In 1998, a student teacher struggled to teach the book Johnny Tremain in a middle school classroom where most of the kids were reading three years below grade level. Her mentor teacher suggested she show them the movie. Instead, she founded her own school.
From that single excellent public charter school, Amistad Academy, our Achievement First network was born. Since the beginning, we have always known that gaps in academic performance that fall along racial and socioeconomic lines are caused by gaps in access and opportunity. And we know that every child deserves the great education they need to succeed.
When Amistad Academy opened in 1999, it served 84 New Haven fifth and sixth graders. Today, we serve 14,000 students in 37 schools in five communities across Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island. All of our students come to us through blind lottery, and the majority are Black, Latino, and children from low-income families who will be the first in their families to graduate from college. Our students are proving that amazing things happen when potential meets opportunity.