Centennial Academy saw a more than 20-point increase from the previous year on the Georgia Department of Education’s 2017 College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI). The conversion charter school’s elementary students received an 82.7 and its middle school students scored 80.8. The school received an overall score of 82.3 – beating both the Atlanta Public School district and state averages.
“We are extremely pleased with the academic growth showcased during the 2016-2017 school year. Our progress is attributed to the intentional focus on the right work,” said Associate Head of School for Academic Affairs, Alison Shelton. “This focus requires dedicated teachers and enthusiastic learners who have one goal in mind: student growth.”
Centennial’s emphasis on growth over time is especially evident in the addition of its middle school, which has allowed the school to expand the academic growth pattern established during the elementary years at the school. Centennial middle school students have outperformed the district and the state in two of the last three years of its existence.
“Inspired by Jim Collins’ bestseller Good to Great, in 2013 Pat Basset, former Executive Director of the National Association of Independent schools, developed a list of 25 factors great independent schools have in common. Centennial Academy has been attending to several of those factors and really hitting the mark on the top factor on the list, which is to ‘Create and perpetuate an intentional culture shaped by the adults, rooted in universal values of honesty and caring, relentlessly oriented toward achievement’,” Head of School, Carol Santos, said. “So long as Centennial continues to organize itself and implement its professional routines around this key factor, its scholars will continue to experience the kind of success that has long defined the very best private schools in the nation; the kind of success that results in progressive student growth, which naturally leads to impressive CCRPI scores, as but one of many success markers a Centennial Academy education aims to achieve.”
Centennial Academy has an 80 percent Free and Reduced Lunch Rate. 87 percent of the school’s students are African-American. The school is also zoned for families who reside in three homeless shelters
International Community School
International Community School (ICS) was able to improve its 2017 CCRPI score by 14 points from the previous year through a school-wide focus on data driven instruction and differentiation in English Language Arts and math. The school also had consistent expectations for school culture.
Across the school, teachers consistently targeted student-learning needs that were highlighted in interim and classroom assessments. ICS’s School Within a School program also played a role in the achievement boost. The program pairs over 50 tutors in the community with students who are new to the country or struggling academically. Through the program, students receive one-on-one tutoring 1-2 times per week.
“I am proud of our staff’s focus on student achievement. Our teachers and teaching assistants work relentlessly to close the achievement gap and prepare our students for success in middle school and beyond,” said International Community School Principal Chad Velde-Cabrera (pictured with students on the left and above right). “Our unique model of education provides the conditions for our 440 students to be successful academically, socially, and emotionally.”
In addition to its focus on core academics, ICS provides students with a holistic education through after school programming and an additive schooling model. Students are encouraged to speak in their home language at school, and teachers use students’ home culture and prior knowledge to influence lesson and unit plans.
Ivy Preparatory Academy Kirkwood School for Girls
Ivy Preparatory Academy Kirkwood School for Girls made significant gains on the 2017 CCRPI. The school received an overall score of 84.1, which is a 33-point increase from last year’s CCRPI results. The school beat the state, DeKalb and Atlanta Public School District CCRPI scores.
The largest jump came at the elementary level. This year, the school’s elementary score was 84.6. That’s compared to 43.4, the elementary school score on last year’s CCRPI. The school’s middle school students scored 81.4, which was an increase of nearly 12 points from last year.
“We are super excited about the scores,” said Dr. Charcia Nichols, principal of IPA Kirkwood School for Girls (pictured below on the right). “The teachers, parents, and scholars trusted the process of intentional teaching and learning. We made gains because we worked hard and focused on what’s best for children. We made it so.”
“When I arrived in 2015, the picture looked grim to so many. We knew the potential of our scholars and that if we made the tough decisions that are in the best interest of our girls, we could turn the school around,” IPA Superintendent Alisha T. Morgan (pictured above on the left) said. “We overhauled our teacher hiring system, engaged stakeholders in selecting a high-performing principal, and we put a strong academic program in place…I am extremely proud of our scholars, teachers, and school leadership for their hard work and dedication.”
During the 2016-2017 school year, Ivy Prep overhauled the school’s entire curriculum and aligned it to state and national standards of academic excellence. The school’s classroom instruction is individualized, accelerated, and data-driven based on student performance. Students and teachers at the school attend frequent professional development sessions designed to improve the academic climate and promote community engagement.