Success Academy

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DAY IN THE LIFE

  • Good Morning, Scholars!

    7:15AM-7:45AM Arrival

    The principal greets each scholar with a handshake and warm “hello,” starting every morning off on the right foot.

  • Literacy

    8:00AM

    Imaginations ignite with guided reading, and scholars become compelling authors during writing workshops.

  • Block Play

    9:30AM

    Scholars build a world of possibilities. Blocks time fosters creativity, critical problem solving, and social growth.

  • SCIENCE

    11:00AM

    Curious scholars participate in hands-on science labs five days a week. Each day brings the joy of a new discovery.

  • Lunch

    12:00PM

    Children need fuel to learn. Our scholars take a midday break for a FREE meal.

  • Recess & Sports

    1:15PM

    Our scholars enjoy recess every day and fall in love with sports, such as soccer, kickball, and tennis.

  • Math

    1:45PM

    Every problem has a solution, but as independent and critical thinkers, our scholars are encouraged to take different paths to get there. We don’t believe in just memorizing skills. Scholars develop a deep conceptual understanding of numbers and become terrific problem-solvers.

  • ARTS

    2:30PM

    Art class gives scholars the chance to express themselves through a variety of media, which our creative scholars love!

  • CHESS

    3:45PM

    Scholars sharpen their analytical and problem-solving skills as well as gain confidence - all while having a lot of fun!

  • Dismissal

    4:30PM

    Each day ends on a positive note as parents and teachers shake hands before scholars head safely home.

Approach To Learning

We believe deeply that doing is at the core of learning. Therefore, scholars receive only 80 minutes of direct instruction (teacher up front) every day. Our school leaders and teachers work tirelessly to make each of these minutes count. The rest of the day is devoted to small group instruction and hands on learning.

Throughout the entire day we emphasize letting kids do the thinking work! Giving scholars the opportunity to do the intellectual heavy lifting makes learning not only engaging and fun, but also deep and lasting.

At Success Academy, we constantly ask ourselves the question, “Would our scholars come to school if they didn’t have to?” Our formula for a resounding “Yes!” is setting the bar high (rigor) and ensuring school is filled with opportunities for discovery, inquiry, off-the-charts engagement, and of course, humor (joy). We believe each child has limitless potential to think and achieve at high levels. We also believe in making achieving exhilarating and fun!

  • Science
  • Project Based Learning
  • Field Studies
  • Art
  • Reading and Writing
  • Sports
  • Math
  • Chess
  • Science

    Success Academy has a science program like none other in the country. Beginning in kindergarten, scholars receive hands-on, inquiry-based science five days a week with a dedicated science teacher. Success Academy scientists conduct experiments and discuss observations, data, and results in the same way true scientists do. Our method of science instruction not only ignites a passion for science early in life, but it also provides scholars with the critical thinking skills necessary to tackle any problem.

    At Success Academy we incorporate the three main disciplines of science – Life, Physical and Earth – into each year’s curriculum. On any given day, a scholar might dissect a squid, program a robot, or conduct scratch tests to identify minerals!

  • Project Based Learning

    Project Based Learning is an intensive, multidisciplinary study of one topic – exploring a topic in such depth brings history to life and allows scholars to develop their own deep insights. During our Brooklyn Bridge study, 2nd grade scholars conduct experiments to learn the engineering principles behind bridge construction, read about how Emily Roebling became the project’s chief engineer, and visit the bridge to record their own observations and interview pedestrians.

  • Field Studies

    Through frequent field studies, scholars discover New York City and experience all this great city has to offer! Recent field studies have included the American Museum of Natural History, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Queens County Farm Museum, and the Big Apple Circus.

    And not all field studies take place outside our schools! During the 2012-2013 school year, Chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov visited our schools and scholars enjoyed assemblies featuring jugglers, dancers, musicians, and more.

  • Art

    We believe the arts are an integral part of educating the whole child and a critical part of the school day. Our creative scholars have the opportunity to explore and create through visual arts, and at select schools dance and music.

    • During Visual Arts, scholars investigate drawing, painting, printmaking, and more! These explorations allow scholars to channel their imaginations, communities and the world.
    • We also introduce Contemporary and Traditional Art History concepts, which provide a richer understanding and appreciation of art as well as inspiration for our scholars.
  • Reading and Writing

    Our approach to teaching literacy stems from our belief that if a child loves reading and reads exceptionally well, she can teach herself anything!

