The academics at Success Academy Upper West are stellar. Success Academy hires a very specific kind of teacher: enthusiastic, energetic and engaging/lively. Unlike public schools, they have the power to let teachers who do not meet their standards go. The longer school day packs much more education into the academic year (more in four days than public schools teach per week). Lastly: STEM education is like nothing else in the public or private school system. In public and private elementary schools (including schools with a science focus and/or accelerated curriculum), science is considered a 'special' subject taught periodically (e.g. weekly) to older children. At Success Academy it is a core subject taught by a science teacher daily, hands-on, featuring data collection and analysis -- beginning in kindergarten. Many parents find daily experimental science instruction to be quite forward-thinking. And playing scientist every day has wild appeal for children. There are long wait lists for Success Academy Upper West which attest to the appeal of the school for UWS parents. Our son is thriving in this rigorous school. We only wish we could get our older son in as well!
So far Upper West Success has been a Failure where I am Concerned. The"'Staff" seem to NOT be on the same page as far as Confirming School Related issues with Parents Involving Critical Issues concerning Children. For example Upper West Success Academy's Policy of Leaving back 1st Graders shows a Lack of Committal/Confidence in its Staff or System. And their Staff does not Reflect in any way the Population of its Students 65% Black/Hispanic/Asian Student Mix which to me as a Parent is Troubling.Overall as A Parent of 4 Small Children who are Currently at this School am not Sure that Upper West Success is a School that can Adequately address the Needs of my Children going forward. Respectfully yours, Proud Father..
Generally we have been happy with the school. The focus on academics is impressive. However there are a few areas where the policies go overboard in the pursuit of an orderly classroom. The teachers spend a lot of time correcting behaviors that are not disruptive to the learning environment. For example, students are required to keep their hands in their laps while listening to the teacher. Touching your face or other self-comforting actions are not allowed. Student are afforded precious little time to choose their own activity (clearly there's recess, but even that can be directed activities). As far as I know there's never a time when the students can selcect their own classroom activity, whether it be reading, drawing, math, etc. students are really are really never allowed to move freely around the classroom. Even during dance party breaks they must remain at their desks. All of these things may appear minor, but the bigger issue is that most of these things are the result of network-wide policies. And network-wide policies are not up for debate. From the principal on down the party line is "that's just how it is".
Upper West Success is a godsend for us. My son is thriving at the school. I could not be more pleased. The staff from the Leadership on down is professional and committed to providing the best possible education for the scholars. While we had the opportunity to attend another great school we were pleased to be accepted. We attended the open House and never looked back.
My son is in K at SAUW. We couldn't have been more thrilled. We were nervous about having him in K since he is on the younger side, but he has completely blossomed. In addition to the constant feedback we get from the teachers and the random phone calls to thank me for our diligence with our son, we get many assessments all year long so I know how he's doing. His teachers are caring, attentive, and loving. My son has developed a sense of pride in his work. We also love that the school is so diverse in every meaning of the word, yet every family has the same goal: a great education for their child! It's a unifying theme. We couldn't be happier to have our older son there and look forward to registering our younger son when he gets to K.
We love this school. We have struggled a bit with the long day and my kindergartener is not always capable of listening throughout the day, but we have no doubts about how happy he is and how much he is learning. It is very exciting to hear about his enthusiasm for science, reading and all of his teachers. I sometimes worry that it is all just too much for the kids, but he keeps telling me that I am wrong and that they have lots of chances to have fun during the day at recess (2 times), sports, art, assemblies, field trips, and random times where they play dance party or sing together. I feel very fortunate to be able to send my child to this school to get a great education in a great setting, rather than at his zoned school (that is nearly failing).
There may be more than 25 students per class, but there are also two teachers assigned to the class, a lead teacher and an assistant teacher. What the poster below fails to mention is that the students are usually instructed in much smaller groups (in separate rooms) for reading (based on their level) and math, where the ratio is usually 5-7 students per teacher. Also, the students have specials--such as science, blocks, chess, sports and art--every day in well apportioned rooms. All the classrooms are clean, organized and bright. The school environment is safe, orderly and nurturing, which is very conducive to learning!
The classes are huge, about 30 kids, and the teachers are very inexperienced. Furthermore, the principal took a class the DOE gave the school for a kindergarten class and made it her office. Then put 30 kinder kids on what used to be her office, a tiny space about 1/3 as big as what the class should have been. Not the sign of a principal who puts the kids first.
My son has blossomed here in Kindergarten. When he comes home, his mind is always working out something they did at school. This school one of the most professionally run entities I've encountered, public or private. SA-UW is truly diverse in all senses, economically and ethnically, rather than just paying lip service to diversity, which was the case in most neighboring schools we visited. The families of all backgrounds are super nice. The rules that the kids have to follow seem silly at times to the parents, but the kids seem to respond to them very well. They stress hard work more than talent, which is already rubbing off on my son in the right way.
So happy with this school. Moved our daughter from a private school and couldnt be more impressed with the quality of education. She is confident, happy and thriving. School expects a lot of but gives it back tenfold and has completely changed all my views on education theory and what makes kids succeed. Emphasizes core values like character and no shortcuts and tecahes accountability at a young age. We are looking forward to our son attending next year and know this school is giving our daughter the best possible start.
WE LOVE UWSA.... I moved my daughter from a traditional public school to UWSA for the 2012-2013 school year. The curriculum is great and challenging. The school culture promotes strong values, the teachers are responsive and know my daughter's strengths and areas of development! I love that the school provides a level of structure that other schools lack! Great school. We are looking forward to the 2013-2014 school year!
I love this school! My son is happy and excited to go every day. The curriculum is outstanding. I have an older child that attends a private school and we will be removing him if space is available to UWS. The level of education and teacher involvement at UWS outshines anything that we have seen to date.
Yet again, we've had nothing but an absolutely wonderful experience thus far at Upper West. Our second grade daughter loves science 5 days a week, her reading is off the charts and she ran around in circles jumping up and down with excitement about joining the chess team. She recently wrote a "persuasive" letter to Mayor Bloomberg that was an amazing exercise for her (and quite funny to us). Her teachers and the staff are warm and welcoming and we can schedule conferences at any time. We've also been thrilled with the diversity of the school in all respects. Our daughter's class (typical of the entire school) is approximately one-third white, one-third black and one-third Latino. There is also an incredible degree of socio-economic diversity and about 15-20% of her class has special needs (an issue we're sensitive to as our older son is special needs). These are some of the reasons why we pulled her out of private school to attend Upper West. We look forward to another great year at Upper West!
Success Academy Upper West is a phenomenal school! My daughter has received the highest level of education a school can offer. There is always an open door to come in to the classroom to observe and the teachers always make time to talk to parents.
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