Chavez Schools Soar in DC Charter School Ratings

School Quality Report scores increase at all four middle and high schools focused on college readiness and public policy; Chavez Parkside High School approaches Tier 1 status

Just-released ratings of the District of Columbia’s charter schools show across-the-board improvement at all four campuses of the Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy, fueled by growth in Chavez students’ 2018 PARCC scores that exceeded state averages two- to ten-fold.

Today (Oct. 31, 2018) the DC Public Charter School Board (PCSB) published its 2018 School Quality Reports, including ratings for DC charter schools. The report is the primary tool the PCSB uses to measure schools’ academic performance, factoring in:

● Student achievement, measured by students’ PARCC scores;
● Student progress, measured by how students’ growth on the PARCC exam compares to that of their peers;
● School environment, measured by student attendance, re-enrollment, and students who are on track with their credits; and
● Gateway, measured by graduation rates, PSAT and SAT performance, college acceptance, and AP/IB/and dual enrollment.

Compared to 2017, Chavez campuses increased their scores by more than six points, on average. The average improvement for charter schools citywide was less than 1 point.

Now in its 21st year preparing students for success in college through a unique program focused on public policy, the Chavez network is two years into a school improvement strategy led in partnership with the DC-based charter school support organization TenSquare. Chavez’s significant gains on the school quality metric are in line with TenSquare’s other K-12 partner schools, which averaged gains of 7 points.

Here’s a summary of performance highlights at Chavez’s four campuses:

Chavez Parkside High School, in Ward 7: 59.8, an increase of 7.6 points, putting Parkside High within 6 points of PCSB’s Tier 1, which comprises DC’s highest-performing charter schools. Parkside High’s growth was the fifth highest among high schools with school quality ratings.
Chavez Capitol Hill High School, in Ward 6: 50.4, an increase of 8.9 points, ranking it third in growth among high schools with School Quality Report ratings.
Chavez Prep, in Ward 1: 46.8, an increase of 6.5 points
Chavez Parkside Middle School, in Ward 7: 35.2, an increase of 2.2 points, moving the school back into PCSB’s Tier 2

Chavez Schools CEO Emily Silberstein said that a focus on individual student performance in the network’s schools, along with their family-like cultures, allow for a personalization that translated into performance.

“Chavez’s improvement strategy focuses intensely on identifying and meeting every scholar’s needs and providing the support necessary to bring them to the next level. We created ambitious targets and accompanying plans to raise student achievement on PARCC and increase attendance and re-enrollment. To meet our aim of every senior being accepted into college, we stressed the value of the SAT and PSAT, and we strengthened the tracking of on-track credits and graduation rates,” Silberstein said. “Ratings based on metrics like these are just one measure of a school, but they’re an important indicator of how well we are succeeding at our mission to prepare students to excel in college, careers and in life.”

At Chavez’s 20-year charter review last year, the PCSB imposed performance conditions on Chavez Prep and Capitol Hill High School. Both schools exceeded their performance conditions. PCSB voted at the same December 2017 meeting to gradually close Parkside Middle. Scholars’ spring 2018 PARCC performance translated into a school quality score high enough to place Parkside Middle in Tier 2 once again.

Across the Chavez network, scores on the PARCC exams administered last spring grew at rates far higher than the average for DC public schools overall. Chavez Prep and Parkside Middle School scored their highest English language arts and math scores in three years. Scholars at Parkside High School achieved their highest math scores in three years. Capitol Hill achieved proficiency rates equal to some of the district’s top charter high schools.

“These tremendous gains are a testament to the hard work of our scholars, the dedication and collaboration of our staff, the determination and leadership of our principals, and tailored support from our expert partners at TenSquare,” Chavez Board Co-Chair Andre Bhatia said.

Board Co-Chair Bethany Little added, “These scores show that Chavez is on a path of improvement, and our students inspire us to work even harder to be one of DC’s top charter school networks.”

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Chavez Schools’ mission is to prepare students to succeed in competitive colleges and to empower them to use public policy to create a more just, free, and equal world. Chavez Schools provides a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, a unique public policy program, and a safe and supportive learning environment with comprehensive support services. With campus locations in Capitol Hill, Columbia Heights, and Parkside communities, Chavez Schools currently serves nearly 1,000 students in grades 6-12.

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