The US Dept of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement just released a new publication providing information on best practices through portraits of seven charter schools that are closing the achievement gap. Cesar Chavez Academy in Pueblo is one of the seven schools featured in this publication.
The publication states:
for the 2007-08 school year, 347 new charter schools opened, representing an 8 percent increase over the previous year, and bringing the total number of charter schools to more than 4,100, serving over 1,200,000 students.
Because charter schools can more easily affect school climate and address individual student needs, it seems charters are more effective -- over time -- than school district-operated schools.
K-8 Charter Schools: Closing the Achievement Gap cites common factors among all the schools profiled:
1. The schools are mission-driven.
2. The schools have created a safe learning environment and a strong school culture, creating a uniquely focused community.
3. Charter school teachers see themselves teaching for mastery.
4. There is a high expectation that parents are partners with the school, and in some cases, parent involvement is formalized through contracts referred to as a "commitment to excellence."
5. As charter-governed institutions, the schools have the independence to make creative scheduling, curriculum and instruction decisions.
6. Charter schools hold themselves accountable.
7. The schools are able to attract and retain excellent teachers because the schools are committted to continuous internal professional development.