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Queens Scholar Wants To Stay At Success Academy – The Only School She Has Ever Known

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, NOVEMBER 4, 2019** Contact: Liz Baker, 646-902-4200 [email protected] Contact: Ann Powell, 646-894-6407 [email protected]


Ten-Year-Old Leilani Acosta Wants to Stay at Success Academy, Where She’s Been Since Kindergarten – But Mayor de Blasio is Ignoring Her Need for a Middle School


Rosedale, Queens — Fourth grader Leilani Acosta has grown up at Success Academy. She’s only ever known this school, where she started in SA Rosedale’s second-ever kindergarten class. Leilani’s parents were thrilled when she won a seat at a school that would nurture and support their daughter and where every educator would believe in her.

A founding member of SA Rosedale’s art club, Leilani hopes to one day become an art teacher at Success Academy. She loves to experiment with new mediums — and can talk at length about aspects of using clay, collage, photography, painting, printmaking, and textiles. In middle school, Leilani wants to continue taking art as an elective and join the theater club. “I want to try something new and work to join the theater club. I don’t know how to act, but I know how to try!” she said.

Unfortunately, Mayor de Blasio controls Leilani’s next move — to middle school — and is checking the young woman’s future by denying her and 226 other Queens fourth graders space for a permanent middle school next year. After 33 months of waiting, Success Academy Queens families like Leilani’s don’t know when or if the mayor will fulfill his promise to provide a permanent school.

At SA Rosedale, Leilani has blossomed into a confident young scholar, chosen by her principal to speak on behalf of all fourth graders at the rally for a middle school in front of an audience of 4,000.

“I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. I love how our teachers help us with learning and trying new things and with setting our goals,” said Leilani. “We really love our school and everything our teachers teach us. We need a Success Academy middle school.”

Even though there are more empty school buildings in New York City than at any time in the past three years, the mayor refuses to identify space for Leilani and other fourth graders from four Success Academy elementary schools in Southeast Queens. They will have to return to district schools, where on average only one in three students is able to read or do math at grade level. Leilani is zoned to attend fifth grade at P.S. 195, where only 33% of students met state standards in ELA and 23% passed math.

Leilani was at City Hall the day Mayor de Blasio ignored the 200 Success Academy students who had come to demand a school.



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 45 schools across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, Success Academy enrolls 18,000 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. Success Academy schools received more than 17,000 applications for about 4,000 open seats for the 2019-20 academic year.

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