Monday, August 19, 2013

Let's Compare...

Earlier this year, Research for Action conducted a report comparing public charter schools to traditional public schools in North Philadelphia.  The report compared the schools of ASPIRA of PA, Esperanza, and Congreso to comparable schools in the area.  They found that our community’s charter schools are performing exceptionally well and, in most cases, higher than the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) average.  

Some highlights of the research findings include:
  • All ASPIRA of PA schools have higher averages of English Language Learners (ELL)and special education (SPED) students than the SDP average.
  • Both Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School (Hostos) and Antonia Pantoja Charter School (Pantoja) students outperformed the SDP average of non-charter schools and the average of all surrounding traditional schools in both math and reading proficiency.
  • Hostos and Pantoja also had the highest attendance rates of the 4 comparison schools used in the study.
  • ASPIRA Bilingual Cyber Charter School (Cyber) outperformed 2 of its comparison schools.
  • John B. Stetson Charter School (Stetson) had the highest PA Value Added Assessment System (PVAAS) scores, which show student growth, in both reading and math proficiency among all the comparison schools, even when having a 25-26% higher ELL and a 12-18% higher SPED population.
  • Stetson has increased academic proficiency by 35% in math and 12% in reading since ASPIRA of PA took over the school from the SDP in 2010.
  • Olney Charter High School (Olney) out-performed the area’s local public school by 24% in math and by 18% in reading.
  • Olney has increased academic proficiency by 16% in math and 12% in reading since ASPIRA of PA took over the school from the SDP in 2011.
Why are ASPIRA of PA charter schools performing so well?  Our success can be attributed to several factors, yet some of the most substantial include:
  • Excellent, safe learning environments.
  • High-quality, differentiated instruction thanks to rigorous educator professional development.
  • Dedicated leadership aligned with the ASPIRA of PA vision and mission.
  • High levels of parent and community involvement.
  • Cultural competence with dual-language instruction and communication within the schools.
  • High standards for food and nutrition.
  • Consistent quality improvement protocols for both instruction and school operations.
ASPIRA of PA continues to critically evaluate its performance and commits to ensuring constant improvement in its practices each year.  For more information, please visit