Success Academy Bronx 1 Charter School

339 MORRIS AVENUE
BRONX NY 10451 Map
Phone: (347) 286-7950
Website: Click here
Admissions: Lottery/Priority District 7
Principal: Elizabeth Vandlik
Neighborhood: South Bronx
District: 7
Grade range: K-5
Unzoned
Charter School

What's special:

Fast-paced curriculum; charter model allows for flexibility in hiring, scheduling, and lessons.

The downside:

School has little physical room to grow, so continued expansion will likely require a move.

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

As its name implies, Bronx Success Academy 1 is the first Bronx franchise of the popular Success Academy network of charter schools that got its start in Harlem under the leadership of Eva Moskowitz, a former chair of the City Council's education committee. All the Success Academy traits are present here, from the plaid jumpers and orange ties students wear to the THINK Literacy teaching model in every classroom.

Bronx Success Academy 1 opened in August 2010 on the renovated third floor of a building shared with PS 30. In its inaugural year the school taught kindergarten and 1st grade and will add a grade annually until it teaches K through 8. [The school subsequently moved to the former IS 183, where it shares a building with the Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters and a District 75 school for disabled children.]

The classrooms we saw during a one-hour visit in March 2011 were alluring advertisements for the Success Academy model. The bright and inviting carpeted classrooms featured new furniture (the charters' iconic yellow modular desks and blue plastic chairs) and sophisticated SMARTboards. Children wearing their Success Academy uniforms were polite and attentive, and many seemed to be performing above grade level.

In a 1st-grade classroom, kids were using stacking cubes to solve a story problem that required them to add 62 and 35. Kindergartners taking their daily science lesson were discussing their "hypothesis" regarding how far a toy car would move if given a gentle push. A kindergarten girl read aloud a book about hair, stumbling only occasionally on tricky words such as "sometimes" and "things."

"At this point in the year, the vast majority of our kindergartners are reading," Principal Michele Caracappa said during our March visit, "and they don't come in that way." Caracappa is a regular presence in classrooms, often observing her teachers or helping students with their work. She began her career as a 4th- and 5th-grade teacher in the Bronx at nearby PS 5 before joining the Harlem Success Academy in 2006. This is her first appointment as a principal, but she clearly believes in the charter school's formula and seems to have hired like-minded teachers, who all appear young, energetic, and capable. As a charter school, Bronx Success has flexibility to hire-and fire-teachers and to extend its school day and school year.

Bronx Success Academy 1's academic year begins in August, and school days are long, beginning at 7:45 a.m. and going until 4 p.m. for kindergarten and 4:30 p.m. for first grade. Students take music and chess classes twice a week, and classroom instruction often includes songs or student-to-student reinforcement.

Parent involvement is both encouraged and required. The school's open-door policy lets parents drop in and observe their children's studies for up to 30 minutes. Parents also must agree to read at least six books a week at home. Parents' concerns and questions are taken seriously: "If a parent calls me or a teacher, our policy is to get back to that parent within 24 hours," Caracappa said.

Students in the two elementary schools in the building have little interaction with each other and take turns using the lunchroom and gym. Recess takes place in the school's small courtyard, but occasionally students cross 141st Street to enjoy the inviting playground of People's Park.

Special education: Each classroom has two teachers, which means struggling students can get extra attention. Extra help is available is the SETSS (Special Education Teacher Support Services) room.

Admissions: Admission is by lottery. Preference is given to students in District 7 and students characterized as "at risk." Although theoretically open to students in any part of New York, Success Academy schools "end up being very much community schools," said Jenny Sedlis, a Success Academy spokeswoman. (Skip Card, March 2011)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares the building with The Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters and MS 203

Number of Students 466

Average Daily Attendance NA

Students at this school

Asian

  
1%

Black

  
53%

Hispanic

  
43%

White

  
0%

Free Lunch

  
86%

Special ed

  
11%

English Language Learners

  
8%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

11% 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained in the school?

100% 77% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average kindergarten class

NA 23 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

NA 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average middle school english class

NA 26 CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

97% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

97% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

NA 22% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

How many teachers say this school offers enough programs, classes and activities to keep students engaged?

97% 78% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school does a good job teaching social-emotional skills?

86% 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school does a good job teaching organizational and study skills?

97% 87% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam

93% 38% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of students in grades 3-8 who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam

60% 29% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 4th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam

NA 84% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state science exam

NA 59% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many 8th grades pass high school regents exams?

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass the algebra regents:

NA 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 8th graders who take and pass a science regents:

NA 15% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the school survey?

44% 62% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents say they attended at least one pta meeting in the last school year?

79% 69% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Does the school encourage family involvement?

How many parents say they were invited to an event at the school at least 3 times in the last school year?

93% 71% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

99% 93% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Special ed & ELL

How well does this school serve students with disabilities?

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

NA 3% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of self-contained students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 1% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

NA 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of ICT students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 5% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam:

NA 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of SETSS students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents say students with disabilities are included in all activities?

99% 97% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say students with special needs are educated in the least restrictive environment appropriate?

94% 87% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many parents of students with ieps say this school offers a wide enough variety of services and activities for their children’s needs?

100% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How well does this school serve English language learners?

Percent of ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 4% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of former ell students who scored 3 or 4 on the state ELA exam:

NA 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers say this school ensures that ells receive the same curriculum as non-ells with appropriate suppports?

94% 88% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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