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Two Success Academy Schools Win National Blue Ribbon Awards


Contact: Anne Michaud, 914-712-8693 [email protected]org Ann Powell, 646-894-6407 [email protected]org


Harlem and Bed-Stuy Schools, Both Serving Low-Income Students of Color, Selected for “Overall Academic Excellence”

NEW YORK, NY —The U.S. Department of Education announced today that two more Success Academy elementary schools, Success Academy Harlem 2 and Success Academy Bed-Stuy 1, have won the prestigious designation as National Blue Ribbon Schools — two of   nine public and private schools recognized in NYC and 349 nationally.

SA Harlem 2 is the fourth Success Academy school in Harlem to win a Blue Ribbon — along with SA Harlem 1, SA Harlem 3, and SA Harlem 4. They’re the only Harlem elementary schools in 20 years to be so honored. SA Bed-Stuy 1 is the second school in this neighborhood to win a Blue Ribbon. Both schools were nominated as “Exemplary High Performing Schools,” defined at a minimum as being in the top 15 percent of all schools in the state, ranked on state assessments in reading and mathematics. On the most recent state exams, the combined results of all SA schools placed the network in the top .85% in English Language Arts and top .25% in math. “We are so proud of these schools,” said Success Academy Founder and CEO Eva Moskowitz. “These schools have responded to parents’ demands for better a opportunity for their children: a world-class education that considers the whole child and excites young minds.” “At SA Bed-Stuy 1, we constantly ask ourselves, ‘Would our scholars choose to come to school, even if they didn’t have to?’,” said principal Marni Aronson. “The answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’ This results from setting the bar high while providing endless opportunities for scholars to explore, engage, learn and laugh in our classrooms.” Through a vast electives program, scholars take art, soccer, sports, musical theater, and chess. In February 2018, scholars from SA Bed-Stuy 1 traveled to Saratoga Springs, NY, for the NYS Chess Championship where they placed in both the individual and team tournaments for the K-5 Division. Success Academy believes that schools share an obligation with families to teach kids right from wrong, and that character development is an important part of schooling. screen-shot-2018-09-27-at-11-33-44-am

At SA Harlem 2, principal Raymie Fernandez said it’s vital that the adults in the school remind scholars of the values of integrity, resilience, respect, determination, and courage. “We look at scholars’ successes, but also failures as an opportunity to learn,” he said. “As educators, scholars, and as people in general, we have opportunities to push through, to be gritty and determined. Those are values we hold close to our hearts at Harlem 2.”

Lavinia Mackall served as the principal of SA Harlem 2 four years before moving up this year to become one of the network’s school managers, overseeing several schools. Ms. Mackall told a story about one scholar, a second-grader, who came to school speaking no English and reading at a kindergarten level. By the end of the year, the scholar had not only learned English but excelled in math, earning a 91% on a year-end assessment.

The incredible progress of this scholar exemplifies our supportive school community,” Ms. Mackall said. “Our teachers worked and his parents came together to provide hands-on and consistent support, offering encouragement and guidance to build up confidence and self-belief.” At SA Harlem 2, a total of 13 languages are spoken at home among scholars.

SA Harlem 2 also encourages its diverse scholars’ interest in the arts, including dance, chorus and the visual arts. Scholars were triumphant at a regional dance competition last year and enjoyed sang along with Jon Batiste, bandleader of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.  


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 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 17,700 applications for 3,288 open seats this year.

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Principal Lavinia Mackall with scholars from Success Academy Harlem 2.


Principal Marni Aronson with her scholars from Success Academy Bed-Stuy 1.


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