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).