Get more from InsideSchools

A Message from InsideSchools: The data below is the most up-to-date data available from City and State systems. We are working hard to update the narratives for all schools. We welcome your insights in the Comments section. Questions? Ask us!

Success Academy Union Square Charter School

Grades: K-4
40 Irving Place, 2nd Floor
Manhattan NY 10003
Phone: 646-790-2168

Our Insights

What’s Special

Racially mixed school with high test scores

The Downside

Rules not for everyone; no outdoor play space

Founded in 2013, Success Academy Union Square is one in a growing network of Success Academy schools modeled on the flagship school in Harlem. Unlike some schools in the network,Success Academy Union Square has done a good job of retaining teachers, has various options for children with special needs, and rarely suspends children. And, while most of the schools in the network serve low-income children of color, Union Square has a racially and socioeconomically diverse student body.

Children at Union Square enter the impressive oak paneled lobby of Washington Irving educational campus, which houses five small high schools and is bursting with teenage energy. The younger children climb a flight of stairs immediately to the right of the security guard to get to their second floor classrooms. The school lacks a playground, so for recess children walk to the park except kindergartners who play on the 8th floor.

On the day of our visit children were dismissed at 12:30 pm for a weekly teacher planning day and gathered outside with parents to buy ices before heading to Union Square park or clambering aboard a van or car to carpool home to Roosevelt Island, the South Bronx, Staten Island or other parts of the city. The children are a mix of skin colors and ethnicitiesthe offspring of bus drivers, building supervisors, nurses and teachers, among other occupations. Kids carry hefty blue backpacks and wear blue, white and orange uniforms.

Success Academy schools offer children a rich curriculum that includes daily science experiments, exposure to the arts, a well-rounded approach to math and frequent class trips. Children spend 45 minutes in a block room daily in kindergarten. Electives here include art, sports, chess, music and dance.

Parents we spoke to raved about Union Square's academic rigor, the schools egalitarian bent and even its famously strict discipline. "I'm strict at home too," said the mother of a 2nd grader who transferred her child from PS 183 on the Upper East Side.

A father said that even in the final week of school his son had a full packet of homework. "It's rigid," he said with a smile. They never give up. Attendance and punctuality are enforced. If a child misses precious minutes of reading time, and is behind in reading, said Principal Jennifer Waldman, it is crucial parents know and follow through. The level of communication comes as a surprise to some parents at first, she said. If youre not on board its hard to work together.

Kindergartners attend school for half days for the first two weeks then switch to whole days except the one half day a week. At first, some kids fall asleep, Waldman said, but they get used to it. They are capable and they eat it up, she said.

Teachers test children all the time, Waldman said, to ascertain skill level, build stamina and promote habits of great reading, writing and math.

On our visit, we saw two teachers in most classrooms, who cheered childrens progress in a demonstrative way: Its almost like you jumped inside my brain! said a 2nd grade teacher when a child answered a question correctly. So clever! So clever! said a teacher as a boy presented his math strategy to the class.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: There are team-teaching classrooms on every grade with one teacher who is trained in special education. The school has small classrooms with 12 students and two adults on several grades. We want to serve all kids and keep them in our setting, Waldman said. The school has a full-time school psychologist as well as occupational and speech therapists.

ADMISSIONS: District 2 priority. The school takes roughly 5-10 children in each upper grade per year. (Lydie Raschka, June 2017)




Read more

School Stats

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Is this school safe and well-run?

From the 2019-20 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
1% Citywide Average

How do students perform academically?

From the New York State 2022-2023 Assessment Database

How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
53% Citywide Average
How many elementary school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
50% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
63% Citywide Average
How many middle school students scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
62% Citywide Average

From the 2022-23 School Quality Guide

How many 8th-graders earn high school credit?
92% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From the 2022-23 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From the 2022-23 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
91% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
36% Citywide Average

How does this school serve special populations?

From the New York State 2022-2023 Assessment Database

How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
30% Citywide Average
How many students with disabilities scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
23% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state math exam?
21% Citywide Average
How many English language learners scored 3-4 on the state reading exam?
12% Citywide Average

For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Contact & Location


Gramercy (District 2)
Trains: 1 Line to 18th St; 2 Line, 3 Line, F Line, M Line to 14th St-7th/6th Ave; 4 Line, 5 Line, 6 Line, L Line, N Line, Q Line, R Line, W Line to 14th St-Union Square
Buses: M1, M101, M102, M103, M14A, M14D, M15, M15-SBS, M2, M23-SBS, M3, M34-SBS, M34A-SBS, M55, M8, M9


Kaleigh Maines

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school shares the Washington Irving Educational Campus with five other schools
Metal detectors?

Was this information helpful?

Get more from InsideSchools

You may also like …

PS19 East Village Community School

185 First Avenue New York
Manhattan, NY 10003

P.S. 40 Augustus Saint-Gaudens

320 East 20th Street
Manhattan, NY 10003


  • Is this your school? Please post any news, updates, events, changes, or other information!
  • We welcome questions, open discussions, and disagreements but comments with personal attacks, rude language, or those with seemingly malicious intent will be deleted.
  • Very long comments, those that contain links, or repeat comments may be blocked by our spam filter.
  • Problems? email us at
  • Users must comply with our Terms of Use.