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Part 1: Common Themes in Profiled Close-the-Gap Charter Secondary Schools
Each of the charter schools presented here is progressing toward its student academic achievement goals and each has promising practices to share. Yet, as a group, those involved with these schools—dedicated teachers, motivated leaders, hard-working students, and committed families and communities—share a continued sense of urgency, the prevailing attitude being, "We can do better every day." Together they are creating a learning environment where the "work hard to get smart" adage applies not just to students but to the entire school community.
Unlike most public schools, which tend to conform to some fairly traditional models, must follow district and state guidelines, and can find themselves mired in bureaucratic procedures, charter schools are, by definition, free to innovate. Each school profiled herein has certain characteristics that set it apart from the other seven (e.g., one operates as a boarding school, while another offers exclusively student-driven, project-based learning). Yet in their drive to close the achievement gap and ready students for success in college and other postsecondary endeavors, these eight charter schools have incorporated some common "best practice" elements—elements that would benefit any public school.
|Common Themes Among The Schools Profiled|
Driven by Mission
Focused on College Preparation
Teaching for Mastery
Wraparound Student Support
Valuing Professional Learning
Holding Themselves Accountable