Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Revealing Interview With Harlem Success Academy Principal

We are getting dramatically different results. Sure, you could explain away 5 percentage points to parents being a little more motivated. But it’s not even close. We pass 75 percent of our kids in the third grade test. The co-located school below us passed 22 percent.
---HSA principal
This NY Times interview with Jim Manly, principal of HSA 2 reveals the fault lines of Success so-called success. Manly makes up his own stat of 5% difference due to greater parent motivation. Even if it was 5% just think of the impact even 5% more children from disruptive families have on a school due to the kinds of attention these children need from all resources in the school.

Follow this thread to see how the child who does not fall in line ends up on the co-located public school downstairs.
You’re a very demanding school, but surely not all your kids will meet up to your standards. How do you deal with failure compared to how other schools might deal with it?
I think it does matter that they chose us. [CREAMING 1.1].

In Harlem, over half the parents in District 5 apply to be in our school [will HSA publish the list of those applying?], so it’s not like we’re creaming. We have an established product.  

If a child isn’t doing well, we say to the parents, listen, this is a true ticket for your child to redefine their academic expectations [first stage in counseling out]. This is an incredibly rare opportunity, and you’re blowing it. Your kid is coming to school at 12:30 in the afternoon, or they’re missing three days in a row for no other reason than you felt tired or you didn’t feel like coming to school. We can’t throw anybody out, [WINK WINK] but we sit parents down and say there is a waiting list a mile long of people who want in to this school, and you have this spot and you’re throwing it away. You’re not bringing your kid in on time, you’re not making sure they do their homework, you’re allowing them to disrupt lessons. We need your help.

We see some pretty remarkable turnarounds. The parents will say you’re right. I hear your message. I’m messing this up.
And if they don't hear the message they are pressured until they remove the child because Success can't function with loads of kids public schools manage to deal with every day. You know public schools have the same conversations with parents.

How about this deal. If parents don't cooperate in a public school we just send them to HSA and Jim Manly to fix.


  1. "If parents don't cooperate in public school, we just send them to HSA ANDJim Manley to fix."
    HA!Love it!

  2. He wouldn't have a clue. The only thing this guy knows how to do is threaten parents with fear, the same way the deal with students...that's a check Mr. Manly

    1. Apparently you've never seen Mr. Manly in action. One of the most charismatic and engaging people I have ever had the pleasure of being around. There's nothing wrong with consequences or a firm tone when they are complimented perfectly by the joy that this principal brings to his school, scholars, and staff.


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