As City School Building Closures Surge, Success Academy Opts for Stability of Remote Learning Through the End of the School Year
January 21, 2021
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, January 21, 2021**
Sam Chafee, 401-368-5124
AS CITY SCHOOL BUILDING CLOSURES SURGE, SUCCESS ACADEMY OPTS FOR STABILITY OF REMOTE LEARNING THROUGH THE END OF SCHOOL YEAR
Network Announces School Year Will End Early, on May 28; New Year Will Start August 2
New York, NY — Today Success Academy informed staff and families that classes would stay remote for the remainder of this school year, and that school would end early, on May 28, so that the 2021-22 school year could start early, beginning on August 2nd.
Increasing building closures and reopenings, often on short notice, and the disruption that would pose for families, was the primary factor leading to SA’s decision. Last week, the Department of Education reported a record number of closures — almost 1,200 classrooms in more than 300 buildings. With high COVID-19 infection rates and hospitalizations, as well as the rise of the highly contagious U.K. variant, which experts predict will cause a significant spike in cases by March, it is likely such closures will continue.
“Like everyone else, we desperately want to be back on campus, but we are prioritizing a consistent, productive learning experience by staying remote now,” said Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy. “By opening early, we can take full advantage of the safer summer months to make up for what we believe will be some degree of learning loss, while also giving teachers and families a break.”
While many school districts around the country have struggled with remote learning, SA’s program has been cited as exemplary. “Remote 2.0” is designed to mirror the network’s on-campus school, from a full day of live instruction to electives like dance, soccer, debate, chess and art. From day one, SA equipped every student with a personal laptop or tablet, loaded with software like Kami, Jamboard, Screencastify, Tumblebooks, and Google Classroom to enhance the student-teacher collaboration. All work, including math, writing assessments, and homework, is fully digital. Teachers use Zoom breakout rooms to host small-group instruction for students who need extra help.
To further support students learning at home, SA distributed headphones, art supplies, physics kits, books, and other materials. Teachers received large screen monitors allowing them to easily see all their students on screen at once. Even with an earlier finish for the school year, SA students, from Kindergarten through high school will have received more than double the hours of live instruction that district students will get this school year.
Like all New Yorkers, SA students, families, and educators have faced innumerable challenges this year, but have persevered and managed to celebrate a number of milestones: to date, 50% of the senior class has been accepted to college, a number of them with significant financial aid packages; the U14 Boys Soccer Team finished 1st in their division, topping some talented clubs from LI, Westchester and upstate; and the Bronx Middle School chess team finished in 1st in the K-9th Grade Under 1000 Section of state Girls Championship at Internet Chess Club, a tournament that draws talent from across the state, including top NYC private schools.
“Our faculty and staff have given their all this year to minimize learning loss and support kids and families during this extraordinarily challenging time,” said Moskowitz. “Their commitment to ensuring that our scholars are learning to their fullest potential has been nothing short of heroic.”
ABOUT SUCCESS ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOLS
Founded in 2006, Success Academy Charter Schools are free public K-12 schools open to all children in the state through a random lottery. With 47 schools across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, Success Academy enrolls 20,000 students, primarily children of color from low-income households in disadvantaged neighborhoods: 74% receive free or reduced-price lunch, 94% are students of color, 16% have disabilities, and 8% are English language learners. In 2020, 100% of SA’s third and largest class of 99 graduating seniors were accepted to college, with 22% accepted to highly selective and 47% to selective institutions, with robust financial aid packages; 82% of the class will be the first in their families to attend college.
For more information about Success Academy, go to successacademies.org.