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Success Academy’s Youngest Fourth Grader Wants To Keep Learning In A Rigorous School

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


Eight-Year-Old Rafael Elvira Skipped a Grade and Wants to Stay Challenged – But Mayor de Blasio is Ignoring His Need for a Middle School

Success Academy Student - Rafael Elvira

Far Rockaway, Queens — When Rafael won the lottery and started at Success Academy Far Rockaway in kindergarten in 2016, he was already reading. His teachers assessed him and found he was reading at a third-grade level. Rather than let Rafael be bored, his teachers and parents consulted and decided to "skip" him to second grade after kindergarten, and SA Far Rockaway has been this 8-year-old's academic home ever since. Outside of the classroom, Rafael is a strong basketball player and chose basketball as an elective this school year and last. He wants to join SA’s competitive basketball team as soon as he gets to middle school.

Unfortunately, Rafael may have to attend fifth grade at his zoned school, P.S. 253, where only 23% of students met state standards in ELA and 35% passed math. Rafael is one of the Success Academy fourth graders currently without a middle school next year. After 33 months of waiting, Success Academy Queens families like Rafael’s don’t know when or if the mayor will fulfill his promise to provide a permanent 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 Rafael and 226 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.

“We’re kids; we need to get a good education so we can get a good job,” said Rafael. “We need something that the mayor already has. We need a good education.”



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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