Success Academy Charter Schools is the winner of the 2017 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools announced today at the National Charter Schools Conference. The Broad Prize awards $250,000 to the large public charter school system that has demonstrated the best overall academic performance while closing achievement gaps and serving low-income students and students of color. The prize winnings must be used for college-readiness efforts.

“As a nation, we must do more to close persistent gaps in opportunity and achievement that, too often, separate students of color and students from low-income families from their more advantaged peers. Success Academy has been successful in closing those gaps,” said John B. King, Jr., president and CEO of The Education Trust, former U.S. Secretary of Education, and a member of The Broad Prize review board. “Success Academy is intentional about delivering quality instruction and offering well-rounded, hands-on learning experiences to every child. And these charter schools understand the benefit of a diverse educational community, with children of different socioeconomic status, race, and background all learning together. A commitment to excellence, equity, and diversity has helped Success Academy deliver strong results for students and their families.”

Success Academy is New York’s largest charter management organization (CMO) and operates 41 elementary, middle and high schools serving 14,000 students in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. Success Academy has a student population that is 76 percent low-income and 93 percent Black or Hispanic.

The 10-member Broad Prize review board – consisting of prominent education researchers, policy leaders and practitioners from around the country – chose Success Academy based on the CMO’s student outcomes and scalability. The review board specifically noted:

  • In 2016, all of Success Academy’s elementary and middle schools were in the top 10 percent of schools in New York state for advanced academic performance in English, math and science.
  • In 2016, Black and Hispanic students at Success Academy, on average, performed better than their white peers across the entire state of New York and low-income students performed better, on average, than their non-low-income peers across the state at both the Proficient and Advanced levels in all three tested subjects – English, math and science.
  • In just one decade, Success Academy has grown from one school to over 40. Starting with just elementary schools, the CMO has added middle schools and a high school. That makes Success Academy larger than 95 percent of U.S. school districts. Success students’ academic achievement is particularly impressive given the pace at which Success has grown to serve more students.

“On behalf of the 4,500 charter school educators and advocates with me at the 2017 National Charter Schools Conference, I offer Success Academy my heartiest congratulations for winning the 2017 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools,” said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “Success Academy’s leaders, teachers, and families work tirelessly to create a better future for the students they serve. Through an innovative approach that includes a first-grade art show, fourth-grade ballroom dancing, junior high chess, and high school service days, Success Academy is redefining what an impactful, well-rounded academic approach can look like. Such innovation and determination is at the heart of the charter school movement.” 

“At the heart of Success Academy’s incredible academic achievements are its teachers, students and families,” said Gregory McGinity, executive director of The Broad Foundation. “Their dedication has made it possible for Success to grow rapidly to serve thousands of students, all without sacrificing academic progress. We hope other public schools across the country will be inspired by Success’ example.”   

Success Academy was one of three finalists – along with DSST Public Schools, which operates 12 charter schools that serve nearly 5,000 students in Denver, Colorado, and Harmony Public Schools, which operates 48 charter schools serving 32,000 students in Texas – selected by the review board. The review board considered student outcomes, college readiness indicators, scalability, size, poverty and demographics. This marked the first year DSST was eligible for the award and the first time Harmony was named a finalist. Success Academy was also a finalist last year – the first year the network was eligible.

Non-profit charter management organizations eligible for the 2017 award operated a minimum of five schools in the 2014-15 school year with at least 2,500 students and served sizable percentages of low-income students and students of color. CMO data were analyzed by the American Institutes for Research. Organizations cannot apply for the award nor be nominated. The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, which funds the prize, and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, which administers the prize, did not play a role in selecting the top three charter systems or the winner.

Previous winners of The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools include IDEA Public Schools in 2016, Noble Network of Charter Schools in 2015, KIPP Schools in 2014, Uncommon Schools in 2013, and YES Prep Public Schools in 2012. Winners are ineligible for three years following their win.

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