    Throughout all aspects of our THINK Literacy curriculum we introduce scholars to great literature and emphasize critical thinking and the thoughtful discussion of ideas.

    THINK Literacy prepares scholars for any reading or writing challenge they will encounter throughout their education.

     

    • Guided and Independent Reading is a beloved aspect of our school day. During guided reading, teachers read aloud to the whole class or teach scholars in small groups using a more challenging book than what they are able to read independently. Teachers ask scholars thoughtfully planned questions, which set scholars up to understand and articulate the meaning of a book with precision. These techniques allow scholars to rapidly ascend reading levels and devour increasingly difficult texts.
    • Close Reading of Shared Text consists of teachers leading scholars through a close reading of a short text across a variety of genres. This approach teaches scholars to read closely in order to unpack a text and distill the author’s central meaning. It also teaches scholars to understand the literary techniques used. The process helps scholars become better writers, as well as readers.
    • Our Writing lessons provide scholars the tools to become precise writers able to express and argue ideas in compelling ways. During Writing Workshop, scholars learn to apply qualities of great writing across different genres, from expository reports to poetry. Scholars also spend time writing independently as they explore and respond to literature they have read during Shared Text.
  • Sports

    We introduce a variety of traditional and nontraditional sports so scholars can find the sport they will fall in love with! Through mainstream sports such as basketball, soccer, and baseball, scholars connect not only with their teammates but also with their communities.

    We also offer nontraditional sports like tennis that scholars can enjoy throughout their lives.

    • We believe in getting up and moving throughout the day so scholars have sports and recess daily. Sports focuses on skill development and learning the rules of the game, and each class concludes with a fun and competitive mini-match.We believe in getting up and moving throughout the day so scholars have sports and recess daily. Sports focuses on skill development and learning the rules of the game, and each class concludes with a fun and competitive mini-match.
    • Success Academy 3rd and 4th grade scholars have the opportunity to try out for our after-school sports teams. We offer soccer in the fall, basketball during the winter, and track and field during the spring. Throughout each season, scholars play against other Success Academy teams and gain competitive experience that will serve them during college admissions and beyond.
  • Math

    At Success Academy, we blend conceptual understanding with a push for precision and accuracy. The math program is centered on activity-based investigations, which encourage scholars to think creatively and develop their own approaches to problem-solving and work cooperatively.

    • During Number Stories scholars develop their own strategies to solve complex word problems, and then share the most efficient strategies. Through this curriculum, scholars both teach and learn from their classmates to become flexible thinkers and precise problem solvers. Scholars discover and explore the properties of our number system, such as the commutative property or the connection between addition and multiplication.
    • In Math Workshop, scholars break into groups and pairs to participate in math investigations and games. They discover and explore shape properties, fractions, and measurement, which expose scholars to math beyond number operations and the base-10 system. Our teachers plan the lesson with a clear goal and use precise questioning and a carefully designed set of activities to lead scholars to learn, develop, or master a new concept each day.
    • Math Routines and Counting/Money Jar develop fact fluency and precise counting. Once scholars have mastered counting, they can add, subtract, multiply, and divide. In early elementary, we give scholars practice counting tiles, which develops one-one math correspondence and cardinality. As students progress, we practice counting money and counting in multiples. Each day, scholars also do a short, focused set of math routines to ensure they know their math facts without hesitation.
  • Chess

    Learning and playing chess sharpens scholars’ analytical and competitive instincts. Chess allows scholars to think strategically while having fun! Our expert chess teachers explain the basic moves and rules of the game, and after learning these mechanics, scholars quickly develop the strategies needed to checkmate their opponent.

Parent Involvement

WE PROMISE TO:

Surround scholars with a community of leaders, teachers and parents who share a vision of academic achievement.

Include you in family academic events and field trips so you can see the incredible growth and development of your child.

Encourage a real-time, two-way communication policy that includes:

  • Frequent updates about your child’s progress and what the school is doing to help your child flourish and grow.
  • The cell phone number and email address of every teacher and leader in the building so you can contact us.
  • A communication policy that guarantees any questions are answered within 24 hours.
  • Maintaining an open-door policy, which allows you to visit and observe your child’s class.

