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Success Academy High School Students Denounced Mayor De Blasio’s Actions to Bar Them From SAT Exam

**For Immediate Release Tuesday, October 28, 2020** Contact: Sam Chafee, 401-368-5124 [email protected]  First, It Was Soccer, Now City Hall Is Blocking 300 Black and Hispanic Juniors from Their SAT Exams! New York, NY — Less than ten days before they are to take SAT exams, Success Academy High School juniors learned that Mayor de Blasio had put in motion plans to block them from taking SAT exams. In the midst of a terrible pandemic, with many issues plaguing his own district students, Mayor de Blasio had gone out of his way to disrupt the futures of hundreds of low-income Black and Hispanic charter school students — kids who have spent the past several months diligently preparing for this important test.   Mayor de Blasio, who has a long history of hostile actions toward SA students, has reached a new low. His administration has barred about 170 SA high school juniors and another 125 external students — from both district and charter schools — who were all expecting to take the SAT on Saturday, November 7, from entering their building at 111 E. 33rd Street in midtown Manhattan. SA is certified as an administrator of the SAT by the College Board and has welcomed external students to use their test location during these unprecedented times.  “It feels like I’ve been fighting with the mayor my whole life,” said Fervelyn Nunez, a junior at SA High School of the Liberal Arts. “I remember waking up early and getting on buses to go to Albany. I really don’t understand why he is doing this. Doing well on the SAT is important for minority kids like me.” “The mayor should be helping kids like Alvaro and Fervelyn, not punishing them because they are charter school students or Success Academy students,” said Eva Moskowitz, Founder and CEO of Success Academy.  “He is going out of his way to disrupt the futures of poor kids of color — kids who have spent the past several months preparing and want to excel.” “This is really important,” said Alvaro Crawford, also a junior at HSLA. “I want to go to college — not just any college, but a great school — and for the mayor to take the opportunity away from, it’s like I’ve been working so hard for nothing.” Last week, Success Academy parents, coaches, and scholars protested City Hall’s efforts to charge almost $500,000 for 300 of the network’s elite soccer, basketball, and track athletes from using their schools’ athletic fields after school and on weekends. By the week’s end, SA had declared its intent to take legal action, pointing to state law: City Hall was wrongfully trying to charge SA fees for the right to access their own athletic fields.   As recently as Saturday, when responding to a journalist’s request for statement, the DOE was still demanding payment, defending its position with this explanation: “Any school or organization that uses Department of Education property after hours is required to pay additional fees due to increased cost of sanitizing, cleaning, and staffing schools during a pandemic. Unfortunately, without additional resources from the Federal government, we had to make the hard decision to raise afterschool fees across the board for public schools, community-based programs, and charter schools.” On Monday, City Hall officials reached out to Success Academy, asking the network to delay filing its lawsuit to give them time to propose a solution. SA agreed, delaying after several more requests to noon on Tuesday, October 27. Then, at 12:30pm on Tuesday, without word from City Hall regarding its proposed solution, emails were sent to SA schools, informing staff that the DOE had just become aware that: “Success Academy was currently fully remote, and therefore Success Academy may not use DOE school building premises, including fields, for after-school and extracurricular student activities at this time under our State-approved reopening plan, which limits in-person aftercare activities to students who were in physical attendance on that given day within the same school building.” [see a copy of the email below] The DOE has known for almost two months that SA students are learning remotely. In fact, SA offered the DOE use of almost 900 classrooms from its 47 schools in early September. Although SA educators and students are fully remote, SA has continued to maintain a number of its operations staff — all of whom are strictly observing health and safety protocols — on site in administrative offices to help manage distribution of resources like laptops, hard copy books, and science kits. Until SA began advocating for its students' right to use 7 of their athletic fields last week, the DOE had not prohibited use of the shared buildings. Additionally, more than a dozen NYC district schools are sites for SAT exams on November 7. It is unclear if the DOE is also barring district students who have been learning remotely from taking exams in these buildings.
  1. A. Philip Randolph Campus HS, 443 West 135th St, New York, Ny 10031
  2. Abraham Lincoln HS, Ocean Pkwy and West Ave, Brooklyn, Ny 11235
  3. Clara Barton HS, 901 Classon Avenue, Brooklyn, Ny 11225
  4. Edward R Murrow HS, 1600 Avenue L, Brooklyn, Ny 11230
  5. Fort Hamilton HS, 8301 Shore Rd, Brooklyn, Ny 11209
  6. HS of Fashion Industries, 225 W 24th St, New York, Ny 10011
  7. John Dewey HS, 50 Ave X, Brooklyn, Ny 11223
  8. Medgar Evers College Prep School, 1186 Carroll St, Brooklyn, Ny 11225
  9. New Dorp HS, 465 New Dorp Lane, Staten Island, Ny 10306
  10. Richmond Hill HS, 89-30 114 Street, Richmond Hill, Ny 11418
  11. Science Skills Center High School, 49 Flatbush Avenue Extension, Brooklyn, Ny 11201
  12. Tottenville HS, 100 Luten Avenue, Staten Island, Ny 10312
Below is the email sent to SA schools:  From: Morales Wanda <[email protected]> Date: Tue, Oct 27, 2020 at 12:33 PM Subject: Extended Use Permits To: Morales Wanda <[email protected]> Dear Success Academy Charter School,  Your application for an extended use permit has not been approved. Accessing the fields without an approved extended use permit is in violation of Chancellor's Regulation D-180, which requires every user to have an approved permit to use a school's premises. Moreover, we have been provided further information that Success Academy is currently fully remote, and therefore Success Academy may not use DOE school building premises, including fields, for after-school and extracurricular student activities at this time under our State-approved reopening plan, which limits in-person aftercare activities to students who were in physical attendance on that given day within the same school building. Accordingly, any initial approval for such use that was provided is hereby rescinded.  Success Academy must cease using DOE grounds and fields for after-school and extracurricular student activities immediately. Best,  Extended Use Office Best Regards, Wanda M. Morales Acting, Senior Director of Operations Office of the First Deputy Chancellor NYC Department of Education [email protected] Office (212) 374-5102   Recording of the Zoom Press Conference is available upon request  Contact: Sam Chafee, [email protected]   ###   ABOUT SUCCESS ACADEMY   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. 

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