The largest problem with this school includes the following: (1) Unreasonable expectations of elementary school age children (e.g., sit completely still, with your legs crossed perfectly, your head up, hands in your lap, sitting silently for 30 minutes of lessons that have a lack of imagination) that is Success Academy; (2) Extremely inexperienced, incompetent school administrators ("leaders").
(1) Teachers do not create any classroom lessons. They are sent from the corporate ("network") office and teachers are expected to implement the lessons in the same, boring manner. Then, students receive consequences for any small amount of "misbehavior," including, but not limited to, standing up, leaning on arms, moving around "too much," even raising their hands when they are "not allowed to." Kids don't get breaks. If they receive multiple consequences for moving (because they need to move) the children's 20-minute recess is reduced by 1- or 5-minute increments. They have been asked to sit on the dirty playground asphalt.
(2) The ineptitude of the school administrators, especially the principal, is hurting school performance (staff trickling down to children). School employees complain that they are not being supported. Teachers and other staff leave at an unimaginable rate. Each new year includes over 50% new staff, and they continue to leave throughout the year. They lose great employees due to the lack of proficiency with running the school, which is ironic, since the expectations of proficiency for 6 years olds is higher than what the administrators are capable of.
These are just a few examples. The school prides themselves on high test scores. Unfortunately, families in the areas of Success schools don't have good options (public or SA). Test scores are not everything. These kids are not learning to understand. They are learning to take tests. That only works to get you into colleges, not to be able to succeed in college and after. If your child goes to this school, ask them how many children in their class were crying today. Or wet themselves because they weren't allowed to use the restroom because the timing of when they needed to go was inconvenient. These terrible occurrences may be carried into effect by teachers, but they are a requirement made by administration (primarily the principal).
Outstanding school! This school is literally leaps and bounds above the vast majority of the schools in the state, let alone the area. My son is a 2nd grader in his 3rd year here. He has flourished and enjoys his teachers and classmates. He was at the school about a week before I received a call from his teachers to say what a GOOD job he was doing. It has happened many times with various teachers over the past three years, and teachers try to find reasons to do that with many of their kids. Students are given "time in's" for good performance, a chance to celebrate their successes and reinforce good habits (sometimes almost daily). My son is in the chess club and the soccer club there, and both are excellent (the soccer coaches are former PRO players...what!?!). The kind of school that will pour that kind of effort behind making their programs successful is the kind of place that I want my son to be a part of. My son is black, and to be able to go to a school with mostly students of color, where the principal and dean are black, and where the quality of education is on par with $40,000/yr private schools, is an amazing thing. I am very thankful that we have this opportunity.
The Staff (Leaders) are young, overpaid, overworked, stressed, inexperienced and Unprofessional. Their means of dealing with children include yelling, calling parents several times or more a day, calling school safety and sending them to hospitals for hyperactive behavior. The school is a tyrant and a child cannot learn under this environment at Harlem 5. My son and I have been yelled at by the teachers, administrative staff and Dean. I have had the phone blatantly hung up on me, been to over two dozen "meetings" with the school in regards to my sons behavior and my requests have been disregarded. My 6-YEAR OLD 1st grade son has been called a "problem child" and blacklisted right in front of him! I cant wait, I hope and PRAY that Harlem 5 is recognized for their poor social standards by the DOE and that they see this charter school for what it really is..... SHUT IT DOWN, Put the money into these Public schools or anywhere in dire NEED, NOT into the Out-Of-State/City teachers unfamiliar with dealing with our children. I WILL not rest.
My daughter has learned so much in SA-Harlem 5. This is her 3rd year. The work she showed in 1st grade, I know I wasn't doing until 2nd or 3rd grades in the NYC public school I attended in the 1980s. She is reading very well, I can't complain at all. It's a pleasure to see her loving books and reading everything in site. She sounds out words very well and pronounces words she has seen for the first time. The school can be strict with time and absences but I think the strictness is needed with all children. They should adapt these important habits like getting to school on time and having minimal to no absences. 2 concerns with SA 1- There are no after schools but yet there are many job postings for success academy schools with positions that seem to be a bit redundant. 2- I work very hard at living above the word "poverty" and I can't get around this when I see Success Academy in the papers, magazines and social media. All in all, I make it work. I'm proud that my daughter is doing so well and it's not costing me a thing. Time and dedication is what's needed to succeed and as parents we have to work hard to get our children to excel and be the best at everything they do!