WE EXPECT YOU TO:

Be actively involved in your child’s learning, including reading a book a night with your child.

Make sure all homework is completed every night.

Bring your scholar to school in uniform on time daily.

Celebrate your scholar’s success at family meetings and academic events.

Model the Success Academy ACTION values at home.

Be an active member of the school community – we have many opportunities to get involved:

  • Parent Council
  • Class Parents
  • Field Study Chaperones
  • In-Class (Chess/Sports/Specials) Chaperones
  • Advocacy
  • Community Outreach

DAY IN THE LIFE

  • Good Morning, Scholars

    7:30AM

    Scholars participating in competitive sports report early for soccer, cross-country, volleyball, basketball, double-Dutch, or track practice. Everyone else arrives by 8:00am.

  • Electives

    8:00AM

    Robotics, theater, Math Olympiad, speech and debate, journalism, painting: Scholars engage in a morning electives block and an afternoon one, and they are required to choose courses in more than one category, striving for breadth along with depth.

  • Math

    9:15AM

    Our middle school students approach mathematics as an endeavor in problem solving. Starting in fifth grade, problems become more complex, require multiple steps to solve, and are increasingly contextual. By the end of eighth grade, students have formed a solid groundwork of concepts in algebra and geometry.

  • Language Arts & Literature

    10:45AM

    Scholars learn by doing, bolstering knowledge of grammar, style, and vocabulary through creative and informative writing endeavors. They read a wide variety of high-quality books, examining the craft and structure of novels, poetry, and nonfiction, never forgetting that reading is a lifelong source of joy and inspiration.

  • Lunch and Recess

    12:00PM

    Scholars relax and chat in the cafeteria and then enjoy some fresh air.

  • Computer Science

    12:45PM

    Through experimentation, exploration, and some serious fun, scholars progress through increasingly more sophisticated studies of technology, from constructing interactive graphics to programming in various languages.

  • 1:45PM

    History

    The world opens up for fifth-graders when they are given an overview of global history. Big themes introduce scholars to chronology, archaeology, data analysis, and other tools that historians use.

  • 3:00PM

    Science

    In science, scholars approach knowledge with objectivity, detachment, and openness. Our inquiry-based, hands-on program leads them through earth science, physical science, life science, and later a mix of life and earth science.

  • Independent Reading

    4:15PM

    Core to our literacy curriculum, independent reading allows students to develop reading preferences and an enjoyment of literature.

  • Advisory/Dismissal

    5:00PM

    Our afternoon advisory wraps up the day, and then classes are dismissed. Many scholars stay for after-school activities, including play rehearsals, literary magazine production, extra studying, and various club meetings.

APPROACH TO LEARNING

Middle school is a particularly heightened time of life. Scholars are experiencing multiple transitions, moving from childhood to adolescence, from the security of youth to the anxious need for peer acceptance, from concrete thinking to more abstract thinking. Our middle school curriculum supports all these changes, richly responding to the unique intellectual curiosity that scholars bring to their studies during these years while also guiding them over social and emotional rough patches. We foster a sense of resourcefulness and integrity, a love of learning, and the ability to achieve goals. Guided by the Common Core and our aim to prepare students for high school and college, we help students develop critical thinking and academic skills and encourage them to embrace the discipline and “joyful rigor” they’ll need to succeed.

In our small learning communities, scholars feel like a vital and acknowledged part of their school. They know that, while they are working toward daily mastery of a broad range of skills and knowledge, we value their individuality and freedom of expression. We’re here to collaborate with them, and every day they feel the excitement of that.

  • Math
  • Science
  • History
  • Electives
  • Sports
  • Language Arts
  • Chess
  • Computer Science
  • Math

    Our mathematics curriculum delicately balances conceptual understanding with the strengthening of foundational skills that are necessary for building and maintaining a strong sense of numeracy. Scholars delve into basic algebraic concepts, geometry, proportional reasoning, and pre-algebra.

