Out of the spotlight, in one of America’s poorest neighborhoods, a growing network of schools is driving big results for New York City students
When the New York State test scores came out this fall, the New York City Charter School Center prepared an analysis that included a scatter plot mapping every charter network according to the average math and English proficiency rates of its students. In the top right corner, where proficiency rates near 100 percent, the well-known Success Academy network appears. But just a hair below it is a network that rarely gets any attention: South Bronx Classical.
South Bronx Classical now has four schools that ring the neighborhood, one of the highest-poverty areas in the country. The placement of the schools is intentional: The network’s ultimate goal is to have a Classical charter within walking distance of every child in the South Bronx. The growing network has 1,400 students this year.
Of the 437 students in grades three through eight who took the state English and math exams last year, 89.4 percent scored proficient in English and 94.7 percent in math. By comparison, the city’s overall proficiency rates were 46.7 percent and 42.7 percent, respectively, and in the community school districts where Classical’s schools are located, proficiency rates were in the range of 20 to 30 percent.