Ivy Prep Named A “Highest-Performing School”

November 1, 2012 9:01 am

by Buzz Brockway · 20 comments

Despite claims by charter amendment opponents that Ivy Preparatory Academy is a lousy school, the Georgia Department of Education listed among the State’s “Highest-Performing Schools.” According to the DoE website:

A “Highest-Performing School” is a Title I school among the 5% of Title I schools in the State that has the highest absolute performance over three years for the “all students” group on the statewide assessments. A Highest-Performing School must have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for the “all students” group and all of its subgroups in 2011. A school may not be classified as a Highest-Performing School if there are significant achievement gaps across subgroups that are not closing in the school.

The Gwinnett Daily Post has more on this:

Ivy Prep Academy Executive Director Nina Gilbert said faculty and staff of the charter school were “thrilled to be named as one of Georgia’s highest performing schools. Despite the challenges Ivy Prep has faced, our faculty, staff, scholars and parents remain focused on what’s most important … improving outcomes for the children who desperately need better public school options.”

Ivy Prep is an example of what a good charter school can do. The students who attend Ivy Prep came in large measure from struggling traditional public schools and are now performing better. It’s also an example of why amendment 1 needs to pass. Ivy Prep would not exist if the Charter Schools Commission had not approved it.

UPDATE: Kyle Wingfield says the Ivy Prep award shows just how wrong Rev. Lowery, Sen. Emanuel Jones and others are when they accuses amendment supports of pushing “re-segregation.”

This news ought to be of interest to Gwinnett voters, given that their school system has fought tooth and nail to prevent the state from having a process to approve charter schools in general, and Ivy Prep specifically. The Gwinnett system was one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that resulted in the old State Charter Schools Commission’s being declared unconstitutional, and about 20 percent of all the money donated to the anti-amendment campaign has come from administrators in the Gwinnett system alone.

But this news may be of particular interest to Lowery because Ivy Prep’s student body includes a much higher percentage of black students than the schools around it: 75 percent, compared to 46 percent for its nearest peer (Peachtree Elementary School) and 30 percent for Gwinnett’s entire public school system. (These and other data in this post come from the most recent Adequate Yearly Progress Reports available, those for the 2010-11 school year, on the Georgia Department of Education’s website.)

It may also be of interest to Lowery because black students at Ivy Prep were more likely to exceed state standards for both math (43 percent) and English/language arts (48 percent) than their peers at Peachtree Elementary (42 percent and 34 percent, respectively) or Gwinnett as a whole (36 percent and 38 percent, respectively).

Max Power November 1, 2012 at 9:17 am

Traditional school districts have repeatedly shown their incapable of producing system wide results. Abolish them, make every single public school a state chartered school and let a system of public school choice use market forces to improve results.

bowersville November 1, 2012 at 9:26 am

There are 79 schools listed as “Highest Performing Schools” on the DOE’s website. The vast majority are traditional public schools.

Charter Schools are part of the solution but they are not the only solution. I keep bringing up North Carolina schools for a reason. North Carolina is a purple State. A State where both sides of a political argument is heard and a compromise reached.

As an example: North Carolina had a political fight over the number of charter schools to be approved where an unlimited number of approvals won the day. But as a compromise North Carolina left the approval process with-in the Department of Education with annual over sight by the North Carolina General Assembly for each Charter School application turned down.

But what has Georgia done. Launched an all out war against public educators. Some where there is a compromise for better education but this Amendment isn’t it.

ryanhawk November 1, 2012 at 4:11 pm

An all out war against public educators? I don’t think so. Our teachers are better paid than teachers in any other southeastern state. And compare the changes in pay/benefits for teachers versus other state workers like prison guards or DFACS case workers. Many educators think they have it rough because they believe the propaganda about constant budget cuts.

Stefan November 2, 2012 at 12:10 pm

would charter school teacher salaries need to match traditional public school standards?

ryanhawk November 1, 2012 at 4:16 pm

And just to be clear, this is what an “all out war against public educators” looks like? http://www.nancyjester.com/georgiaspendingperstudent.aspx

If so, declare war on me and start sending the checks.

benevolus November 2, 2012 at 12:27 pm

So you take the most motivated students/parents out of a school and then say that their new school is outperforming the old school? Well d’uh.
What do we do now with the old schools, with a higher percentage of (presumably) lower performing students?
If those schools haven’t declined, I would think we owe a big thanks to the teachers and administrators there.