    • 5th & 6th Grades Students go beyond the concept of fractions to working with them as entities, performing the four major operations, solving word problems containing them, and beginning to regard them as a model of division. Percentages are introduced, as are negative numbers. Students are expected to solve one- and two-step equations and model situations in algebraic expressions. Two- and three-dimensional geometry is also addressed, as the variable formulas serve as an extension of algebraic reasoning.
    • 7th Grade Students become fluent with operations utilizing percentages and proportions as well as positive and negative rational numbers, in and out of context. Linear Algebra is introduced as proportional relationships are modeled as linear, and multiple representations of solutions (e.g., graphs, tables) are utilized. Geometry and probability are also given significant attention, and largely taught in the context of algebra and proportions.
    • 8th Grade The concept of functions, both linear and non-linear, is central to eighth-grade mathematics. Special emphasis is placed on working with equations and expressions, as this becomes like a language in which scholars will be expected to communicate in high-school mathematics. Transformations in the coordinate plane serve as an extension of previous studies in geometry, relating it completely to algebra and helping to make the study of mathematics a more cohesive body of knowledge.
  • Science

    Embedded in inquiry and observation, our science curriculum gives students hands-on practice in questioning, defining, observing, classifying, generalizing, and verifying. Through reading, activities, and experiments, students gain a deep understanding of earth science, physical science, and life science, always with an emphasis on process and refinement.

    • 5th & 6th Grades Scholars make real-world connections to topics such as soil composition, rocks and minerals, erosion and deposition, plate tectonics, weather and atmosphere, and the Earth in space and space exploration. Scholars learn about physical science; in particular the basics of physics and chemistry lay the foundation for later work. Scholars explore topics such as the chemistry of materials, water, energy, force and motion, and waves.
    • 7th Grade Scholars explore life science and what makes us human as they learn about organisms and how they have changed over time. The life science curriculum guides scholars understanding of cell processes and body systems to deeper understandings of biological interactions of organisms and the existence of organisms today due to the adaptations they have to survive in the environment they inhabit.
    • 8th Grade Building on the previous year’s study of life science, eighth grade science combines life and earth science, exploring body systems, cellular biology and disease, genetics, ecology, evolution and aspects of earth science.
  • History

    Our history program aims to provide scholars with a common body of cultural and historical knowledge, always reminding them that history is the story of humankind. The curriculum emphasizes connections between underlying historical causes and their present-day effects, with considerations of political discord, economic injustice, racism, and sexism. To help spark those connections, we introduce scholars to historical thinking and methods of historical analysis.

    • 5th GradeTools of History & 6th GradeAmerican History 1 Through an overview of world history, scholars gain a sense of the ebb and flow of historical events and develop a clearer picture of the chronology of the human experience. Stories of key people and events capture the essence of the human experience throughout the Americas from its beginnings to the American Civil War. Special focus is given to the foundation of the United States.
    • Seventh Grade—American History II By focusing on the story of the United States and its people from 1860 to the present, scholars develop a framework for learning about the way things were, understanding the way things are, and preparing for the way things may be in the future of the U.S. A greater emphasis on the reading and analysis of primary historical sources is placed on understanding the flow of history.
    • Eighth Grade—Ancient World History The first in a series of four world history courses extending into high school, this course (covering 5000 BCE to 600 BCE) gives scholars a look into the mythopoetic world of Egyptians, Mesopotamians, ancient Chinese and Indian dynasties. Through the reading of primary sources and scholarly resources, art and architecture, and archaeological evidence, scholars discover and explore major themes and topics that serve as a thread throughout the history of humanity.
  • Electives

    Middle school electives are designed to give scholars more choice and responsibility for their education program. Scholars are provided with the opportunity to select two electives per trimester. At our middle schools, these classes are not considered “extras”— they’re a vital part of the curriculum, offering students an opportunity to discover their owns skills, proclivities, and passions, broadening their experience of the world, and providing avenues for self-expression.

    • Choices allow scholars to pursue personal interests. Electives include drama, dance, chorus, painting and drawing, chess, computer science, debate and speech, journalism, robotics, Math Olympiad, or entrepreneurship.
    • Events and Exhibitions: Each trimester at each middle school, at least one performing arts event — a theater performance, a choral concert, a dance recital — and one visual arts exhibition gives the wider community a chance to see our scholars’ extraordinary achievements in the fine arts.
  • Sports

    We believe that the life of the mind is enhanced by physical wellbeing and an understanding of personal health. Our sports and fitness program, which consists of competitive sports and core courses, emphasizes the development of skills, attitudes, and strategies that enable scholars to make healthy life choices.

