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Cultivates a family-friendly tone
Test scores have a ways to go
Founded in 2009, Village Academy is a tiny middle school that places a high priority on helping families as well as students. “Parents are key to the success of any child,” said Principal Doris Lee, and this accounts for the school's name, based on the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child."
“We support parents with finding employment, including writing resumes and providing interview clothes,” Lee told Practice Makes Perfect, a partner organization that provides academic support for Village Academy students. Parent workshop topics range from immigration to nutrition. Former students come back for help applying to college.
Lee sets a cheery and hopeful tone. Her own life story can inspire others: She grew up in public housing, and went on to earn a doctorate. “I knew that I wanted a better life and that education would support me in achieving my goal,” she told Practice Makes Perfect.
The school faces significant challenges. The overwhelming majority of incoming students have already fallen two or more years behind in reading and math, state test scores show. The school takes part in the Middle School Quality Initiative (MSQI), the city program designed to boost reading levels with a longer school day and special activities such as a debate team.
High-achieving students may apply to an honor's track. Tutoring is available to prepare for the specialized high school exam.
Village Academy shares a building with MS 53 and Success Academy Far Rockaway Charter School, an elementary school. The building, constructed to withstand earthquakes, looks imposing from the outside; inside, it has metal detectors. Village Academy is on an upper floor with cheery yellow walls and windows facing a courtyard. NYC school surveys show students feel safe in school.
Special education: There are Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) classes on every grade, which mix special and general needs students with two teachers.
Admissions: Village Academy shares the MS 53 zone. Students may choose between the two schools. (Lydie Raschka, web reports, April 2019)