A+ Denver Report Gives More Evidence that Charter Franchises Are Getting It Done

Just a quick post today. More good news emerging from DPS today. Ed News Colorado highlights an intriguing new report from A+ Denver that breaks down some key performance data from the state’s second-largest school district:

This report shows that Charter Management Organizations (charter organizations that manage more than one school, currently DSST, West Denver Prep and KIPP) are not only outperforming district and other individual charter schools, but are having a significant impact on the district’s overall growth and achievement scores at grades six and above.

For those who have been following the success of the three charter school franchises (two of them completely home-grown) serving high-need students, this report is not terribly surprising. But it is good, encouraging news nonetheless. It especially gives a great deal of hope for the middle school years, in far too many cases a brutal academic wasteland that leaves many students almost irreversibly behind. For 6th through 8th graders DSST, West Denver Prep and KIPP are blowing the roof off traditional DPS schools and other charters.

The A+ Denver report raises some significant questions for future direction in DPS. Taken together with a couple of recent national studies, this report should help the knee jerk anti-charter crowd to withdraw and reassess for awhile. Bad charters are closing at a significant rate, while high-quality charters in Denver maintain their excellence as they grow. Meanwhile, across the board, charters at the elementary and middle school level continue to outperform their peers.

A well-deserved hurrah once again to the KIPPs, West Denver Preps, and DSSTs. What can be learned and implemented from these schools? Are we holding back too much? What are we waiting for?