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Achievement First Overview

Headquarters New Haven, CT
Size 1001 to 5000 Employees
Founded 2005
Type School / School District
Industry Education
Revenue $1 to $5 million (USD) per year
Achievement First is a growing network of non-profit, high-performing, college-preparatory, K to 12 public charter schools in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island. Achievement First was established in 2003 by the founders of Amistad Academy, a nationally acclaimed public ... More

Mission: The mission of Achievement First is to deliver on the promise of equal educational opportunity for all of America's children. We believe that all children, regardless of race or economic status, can succeed if they have access to a great education. Achievement First schools ... More

Company Updates

  • AF works to foster a vibrant and welcoming community that celebrates all of the unique strengths and experiences of our “Team & Family” members. For Elm City College Prep Elementary Director of School Operations Shirley Harrell, our focus on “Diversity & Inclusiveness” is especially important because it helps give voice to people who might not be heard otherwise. http://glassdoor.com/slink.htm?key=vIKJS

Achievement First Video

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Achievement First – Why Work For Us?


In 1998, a group of New Haven founders came together with a clear goal in mind: to prove that urban students can achieve at the same high levels as their affluent suburban counterparts. Confronted by the popular attitude that demographics were destiny, we decided that the best way to address the problem was to change the system.

We set out to create a public charter school—Amistad Academy—that would enable its students to achieve at high levels. Over the last 10 years, Amistad Academy has produced Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) results that have shattered the notion that "those kids can't learn." For the past seven years, Amistad Academy students—100 percent of whom are selected by blind lottery, 78 percent of whom receive free and reduced lunch and 98 percent of whom are African American or Hispanic—have beat state averages in reading and math, demonstrating that they can achieve on par with their wealthiest peers statewide.

In June 2003, we created a separate 501(c)3 non-profit, Achievement First, with the goal of using Amistad Academy's knowledge and best practices to have a greater impact. We opened the second school, Elm City College Preparatory, in 2004 and expanded the model to include elementary grades.

In fall 2005, under the leadership of New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, Achievement First expanded into Brooklyn. One of Klein's core reform strategies was to locate high-performing public charter schools in New York's lowest-performing districts. Achievement First opened two new schools in central Brooklyn—Achievement First Crown Heights Charter School and Achievement First East New York Charter School.

The Brooklyn network continued to grow in 2006 with the opening of Achievement First Bushwick Charter School and Achievement First Endeavor Charter School, followed in 2008 by Achievement First Brownsville. Thanks to changes in Connecticut charter law, we were also able to open Amistad Academy High School and Amistad Academy Elementary School, paving the way for Connecticut's first K to 12 public charter school. Achievement First's Connecticut network was able to expand into Bridgeport with a new middle school in 2007 and, in 2008, into Hartford with new elementary and middle schools. Our first Rhode Island school, Achievement First Providence Mayoral Academy Elementary, opened in August 2013.

Achievement First has grown into a network that includes 29 schools in five cities. In 1999, Amistad Academy opened with 84 fifth and sixth graders. Now, in the 2014-15 school year, Achievement First is serving 9,500 students in grades K to 12.

Greenfield Schools

Greenfield is a new school model designed to help develop the best prepared students in the world. Achievement First’s Greenfield schools will provide rigorous, high-quality instruction within a nurturing school community focused on developing self-motivated learners, problem-solvers and leaders. Students will benefit from more small group learning, greater access to technology, deep and meaningful enrichment opportunities (such as music, martial arts & STEM inventions), and extended field trips that allow students to go deeper in an area of interest and experience hands-on learning in more authentic and engaging ways.  

Achievement First Greenfield from Achievement First on Vimeo.

Achievement First Reviews

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Achievement First Co-CEO and President and Co-CEO and Superintendent Dacia Toll and Doug McCurry
Dacia Toll and Doug McCurry
4 Ratings
  • Featured Review

    Helpful (1)

    A place to build your ed reform career

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Teacher, Elementary School in Brooklyn, NY
    Current Employee - Teacher, Elementary School in Brooklyn, NY
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Achievement First full-time (More than 3 years)


    I started at AF after several years teaching at a smaller charter school. The expectations for kids & as a result adults are very high. I grew more in my first year of teaching @ AF than all other years combined.


    We're trying to transform public school education and that takes a lot of work. You will *feel* unsuccessful at times, and it is important that you actively seek out support and perspective from colleagues and administration.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up this hard work & celebrate the small wins of teachers setting kids on the path to college.

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Achievement First Interviews

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    Accepted Offer
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    Difficult Interview


    I applied online. The process took 3 days. I interviewed at Achievement First.


    Long. Started off with an phone interview that lasted about one hour. The in person interview started off with a typical process with question and answer session. Then the next step was to interact in scenarios. Then they see how you will do by having you interact with some of the kids. The last step is taking a test.

    Interview Questions

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