    • Core Courses Our fitness courses don’t just promote physical wellbeing and academic development; they also embrace discussion of social issues like substance abuse, family living, and human sexuality. Scholars learn that wellness is not just about the body, but about the mental and social balance required to be one’s best self.
    • Competitive Sports Scholars may try out for competitive teams in soccer, cross-country, volleyball, basketball, double-Dutch, or track. Seventh and eighth graders maintain a competitive schedule and play other schools, whereas the fifth- and sixth -grade teams compete against other Success Academy middle school teams. Scholars participating in competitive sports teams practice from 7:30 to 8:50am.
  • Language Arts

    When it comes to reading and writing, we believe that scholars learn by doing. From their earliest school days, they read voraciously; this level of engagement with books continues and intensifies in middle school. Scholars learn to read not only for story or information, but also for deeper meanings of history and culture. Language Arts instruction emphasizes writing skills, and knowledge of grammar, style, vocabulary, and rhetoric is strengthened through frequent writing.

    • Critical Reading Scholars formulate perspectives on literature based on evidence, synthesis, paraphrasing, and identifying important information as they read. At Success Academies we believe that children become voracious and critical readers through exposure to a wide variety of high quality books. They learn to thoughtfully examine the craft and structure of books, poetry and nonfiction and understand that books open doors figuratively and literally to other worlds.
    • Writing At the middle school level, we channel children’s natural development and desire to express themselves into writing creative and informative pieces that are clear, precise, and authentic. At the core, children deeply understand that writing is power and they can transform themselves and their world through the written word.
    • Independent Reading Independent reading allows students to develop reading preferences and enjoyment, explore different genres, and increase responsibility in making meaning of a text outside of class discussions. In addition to literary reading, scholars regularly read the New York Times. Most importantly, children learn that reading is a perpetual source of joy and inspiration.
  • Chess

    Chess is a central part of the culture in our middle schools—especially for fifth and sixth graders, where chess is taught as a part of the core curriculum. Scholars will have the opportunity to take chess twice a week as part of their core program. Classes focus on basic strategies and positional ideas. Scholars interested in competitive play have the opportunity to sign up for chess elective where they will learn various openings and endgame techniques as well as develop their ability to calculate and visualize. Chess classes are offered Tuesday through Saturday.

    Success Academy scholars have frequently ranked among the top competitors at the state championships in Saratoga Springs, and have gone on to compete in the national competition. More than 100 scholars participate in Saturday tournament play throughout the fall and spring.

  • Computer Science

    Required in seventh and eighth grades, computer science emphasizes analytical and design thinking and programming for scholars who want to know how computers work and how to write software. Technical expertise is not required, only an open mind and a willingness to experiment, explore, and have some serious fun. Computer science courses become progressively more sophisticated by focusing on the fundamentals of programming through projects involving interactive graphics and games and learning how to program in JavaScript and Python. Fifth and sixth graders can take computer science as an elective.

PARENT INVOLVEMENT

WE PROMISE TO:

Instill in scholars not just the curiosity and work ethic required to enrich their minds, but the independence and agency needed to succeed in college and beyond.

Ensure a balanced community, one that matches the ambitious goals of our curriculum with a small-school feel.

Provide a culture of high standards and personal responsibility that complements the deep, rigorous learning present in our classrooms.

Never compromise our mission to deliver an education that endures. Our philosophy isn’t about the short-term or the easy way — it’s about the difficult and necessary steps to achieving daily mastery and self-motivated inquiry.

WE EXPECT PARENTS AND GUARDIANS TO:

Encourage the hard work, discipline, and focus young people need to fully reap the rewards of their education.

Engage with the community. Strong school culture is a touchstone of our program, and parent involvement is critical in making co-curricular and community service events exceed expectations.

Support scholars’ interests and ambitions. We equip scholars with the tools to realize their own goals, not just the ones dictated by our curriculum.

Understand the process. The Success Academy program emphasizes how to learn as much as the learning itself, and therefore stresses mindset and attitude as much as preparation and practice. We want our scholars to see education as not a chore but a responsibility.

Coming Soon!

Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts will open in August 2014