If you have heard anything about the New York City charter school network Success Academy, you have probably heard how the schools in their network have been able to solve many of the problems present in the city’s public schools. You may not know, however, how they have done that or what their curriculum and teaching methodology has had to do with it.
If you have children or work for a charter school network yourself, then knowing this information should be vital to you as, if one network can do it, others should be able to do so as well.
How has Success Academy solved the problems present in public schools? — Students are often started out in the Success Academy network at the kindergarten or elementary school level. These children are then kept in Success Academy schools all the way through until they leave for university.
This has allowed the network to instill their strict values in the children from a young age, and to make sure those values become second-nature to them.
While at Success Academy schools, students are expected to adhere to all of the network’s strict rules, to their dress code and to be disciplined. Hard work is stressed, students have longer days than in other schools, the curriculum is difficult and, if they break any rules, they are expected to have to deal with the consequences.
The curriculum and teaching methodology — While Success Academy stresses hard work, they also believe education should be fun and that students learn better by doing.
That is why students only have around 80 minutes of actual instruction a day from a teacher. This is then followed by group work and by hands-on projects. Both things where the children are encouraged to think for themselves and to ask questions.
English, math and science subjects are stressed, along with reading, art and electives like debate, sports, entrepreneurship and photography. After all, a well-rounded student is one that tends to like learning, and is always eager to learn more, even on their own time.
Success Academy also believes every child can succeed, regardless of their background. As the school believes it, the students tend to believe it as well. That immediately prevents many of the problems that occur in public schools, due to students feeling as though they do not have a good future, from occurring at Success Academy.