ATLANTA, GA (July 18, 2012) – Results for the Spring 2012 Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT) released last week by the Georgia Department of Education show strong academic performance by Georgia’s “start-up” public charter schools. Academic gains were evident both in Metro Atlanta and in rural and coastal Georgia.
Many of the public charter schools posting high performance either are, or were, state-approved charter schools.
Start-up charter schools are community led, self governing, autonomous public schools providing parents with K-12 options beyond their zoned public schools.
“Public charter schools serve students in 179 out of Georgia’s 180 school districts, when virtual charter school students are included. The latest CRCT results demonstrate that Georgia’s charter schools are living up to the promises they made to their families and their authorizers. These innovative schools allow parents to have a public school option for their children when the traditional public school is not the best fit,” said Georgia Charter Schools Association CEO, Tony Roberts.
Savannah’s Oglethorpe Charter School posts best results ever
In Savannah, Georgia, Oglethorpe Charter School’s principal Kevin Wall, celebrated his middle school’s outstanding CRCT results.
“These are the highest scores in the 13 year history of our school,” Wall said.
The robust results for Oglethope’s upper 7th and 8th grades confirm the findings of a 2004 national study, Achievement in Charter Schools and Regular Public Schools in the United States: Understanding the Differences, by Harvard University economist Caroline Hoxby, which compared charter schools and their nearby traditional public schools. It showed that students who are enrolled in a charter school that has been in operation for 9 years or more, do better than students in traditional public schools.
Drew Charter School a standout in APS
In Atlanta, Charles R. Drew Charter School, which serves one of the most disadvantaged communities in Atlanta, posted exceptional results on the CRCT’s. Drew Charter School saw 99.0% of students meet or exceed standards in Reading, 12.4% higher than the district average. In Mathematics, 94.7% of students met or exceeded standards — an amazing 27.6% higher than the average in Atlanta Public Schools.
Big gains at Fulton Leadership Academy in South Fulton County
In South Fulton County, the all-boys Fulton Leadership Academy showed outstanding academic results in its second year of operation. The school out achieved the district and the state, with 97.2% and 92.9% of students meeting or exceeding standards in Reading and Math respectively. The Title 1 school serves economically disadvantaged young men in grades 6-12, with an emphasis on character building, team building, public speaking, work ethic and communications skills.
Rural charter schools out-achieve traditional district schools
At Lake Oconee Academy, a K-8 school serving Greene County, GA, 99.2% of students met or exceeded standards, a 2.1% increase over last year. In Math, 98.4% of students met or exceeded standards, a 2.8% increase over last year. Lake Oconee is a Title I school, where at least 40 % of students are eligible for free and reduced lunch.
In rural Edison, Georgia, Pataula Charter Academy, a startup school serving students from five economically disadvantaged counties in Southwest Georgia, saw 91.9% of their students meet or exceed standards on Reading, out achieving all district averages for the area. Results for the Math section were more impressive — 91.3% of Pataula students met or exceeded standards on the Math section of the CRCT, exceeding Baker, Clay, Calhoun, Early and Randolph county school district averages.
DeKalb startup charters excel
In DeKalb County, DeKalb PATH Academy, which serves a largely Hispanic student population, had 94.6% of students meet or exceed standards in Reading. In Math, PATH Academy students met or exceeded standards at 97%, a 6% increase from the previous year. The school is in its 10th year of operation. Both gains exceed the district.
Another high achieving school in DeKalb, the 2-year-old Museum School of Avondale Estates, achieved 100% in Reading two years in a row. Math scores showed 97.5% meeting or exceeding standards, a 7.5% increase over the previous year.
Aspen Kron, chairman of the board of The Museum School said, “Based on mean scale score, our 3rd grade students scored first of Georgia’s 1,265 public elementary schools in Science for the second year in a row. We are especially proud that 70-95% of Museum School students scored in the “Exceeds Expectations” category in all subjects and grade levels tested.
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The Georgia Charter Schools Association is the non-profit membership organization for Georgia’s public charter schools and petitioners. Its mission is to advance awareness of public charter schools, communicate charter school needs to state and local officials, support legislation to strengthen public charter schools in Georgia and build partnerships, collaborations and grassroots support for charter schools. GCSA also provides programs and services that advance student achievement, school accountability and professional learning for charter school leaders.
CRCT results for schools mentioned in this story can be reviewed here.
Search for schools by County or Name of School
DeKalb PATH Academy (DeKalb)
Drew Charter School (Atlanta Public Schools)
Fulton Leadership Academy (Fulton Leadership)
Lake Oconee Academy (Greene County)
Oglethorpe Charter School (Chatham County)
Pataula Charter Academy (Pataula Charter)