How Success Academy rethought, reinvented and reimagined education

When it comes to New York-based charter network Success Academy and how successful many of its students have been, much of it boils down to the way the organization rethought, reinvented and reimagined education and how it should be done.


After all, if you keep on doing what you have always done, chances are you are not going to get anything different than you have already had. That is what Eva Moskowitz, the founder and CEO of Success Academy, knew and so she decided to found an organization that looked at education in a completely new way.


How did Success Academy reinvent education? — From the minute the charter school network was founded, Moskowitz knew education had to be fun. Only then would the low-income children and children of color that they were serving be interested enough to learn.


At the same time, core subjects had to be emphasized, but so did electives like chess, sports, dance and debate.


Students also had to be taught that hard work was necessary and that there was no such thing as failure. After all, if what you tried to do did not work out, then try again.

Finally, critical thinking skills must be taught, as must the ability to work independently and also work collaboratively in a group.


All of this was shaped into a curriculum. A curriculum that has been so successful for Success Academy, other charter schools around the country are now clamoring to get their hands on it.


How successful is Success Academy? — In 2016, the organization released a report showing all of its schools lower than high school level had tested in the 90th percentile in the whole state of New York.


Students at Success Academy schools had done better than students in much wealthier school districts, and minority students had done better than white children at the same educational level.


As their success has grown, so has the interest of parents in the charter school network. Nowadays they get more than 17,000 applicants for just over 3,000 places every year, and they currently serve over 14,000 students in their schools.


Not bad for an organization that did not even exist just over a decade ago.