between 2006 and 2013 though, they went from 165 students in one Harlem school, to 6,700 students in more than 22 schools. As far as results, here are some stats from the Success Academy website:

  • Success Academy ranks in the Top 1% of all New York schools in Math with 82% of scholars passing the 2013 state exam. SA Bronx 2 ranked #3 out of 3,528 New York State schools in Math, scoring as the top non-selective school in the state. Fifth graders from SA Harlem 4 ranked #1 out of 2,254 schools in New York State in math.
  • We rank in the Top 7% of all New York schools in ELA with 58% of scholars passing the 2013 state exam. Collectively Success Academy scholars performed 27% higher than the New York State average in ELA and 32% higher than New York City. Fifth graders from SA Harlem 3 ranked in the Top 3% of all schools in New York State in ELA. 
  • 100% of all Success Academy scholars passed the 2013 science exam. At Harlem 2-4, a staggering 100% earned an advance rating, the highest possible. 

Those are ridiculously amazing results. But as a young school system, we want to see how they keep it up. As far as the school in Astoria goes, we encourage parents to do their own research into charter schools, and into Success Academy. Our children are our future – and we think that educating them should be one of our top priorities.