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Success Academy Reduces Proficiency Gap for NYC’s Most Vulnerable Students


Contact: Liz Baker, 646-902-4200 [email protected]

Brian Whitley, 510-495-5542 [email protected]


 Scholars with Special Needs, English Language Learners, and Homeless Scholars Make Strong Reading and Math Gains on 2019 Exams

NEW YORK, NY — Success Academy’s state test results showed strong gains in proficiency for students with disabilities and English Language Learners, in sharp contrast to proficiency rates for these same subgroups in district schools. As the number of SA students within these subgroups has steadily increased over the past decade, their academic achievement has soared.

“We’re committed to scaling excellence for all scholars — scholars learning English, those with disabilities, and children from families experiencing homelessness. Far too often, the system gives up on these children and expects them to fail,” said Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy. “At Success Academy, we strive to ensure all scholars have the support they need to succeed. Our results show that a scholar’s learning status does not have to be the predictor of their success or failure.”

About 19% of SA test takers in 2018 were children with an Individualized Education Program (IEP). In ELA, these Success students gained 3 percentage points in proficiency, with 77% of students with IEPs passing; the city and state pass rates did not improve this year. As the chart below shows, over the past 4 years, ELA proficiency for Success scholars with disabilities has increased dramatically — by 26 points — compared to a 7-point gain for district students with disabilities over that time period.

On the math exam, Success scholars with an IEP gained 5 points this year, with 95% passing, compared to a 3-point gain and only 18% of NYC district students with IEPs passing.

Similarly, Success Academy’s English Language Learners (ELL) showed strong growth in both math and ELA. ELL students made up 3% of all SA’s test takers, in large part because ELL students at Success gain English language proficiency at a much higher rate than ELL students in district schools. In ELA, Success ELL students gained 6 points over last year, with 86% passing the ELA exam, while NYC pass rates for ELL students declined by a point, with 9% passing.

In math, SA’s ELL students gained 3 points, with 97% passing, while their district counterparts made a 1-point gain, achieving 19% passing.

About 6% of Success Academy’s test takers in 2018 were homeless. In math, 98% of SA homeless students passed the state exam, compared to 27% of their district peers. On the ELA exam, 90% of SA’s homeless students passed, compared to 29% of district counterparts.

During his press conference last week, Mayor de Blasio criticized charter schools for their “exclusivity,” but his claim does not match the facts. Charter schools on average serve similar student populations to district schools, and have been shown to retain special-needs students at higher rates than district schools. Success Academy's test takers included a total of 2,000 students with disabilities, English Language Learners, and homeless students. They — and their parents and teachers — should be acknowledged for their hard work and accomplishments, not dismissed by a mayor intent on pleasing special interest groups.



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 in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, Success Academy enrolls 17,000 students, primarily low-income children of color in disadvantaged neighborhoods: 74% of students receive free or reduced-price lunch, 94% are children of color, 16% are children with disabilities, and 8% are English Language Learners. Success Academy schools received more than 17,000 applications for 4,000 open seats this year. For more information about Success Academy, go to and

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