Success Academy Bed Stuy 1 Charter School
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High test scores, beautiful schoolyard and well-kept building
Some dissatisfaction among parents of children with special needs
Success Academy Bed Stuy 1, the networks first school in Brooklyn which was modeled after the charter network's flagship school in Harlem, has consistently posted among the highest test scores in the city. The glistening, well-equipped building houses two Success Academies: an elementary school, serving grades K to 4, and Bed-Stuy Middle School, which will serve grades 5 to 8. (A District 75 school for children with severe disabilities also shares the building).
Most classrooms are huge and there is a beautifully renovated school yard, complete with fun climbing equipment and a soccer field that is used almost dailyeven on Sundaysby the networks fulltime coach. In the science room, snakes were slithering in their habitats, part of a study about reptiles in which students designed their own experiments.
Opened in 2011, Success Bed Stuy closely follows the Success network model with strict discipline, a long school day, and demanding expectations. Nearly every classroom has two adults, a teacher and a teacher-in-training; this allows teachers to split a class in two for activities such as guided reading, where children are placed in groups according to their reading ability.
All teacherseven sports coaches--go to T Training in the summer prior to the start of classes. They learn to give the same message and use the same language. Students are told to speak up loud and proud, a mantra that is repeated in all classes and Success schools. Children in the elementary school are silent in the halls; in class they sit in their assigned spot with clasped hands and track the teacher with their eyes.
The rules in the middle school are somewhat more relaxed. Class changes are quiet but not silent; students dont have to fold their hands. An award system allows children to collect points for good behavior which they may exchange for excursions to the movies, ice skating or to play laser tag.
Success has a reputation for strict discipline and many of the school in the network have high suspension rates; Success Bed Stuy, however, has suspension rates that are in line with the statewide average.
On the day of our visit, kindergartners in a science class were learning to graph cloudy and sunny weather days, calculating how many sunny days there had been in June. We saw 1st graders happily singing along to a counting song about money, figuring out how quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies add up. Third-graders created simple machines and levers.
Middle school work is challenging: We saw an animated science lesson with students in groups contriving to build structures from Play Doh and Popsicle sticks that could hold the weight of a stapler. Fifth graders studied womens suffrage and temperance movements, reading a history text that appeared to be written at a high school level. Middle school pupils are expected to complete 7 to 8 hours of homework each week. Every two weeks, the names of students with the highest grades are posted in the hallway. Most come in for sports or chess before regular classes begin at 8:45 am. Classes end at 4:30 pm; some must stay until 5:15 pm for detention.
There have been frequent leadership changes at Bed-Stuy 1; as experienced principals are called to work at the network or move to another Success Academy school. On our visit, Marni Aronson, the schools education manager for the previous two years, had just become principal for the 2017-2018 school year.
The middle school principal, Rishabh Agarwal, was a trader at the Chicago Board of Trade before being hired by Success. Just a few years out of college, he became assistant principal in the schools first year and principal in 2016-2017.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: While parent satisfaction overall is high, school surveys suggest some parents are dissatisfied with special education services.The elementary school offers team-teaching classes, with one teacher trained in special education, and planned to open self-contained special education classes for the first time in the fall of 2017. We collaborate with parents as soon as possible about potential supports that the school could provide, Aronson said, adding that she was excited about the potential for the new self-contained classrooms. The middle school has had self-contained classes for some time.
ADMISSIONS: Lottery. Priority to District 14 for elementary school. Only graduates of a Success Academy may apply to the middle school. (Pamela Wheaton, June 2017)Read more
Is this school safe and well-run?
From 2019-20 NYC School Survey
From 2019-20 NY State Report Card
How do students perform academically?
From 2019 State ELA+Math Results Summary
From 2019-20 School Quality Guide
Who does this school serve?
From 2020-21 Demographic Snapshot
How does this school serve special populations?
From 2019 State ELA+Math Results Summary
Contact & Location
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Brooklyn, NY 11206