Success Academy announced to families and staff today that it will suspend on-campus learning and shift all 18,000 students to remote learning, starting Thursday, March 19, 2020, until further notice. School staff will use Monday, March 16 through Wednesday, March 18, 2020, to finalize preparations for online and at-home learning for students in grades K-12.
“This was a difficult decision. We know some families will have trouble getting childcare, and we regret that there is not a solution that meets everyone’s needs. But the coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented and evolving rapidly,” said Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools. “The safety of scholars and staff, as well as the larger community, is our paramount concern.”
Starting Thursday, scholars in grades 5-12 will use Google Classroom, which is already a mainstay in their daily routine, to access a daily schedule of when to log on to a video conference system for teacher-led lessons and what assignments to submit. Advisors will Facetime or speak daily by phone with each scholar, and beginning at 9:00 a.m. each day, teachers will hold office hours throughout the remote learning day for scholars to receive additional support. Families will receive the same information via email as well as instructions on how to use all the Success-provided systems and how to use phones as a hotspot for wifi connectivity.
Scholars in grades K-4 will be sent home today with books, and teachers, including science and specials teachers, will be in regular daily communication with both parents and children. Parents will be emailed a weekly overview of how scholars should organize their day across subjects — reading, writing, math, and science — along with a grade-specific lesson plan that includes assignments, curated video selections, and other online resources. Families also have free access to Tumblebooks, a database of 1,200 e-books and audio/digital content for young readers and pre-readers.
Success’ transition to remote learning is greatly facilitated by its embrace of digital resources. All Success Academy scholars receive Chromebooks starting in fourth grade. By fifth grade, Success students take digital assessments, receive digital feedback on their work, and communicate frequently with educators and other students digitally. All middle and high schools scholars (as well as faculty) have Audible accounts and also have access to a number of online resources on their Chromebooks: Kami for digital annotation, Overdrive, Dreambox, Mathalicious, BrainPop, Newsela, and LiChess.
Founded in 2006, Success Academy Charter Schools are free public K-12 schools open to all children in the state through a random lottery. With 45 schools across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, Success Academy enrolls 18,000 students, primarily children of color from low-income households in disadvantaged neighborhoods: 74% receive free or reduced-price lunch, 94% are students of color, 16% have disabilities, and 8% are English language learners. Success Academy schools received more than 17,000 applications for about 4,000 open seats for the 2019-20 academic year. For more information about Success Academy, go to successacademies.org.