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New York

At Upper West Success charter, diversity that mirrors the district

Eva Moskowitz says that each of the charter schools she runs will always look exactly the same, from their robotics labs to their chess rooms to their classrooms filled with wooden blocks. There's just one significant difference at Upper West Success Academy, which opened this year on Manhattan's Upper West Side under a steady drumbeat of opposition from community members. “Our schools in Harlem and the Bronx are far less diverse,” Moskowitz said today, speaking to reporters on a tour of the first-year charter school. Enrollment at Upper West Success mirrors that of District 3, according to data provided by the school: The kindergarten and first grade student body is 35 percent white or Asian, 49 percent are black or Latino and 16 percent multiracial. About 40 percent qualify for free or reduced lunch. English language learners make up 5 percent of students and 12 percent of students receive special education services, officials said. The racial and socioeconomic diversity of students at Upper West provides a stark contrast to the student bodies at other school in the Success Network in Harlem, the South Bronx, and Bedford-Stuyvesant, neighborhoods that have high concentrations of poor black and Latino residents. Moskowitz is hoping the diversity will attract parents in District 15, a similarly diverse district, to enroll at her network's new school next year. Seated in a kindergarten-sized chair in an empty classroom today, Moskowitz told reporters that she has been giving tours of Upper West Success to hundreds of parents from Brooklyn's District 15.