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Achievement First Seen & Heard

See who’s talking about Achievement First and read updates on how and what we’re doing.

Connecticut | New York | Rhode Island | National



Elm City College Prep Becomes 1st CT Elementary School to Compete in Travel Soccer
“Elm City College Preparatory Elementary School in New Haven offers students the opportunity to develop their soccer skills through an elective class. The students have improved to the point that they are ready to compete so the school worked with the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association and registered the Elm City Wolves as a travel soccer team.”
NBC Connecticut

College-Bound Seniors Defy Expectations
“As students testified, often through tears, the crowd, which included bleachers full of underclassmen, let out ear-splitting cheers of agreement, encouraging them to go on and go slow. Throughout, they also thanked their parents, who stood up to film their speeches on their phones, as well as their teachers, social workers and guidance counselors.”
New Haven Independent

New Haven Student Finds Technology Passion
“STEM teachers at Elm City College Prep encourage creativity in New Haven. Student Devon, who used to have trouble in school, is excelling and wants to be an engineer.”
NBC Connecticut

All Students Should Have Access to AP Courses, and I am Living Proof
Hartford junior Brian Ozenne writes, “I took my first advanced placement class — world history — when I was a sophomore in high school. This year, I’m a junior taking three AP courses. Next year, I’ll take four more. As a student of color who lives in Hartford, this makes me unique. It doesn’t have to.”
NBC Connecticut
Connecticut Mirror

Amistad Senior Chooses Harvard After Being Accepted to 4 Ivy League Schools
“Tolulope Adeniji was accepted to Yale, Brown, Harvard and Penn. On Thursday, she had her big reveal. For Tolu, it’s not so much her success, but seeing other black and Hispanic students thrive that inspires her. ‘Seeing other people that I know achieve such great things kind of reminds you that, yeah, it’s possible for people who look like me.'”
News 8

My Black Teachers and I
Bridgeport eighth-grader Shaliyah Patnelli writes, “Kids need more examples of what people my color can become. I am going to be one of them.”
CT Post


students smiling on Senior Signing Day

New York

Eight NYC schools are awarded the National Blue Ribbon honor
“By contrast, at another 2019 Blue Ribbon school, Achievement First Bushwick Charter School, 86% of students were from low-income families and more than 96 percent of students were black or Hispanic during the 2018-2019 school year. Achievement First schools tout their development of new teachers and principals, as well as a “rigorous” curriculum geared toward college readiness. ”

What’s Cool at School: Teaching R&B in the classroom
“Theater teacher and writer Tarshai Peterson says the idea came to her to teach about R&B when her students asked her what it was. To further the children’s knowledge of the genre, music teacher Randi Moses decided to do a play called “R&B Through the Ages. Both teachers are showing students that they have a rich history and story that deserves to be told and seen on stage.”
News 12 Brooklyn

New School Model Gives Kids Freedom to Choose What They Learn
“We’ve redesigned our middle school to focus in on what it would take, beginning in 5th grade, to see our students when they go to a college campus really thrive on campus and persist, rather than simply being ready to enter a college campus,” Zachary Segall, Principal of Achievement First Aspire said.”

Brooklyn High School Debate Team Defies Expectations to Win Championships
“Students deliver passionate speeches about topics such as civil rights, net neutrality and foreign policy. They often take home honors from the meets, coach DiCo said. Sometimes they’re the only black and Hispanic kids at the competitions.”
Fox 5
New York Daily News
New York Daily News (Hometown Hero award coverage)

Achievement First is Betting on a New Model to Help More of its Students Graduate College
“The model, known as ‘Greenfield’ for its open-minded approach, was first piloted in Connecticut. But starting in 2018, it rolled out for the first time in New York City at a new Brooklyn middle school.”
Chalkbeat New York

middle school boy participating in class

Rhode Island

My Turn: Crystal Jones: Cry from the heart of a parent
“I truly feel that my children — especially my oldest son — will not get what they need unless they go to a public charter school or a private school. This year, I finally got off the waiting list for Achievement First. My oldest son and my daughter are attending that charter school this school year. My younger son is still on the wait list. It’s so painful to sit in the knowledge that my kids can’t get the education they need unless I win an admittance lottery.”
Providence Journal

Editorial: Waiting for a good education
“Providence Police Detective Anthony Roberson has visited the Achievement First campus in Providence many times. Like many of us who have seen the public charter school in action, he was struck by the passion of the teachers and the genuine interest of the students. His visits made him feel “happy and energized.”
Providence Journal

Some Schools Lead the Way
“Elementary school students at Providence’s Achievement First Mayoral Academy, for example, outperformed the state’s students as a whole in English, though many of them come from immigrant homes where English is a second language. In math, they outshone not only the state but tony East Greenwich, one of Rhode Island’s wealthiest communities.”
Providence Journal

Editorial: The Proof of What’s Possible
“The gem of the state — the greatest outlier — was Achievement First in Providence, a public charter school that serves many poor, minority and immigrant children, a huge percentage of them eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, a measure of poverty.” Providence Journal

Top of Class: 28 R.I. Schools Earn State Commendation
“Achievement First Providence Mayoral Academy Elementary is among 28 schools statewide that have been recognized as commended schools by the Rhode Island Department of Education.”
Providence Journal

Charter School Achievement First Starts First Year of Middle School
“This month, the first class to go through the Achievement First Providence Mayoral Academy Middle School will be starting the school year with a class of fifth graders, on the way to growing to grades 5-8. This year’s fifth graders will be the first to graduate from the middle school.”

Acclaimed Charter Serves Special Needs
Achievement First Iluminar kindergarten special education teacher Carmen Naz writes, “I wish this school had existed when my brother was younger. If he had started out here, Achievement First would have done everything possible for him. He would have succeeded in his early days, just like my students.”
Providence Journal


Can scholarship dollars help solve the college ‘undermatching’ problem? This charter network wants to find out
“Achievement First, which operates 36 schools across three states, is about to try a new way of addressing the problem. The network’s Brooklyn board approved a plan last week to offer scholarships to students who opt to attend a more expensive school with a higher graduation rate for black and Hispanic students.”

In a Wildly Changing World, A School Hits Reset
“Greenfield is a showcase for many of the big ideas converging in a rolling reinvention of school: the idea that more kids will accomplish remarkable things if we treat them as unique learners—something technology now can assist; that non-academic skills can’t be limited to buzzy ideas like building resilience, but must nurture students as confident, powerful individuals; that enrichments are not extras or rewards but fundamental to building a discovery mindset; that schools will not succeed unless families and communities shape them and drive their objectives.”
TFA One Day Magazine

Can Kids Get Passionate About Learning — and Develop the Persistence to Follow Where it Leads? One School has a Plan
“Where the Greenfield model pushes boundaries is in the addition of learning experiences called ‘expeditions.’ These are not field trips. They are two-week intensive courses that take children outside the classroom and beyond the traditional subjects.”
The Hechinger Report

After Seeing Alumni Struggle, A Charter Network Revisits Its Methods
“The Greenfield model emphasizes what the network calls ‘student-directed,’ or online, learning; three-times-a-year special classes called expeditions, meant to allow students to explore their interests and discover possible careers; a social-emotional curriculum focused on developing students’ sense of identity and community; and a beefed-up role for parents and other caregivers and mentors.”
The New York Times