St. HOPE Public School 7
The challenge: How to successfully narrow the achievement gap in African American student populations
St. Hope Public School 7 (PS7) opened its doors in Sacramento in 2003 as a charter public school in Sacramento, and is part of the St. HOPE Public Schools network, which operates three schools and serves 1,400 students from preschool through grade 12. The majority of the student body, 81%, is African American, and over 60% of the students are eligible for the Free and Reduced Priced Lunch program.
The achievement gap between African American students and their White and Asian peers in Sacramento's traditional public schools is significant, yet St. HOPE is changing the tide.
The solution: With a culture of high expectations, commitment, and parent participation, PS7 has consistently increased academic performance of students
By offering a rigorous academic program characterized by small classrooms, focused instruction with high expectations, an extended day, quality teachers, and required student uniforms, PS 7 is effectively educating African American students with methods are readily available, and that have been well documented in scholarly literature.
PS7 is a public charter school founded on five pillars:
- High Expectations
- Choice and Commitment
- More Time
- Focus on Results
- Power to Lead
The results: African American students outperform their public school counterparts
PS7's academic performance has increased substantially since its founding, particularly in recent years. Since 2007, its overall API score has increased by an impressive 168 points, with an average yearly gain of 56 points. The school's API score of 908 for African American students represents a three year increase of 159 points. In comparison, Sacramento City Unified School District schools only increased their African American API scores by 29 points over three years and ended 2010 with a score of 724. In the past two years alone, PS7's African American ELA proficiency has increased by 25% to a high of 72% in 2010, while its African American math proficiency has increased by 36% to a high of 86% in 2010.
In recognition of its remarkable success, PS7 was named a California Distinguished School in 2009-10. PS7 was recently named a top 10 performer among California charter schools in the University of Southern California's (USC's) annual School Performance Dashboard.
These results are highlighted in CCSA's Chartering and Choice as an Achievement Gap-Closing Reform: The Success of California Charter Schools in Promoting African American Achievement, which shows that, overall, charter schools in California are effectively accelerating the performance of African American public school students, and are earning higher Academic Performance Index (API) scores and proficiency rates statewide, in many urban districts and across all subjects when compared with traditional public schools. In addition, African American students are enrolling at higher rates in charter schools than traditional schools at all grade levels, in some cases at close to twice the rate, and are experiencing better outcomes.
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