Keeping on this path without addressing the other side of this equation will lead to essentially a whole bunch of little prisons and day cares, where teaching anything isn’t really the goal, it’s just to keep the kids off the street for as many hours as possible. Well what happens when those kids don’t have to go to school anymore?

mpierce November 2, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Let’s assume you are correct:

With the charter:
Motivated students get a better chance to excel
Schools will have more resources per student to work with the less motivate students. Since the local funds don’t follow the student to the charter school, they will be divided amongst fewer students.

Without the charter:
Motivated student will continue to be stuck in classes which are held back by students who don’t care about their education.
We maintain the failed system we have.

benevolus November 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm

More money per student is a red herring in this case. The expenses of the school don’t go down one bit if they lose 5 or 10 students. The bottom line is they lose money and have the same expenses.

How about we select for advance placement classes so we can separate superior students but leave them in the school so they can be mentors and role models and interact with the other kids?

How about we add focus for trades instead of everybody on a college track?

How about we identify what the problem really is and address that instead of abandoning some kids? If the problem is parental involvement, how do we fix that? If the problem is not being allowed to qualify students for particular courses of study, how do we fix that?

Giving up and basically saying “We’re going to go do this. Y’all are on your own” isn’t the answer. When we see problems we are supposed to try to fix them, not run away from them.

John Konop November 2, 2012 at 4:08 pm

+100

mpierce November 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm

+100

Really? After all your complaining about CCA being TOO LARGE you fully support a post which starts with schools losing 5-10 students as its premise? Disingenuous to say the least.

mpierce November 2, 2012 at 6:24 pm

“The expenses of the school don’t go down one bit if they lose 5 or 10 students. The bottom line is they lose money and have the same expenses.”

Total BS. I don’t know of any charter schools with 5-10 students. A couple of charters with several hundred students each (CCA has 1000 students) can mitigate the need to build new infrastructure, hire new teachers, etc…

“How about we select for advance placement classes so we can separate superior students but leave them in the school so they can be mentors and role models and interact with the other kids?”

Don’t they already do that? Status quo doesn’t seem to work so well.

“How about we add focus for trades instead of everybody on a college track? “

All for it. I don’t see how this amendment precludes doing that as well. If anything it may encourage it. A charter school may be more likely to try that.

How about we identify what the problem really is

How many years has that been tried with no improvement?

and address that instead of abandoning some kids?

Who is being abandoned by this?

If the problem is parental involvement, how do we fix that?

Innovation, which is much more likely with state approved charters.

Giving up and basically saying “We’re going to go do this. Y’all are on your own” isn’t the answer. When we see problems we are supposed to try to fix them, not run away from them.

Who is giving up? This is one solution to help many and we will need more solutions to help others. This amendment does not preclude other solutions; it allows more flexibility to create them.

benevolus November 2, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I am assuming a new charter school isn’t going to get all it’s students fom one school. It would draw several students from multiple schools.

mpierce November 2, 2012 at 9:21 pm

I am assuming the traditional schools have the ability to adjust their school attendance zones when they build a new school and don’t take all of their students from one school either.

benevolus November 2, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Not sure what that has to do with the issue at hand, but…
I assume when a new traditional school is built it is in response to more students than current facilities can handle.

mpierce November 2, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Correct and charter schools can mitigate that as well. So your rational for that a savings don’t count because charters take students from multiple schools is bogus.

benevolus November 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Are you responding to me? Because it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the point.

mpierce November 3, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Yes.

You:
“I am assuming a new charter school isn’t going to get all it’s students fom one school. It would draw several students from multiple schools.” “The expenses of the school don’t go down one bit if they lose 5 or 10 students.”

Most school districts are growing and spending money on new infrastructure to support that expansion. New state charter schools can mitigate some of that need. Since they are not using local education dollars for the state charter, there are additional funds available for the students that remain in traditional schools.

benevolus November 3, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I’m just trying to think this through…
You are saying that charter school applicants should apply by saying that approving a charter would… What.. Delay or eliminate having to build a new public school? That a new charter school would be less expensive than a new public school? So it’s a money saving proposal, not an improved performance proposal?

mpierce November 3, 2012 at 10:10 pm

I have made no comments on what charters should or should not put on their applications.

State charter schools are less expensive than traditional schools. Just look at their funding.

Money saving or improved performance? They do both.

John Konop November 4, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Not true when you compare services offered by public schools.

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