Last week the DC Public Charter School Board released the results of the 2018 Performance Management Framework charter school rankings and, as usual, there were fascinating findings. Let’s start with where the board does in announcing the scores, with the fact that there are more students than ever, estimated at 20,717 or 47.3 percent of all students enrolled in charter schools, that attend Tier 1 institutions. The number has gone up from 19,498, equating to 45.0 percent of pupils, the year before, and approximately 17,385 pupils, a proportion of 41.3 percent, that attended Tier 1 charters during the 2016-to-2017 school year. All of this is great news. The charter board also pointed out that nine schools have moved from Tier 2 to Tier 1 and that “nearly nine out of the ten public charter high schools either earned a Tier 1 rank or improved overall from the previous year.” This is another strong trend. Now let’s dive into the individual school results.
On the worrisome side, Breakthrough Montessori PCS, in its first PMF ranking, came in at 28.8 percent, which is a solid Tier 3. DC Scholars PCS dropped from 54.1 percent to 37.4 percent, which makes it a low Tier 2 facility. Eagle Academy PCS Congress Heights Campus, its primary location, dropped a staggering 26.2 percent, going from Tier 2 to Tier 3 at 34.2 percent. I know school leader Joe Smith and I’m sure that this number will not be allowed to stand for his young scholars in Anacostia.
National Collegiate Preparatory PCS is now a Tier 3 school for three years in a row, so look for this charter to be closed. Paul PCS Middle School went from 45.3 percent, a Tier 2 school, to 34 percent, now ranked at Tier 3. Sela PCS, which changed leadership this year, lost its Tier 1 status after two consecutive years to fall to 60.7 percent, a Tier 2 number. Summerset Preparatory Academy PCS is also at Tier 3 for three years in a row, so its future does not look promising. Finally, and surprisingly, Two Rivers PCS Young Campus came in at 51.4 percent, a Tier 2 ranking, from 73.6 percent or Tier 1 in 2017.
Now on to the good news. Achievement Prep PCS Walter Place Elementary, jumped out of Tier 3 status to Tier 2, improving from 32.3 percent to 46.6 percent. I cannot help recognizing AppleTree Early Learning PCS Columbia Heights Campus that scored an amazing 80.9 percent, Tier 1 territory, after being at 68.6 percent last year, which is still at the Tier 1 level. For the same charter management organization, the Southwest Campus grew from 58.8 percent in 2017, which equates to Tier 2, to 72.9 percent this year, which makes it a Tier 1. Bridges PCS left Tier 3 at 34.5 percent going to Tier 2 at 42.3 percent. Capital City PCHS improved to a Tier 1 83.6 percent from a Tier 1 65.3 percent last year. DC Prep PCS Benning Middle Campus joined the Tier 1 group at 68 percent after being at 59.1 percent or Tier 2 twelve months ago. Its Edgewood Elementary School was Tier 1 last year at 74.7 percent and now is at a bright 85.1 percent.
Friendship PCS Technology Preparatory High recorded a tremendous 77.9 percent at Tier 1 going from a Tier 2 54.5 percent in 2017. Its Woodridge International Middle changed from a Tier 2 54.5 percent to a Tier 1 74.7 percent or Tier 1. I count five out of 12 Friendship campuses being at Tier 1 with the remainder being at Tier 2. I wonder what founder Donald Hense says about the PMF now?
Harmony PCS said goodbye to Tier 3 at 30.8 percent in 2017 and landed in Tier 2 at 45.4 percent. Perry Street Preparatory PCS went up 9.1 points to a Tier 2 60.9 percent, and its PMF score has gone up three years in a row. Washington Latin PCS Upper School, the charter for which I was once board chair, increased its Tier 1 status to 93.4 percent. Washington Leadership Academy PCS, in the first year that it was ranked, scored at a Tier 1 84.8 percent, and finally, the National Alliance of Public Charter School’s Hall of Fame inductee Washington Yu Ying PCS, came in at 93.8 percent, a Tier 1 score.
In all of these figures I also could not help noticing that the schools that are working with Josh Kern’s TenSquare Consulting Group all showed signs of improvement, including Cesar Chavez PCS whose Prep Middle School has received so much press due to its union activity. A TenSquare press release states, “After a full year of implementing TenSquare’s multi-year school improvement strategy, ratings for the charter support organization’s clients in the District Columbia have increased 7-9 points, and 15-20 points within two years. At TenSquare’s partner schools in DC, between one-half and three-quarters of students are at-risk, and 12%-20% receive special education services.”
I have only highlighted the significant changes in PMF scores here and I do not want to take away from the great work that many of our city’s charters are doing to educate our children. Here is the list a the top ranked charters. Please do yourself a big favor and get your day off to an excellent start by reviewing the outstanding standings of these schools.