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Courtesy of Success Academy/Da Ping Luo
Ty Redmond, the principal of the newly-opened Success Academy Far Rockaway school, shakes the hand of a student who is starting kindergarten.
By Patrick Donachie

Charter school organization Success Academy opened two new schools in Queens this week in Far Rockaway and South Jamaica, bringing the total number of its schools in the borough to four.

The Far Rockaway school, located at 10-45 Nameoke St., and the South Jamaica school at 120-27 141 St., the former site of the John Adams High School Jumpstart Academy, are opening with grades K-1, while the organization’s Rosedale and Springfield Gardens locations are serving students from grades K through 3. The latter two schools started class Aug. 15.

Demand was high for the Queens schools, according to Success Academy. About 3,500 students admitted into the organization’s lottery process in 2016 were from Queens, an increase of 1,100 from the year before. The Springfield Gardens location alone received 2,300 applications for 106 open seats.

Shantell Cook is from Far Rockaway but currently has a daughter enrolled in the Rosedale location. She extolled the organization and said the new school would be beneficial to the community where she lived. She said the school helped her daughter raise her reading level, and said the schools did assessments to find the best way to approach a student’s education.

“It’s something that my community needed. We have all these other charter schools, but all charter schools are not the same,” she said. “I’ve heard politicians say that it takes resources away from other schools, but I think it adds.”

There was opposition from some community members and elected officials to the Far Rockaway school due to the fact that it was to be co-located in a facility with two other schools, but Cook said the school offered another opportunity and option for parents searching for the best school for their child.

“For all those kids that didn’t get into other schools, it’s another school those kids can go to,” she said. “They’re coming to give opportunities to kids for families who feel that they need something different.”

Success Academy Charter Schools was founded in 2006 and runs 41 schools in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx, enrolling 14,000 students in total. The schools are publicly funded but privately run. CEO Eva Moskowitz is a prominent advocate for charter schools and is often critical of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s education policies.

Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdonachie@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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