This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Success Academy Upper West5
Posted December 02, 2014
- a parent
Great school. great staff, don't have words to express how happy we are being a part of this school. My son started in Kindergarten and just became a third grader with a 5th grader reading level and able to discuss intricate science subjects. I must say that this isnt a school for everyone, if you don't think that excellent learning takes time, effort and discipline then this isnt a school for you. Their schools days are long with only short periods of free time to idle, starting school at 7.30 until 4.30 dismissal won't give enough time for ballet, art or sports classes during the week, so our weekends are full of activities to compensate. This public school has the benefits of a private school with personalized kid approach, plenty of field trips, amazing location and great curriculum and without forcing parents to do "fundraising" to get extra staff, field trips, school supplies etc so parents can focus only on their children learning. Please tour a lot of schools before you make the final decision which school is best for your kid.
The Dismissal at this School is abysmal and Chaotic at best.The teachers have gotten better because of a Diverse Mix,Thank God for that!..They still need More Hispanic Teachers,Preferably Bilingual as well as More transparency..And please do AWAY with that prehistorically,Modernish,Confusing Tracking system that seems like it was invented by a obsolete Cyborg...By the way Parents complain about this while waiting to Pick up/Drop Off their Children..I have been there from the Inception ofvthus School..Upper West you are Better than this..From a Father of 4...
The school is great for children who are fast learners and can deal with a lot of work and stressed. However, SAUW may just be a nightmare for children who, despite their high intelligence, cannot perform at fast speed. I have heard of a lot of children and their parents going through so much stressed after 2nd grade. There is no artistic environment in this school. If you want your kid(s) to have " real kids life", this is not the place to send your kid(s).
My son (G 2) goes to this school since he was K. We loved the school when he was in K, he was definitely learning a lot and I considered the longer hours a good thing. Their focus on academics is impressive. However, the school seems overly stringent on rules and infractions to the point where kids are afraid to tell their teacher anything for fear of incurring an infraction. They seem more focused on keeping control of students and watching who follows the rules than encouraging curiosity and imagination. All teachers are very young and have no idea about very young children. They are not interested what was going on with each kids other than which kids are getting higher scores. Their communication skills with parents are very poor. I definitely don't feel like there is any partnership in trying to do what's best for the kids. They do not have "real" Art class (technically they have it but we rarely see any artworks from the class or heard about it), and no music class at all. Kids are talking about who got 100% or got Red and timeout today. It doesn't seem healthy to me. I'll definitely consider to pull him out from this school.
This is an absolutely amazing school! My wife and I were part of a G&T program and feel this is way beyond anything we experienced. Most importantly our kids are happy, confident, and highly capable. We are really thankful for the opportunity to attend.
My son just completed K at SAUW and so far we are VERY impressed. My child came in reading and being able to do some math, and his teacher went out of her way to keep him busy and engaged. My son loves science every day. He loves block time and recess, art and sports. At the end of the year he was reading at level L and able to do simple multiplication, division and fractions. We honestly believe this school is better than any local public and possibly the district gifted programs as it has the ability to teach each child at his or her own levels in small groups. In addition to the academics, SAUW is doing an amazing job to foster my child's creativity, curiosity and love and excitement about school and learning. The teachers are amazing, caring and enthusiastic. Despite having a traditional approach to discipline, we find the curriculum to be quite progressive with large project-based learning units and frequent field trips. If you are considering the school, I urge you to tour and talk to current parents. We highly recommend SAUW.
This school does poorly with inteligent children with special needs. My child was beaten up by other children in this school and although staff witness this, they deny it during a meeting. My child failed at all the tests given in class but when given the opportunity to take the test with special accomodations (after asking for accomodations all year long and finally getting approved on his last test of the year), my child superpassed the class average grade by more than 15%, and still they argued that my child did not need accomodations.
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!
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".