Success Academy Williamsburg Charter School

183 SOUTH 3 STREET
BROOKLYN NY 11211 Map
Phone: (718) 704-1419
Website: Click here
Admissions: Lottery/D14 preference
Principal: Abigail Johnson
Neighborhood: Williamsburg
District: 14
Grade range: PK-5
Number of full-day PK seats: N/A
Extended PK hours offered: Contact program about extended hours.
Unzoned
New School
Charter School
School-based pre-k

What's special:

Varied curriculum including art, yoga and technology

The downside:

Success Academy's strict discipline not right for everyone

InsideSchools Review

Our review:

Part of the growing Success charter network, Success Academy Williamsburg opened on the top floor of JHS 50 in fall 2012 with kindergartners and first graders and plans to add a grade every year until it serves children in kindergarten through 8th grade. Success Williamsburg hums with student activity and bears all the hallmarks of the Success model.

The space is bright and welcoming, and students wear the network's orange, blue and white uniform, with ties mandatory for all boys after kindergarten. Success' fund-raising guarantees a rich array of materials, from many books and ample art supplies to a designated block room for kindergarten and 1st graders.The Williamsburg school marked one of Success' first attempts to branch out into a middle class neighborhood, and its creation sparked controversy. Some parents feared the school would weaken existing district schools, and others charged the school was specifically marketed to white or affluent residents.

Although demographic data is not yet available, the school appears to have a mix of students .Lessons are fast paced, challenging and varied but also highly scripted with students going through certain routines--breaking up into pairs to discuss the work and presenting their ideas in complete sentences, such as "my hypothesis is…."

Success schools use their own curriculum for reading and writing. Children explore a variety of genres and read as a whole class, in small groups geared to their reading level, and individually, with much discussion of books and extensive writing. The school's math curriculum encourages students to find several ways to solve the same problem -- what may seems like a subtraction problem to some students, for example, is a division problem for others.

All students have science every day with classes taught by a special science teacher. On the day of our visit a 1st grade aerodynamics class dropped paper helicopters of different sizes to try to determine what factors would slow or speed their descent. "The big goal is to get kids questioning the world around them and developing tools to answer those questions on their own," says Stacy Apatov, principal of Success Academy Harlem 5, who was in charge of developing the network's science curriculum.

Technology is also a mainstay with kindergartners programming robotic bees to navigate a simple grid. Art and yoga each are taught on alternate days, and the school plans to add music. Social studies is addressed in special units, such as a recent one on bread. Students take two field trips a month -- some related to their studies and others, like one to the Big Apple Circus, for fun "We never want to forget we're working with five and six years olds," principal Abigail Johnson says.

The school day goes from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. -- but a parent we spoke with said this is not a problem since the rich curriculum and late dismissal time relieve her of having to take her child to afterschool programs. The children move around a lot, she said, so "the day doesn't seem that long." Her kindergartner has 20 to 30 minutes of homework a night, including reading.

Success as a whole is known for its strict discipline, and the classes we saw all were orderly and the children well behaved. The school has a discipline code with children rated green, yellow or red for the day's behavior, but Johnson said that rather than punish students, the school prefers to let them know what is expected of them and reward them for good behavior. Several parents held a press conference to complain that their children were suspended repeatedly for what the parents considered minor offenses. Success officials acknowledge they do suspend students for what it considers violent, dangerous or unsafe behavior but deny they to try to "push out" difficult children. 

Special education: The school offers some services but does not have team teaching or self contained classes for students with disabilities.

Admission: Lottery with preference to students in District 14. (Gail Robinson, March 2013)

InsideStats

Click tabs above to see school stats

At a glance

Shared campus? Yes

This school shares a building with JHS 50

Number of Students 432

Average Daily Attendance NA

Students at this school

Asian

  
3%

Black

  
32%

Hispanic

  
54%

White

  
9%

Free Lunch

  
66%

Special ed

  
14%

English Language Learners

  
7%

Safety & vibe

ARE KIDS
NICE?

How many teachers say bullying is a problem at school?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

97% 81% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

ARE CLASSES BIG?

Number of students in an average kindergarten class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Number of students in an average fifth grade class

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

DO TEACHERS LIKE THE SCHOOL?

How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?

95% 80% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

How many teachers would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Attendance

How many students are chronically absent?

NA 23% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Academics

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state math exam

95% 41% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Percent of 3rd, 4th & 5th graders who scored 3 or 4 on the state ela exam

76% 40% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Parents

Are parents involved?

How many parents responded to the school survey?

34% 64% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA 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?

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

Do parents like the school?

How many parents would recommend this school to other parents?

NA NA 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 8% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 2% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 19% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 17% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA 9% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

92% 93% 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?

82% 86% 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:

0% 6% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

0% 32% CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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

NA NA CITYWIDE AVERAGE

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