There was a unexpectedly positive profile of our neighborhood’s branch of Success Academy (SA) — the controversial charter school franchise started by Eva Moskowitz — in Business Insider last week.
BI’s Abby Jackson took a deep look behind the scenes at the Bensonhurst school, which is co-located with Seth Low Intermediate School at 99 Avenue P, and it sounds very different from SAs in other parts of the city, which are occasionally accused of using draconian measures like yelling and humiliation to ensure high test scores.
The culture SA Bensonhurst, according to this profile, seems downright cheerful! Here are a few excerpts:
Throughout the school, there seemed to be a genuine sense of joy among the students, whether they were enmeshed in a math problem, or dancing in their elective class. Some of this may be attributable to the heavy emphasis on the need for play time at SA Bensonhurst.
Dant explained that, even in core subjects, there are dedicated times for “wiggle breaks” or “dance breaks” where students stop learning and are free to partake in some unstructured fun.
The pep and positivity in this school is actually pretty unbelievable:
When we stopped into a kindergarten science class in the midst of their computer programming unit, the teacher was praising a student for his work.
“I want to give a shout out to Jacob because he immediately wrote down his program,” the teacher said. “He’s not forgetting that programmers write, then try. Show some love.”
“Gooooo Jacob!” the students all responded in unison.
The kids also take yoga and ballet dance to the tune of Carly Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe”:
Next, we headed to elective classes which students signed up for according to their interests. In a yoga class, students stretched to calming, instrumental music.
“Take a deep breath in,” Ms. Vanszl instructed. She had them demonstrate downward dog, cat, and cow poses, and reminded them to find a spot on the carpet or the wall to help them balance.
Do you kids go to Success Academy? What has your experience been like? Share your thoughts in the comments!