Graduation Achievement Charter High School Graduation Rate Tops Among Similar Georgia High Schools

News Release

For Immediate Release

September 20, 2018

 

Contact: Monica Henson

Phone: (706) 299-9007

Email: monica.henson@gradgeorgia.com

 

Graduation Achievement Charter High School Graduation Rate Tops Among Similar Georgia High Schools

 

Atlanta, Georgia (September 20, 2018)— Graduation Achievement Charter High School (GACHS) 2018 four-year cohort graduation rate of 18.09% is the highest in Georgia among designated alternative schools and its closest comparator schools, including State Charter Schools Commission (SCSC) charter high schools that have been publicly praised by the SCSC as providing a better educational option than GACHS.

 

SCHOOL                                                           2018 4-Year Cohort Graduation Rate

Graduation Achievement Charter High School 18.09      
Elizabeth Andrews High School 17.71      
Performance Learning Center 15.83      
Phoenix High School 13.59      
Mountain Education Charter High School 13.09      
DeKalb Alternative School 12.5      
Crim High School 10.09      
Eastman Youth Development Campus 8.93      
Coastal Plains Charter High School-Candler 8.49  

 

   
Foothills Charter High School-Central/Madison 8.11      
Devereux Ackerman Academy 6.25      
Atlanta Youth Detention Center 5.41      
Skyview High School 5.05      
Augusta Youth Development Campus 5      
Atlanta Area School for the Deaf 4.17      
Sumter Youth Development Campus 2.33      
All RTC Schools 2.14      
KidsPeace 0      
Chattooga Academy 0      
Youth Villages at Inner Harbour 0      
Gwinnett Intervention Education (GIVE) Center East 0      
Gwinnett Intervention Education Center (GIVE) West 0      
Georgia Center 0      
Hillside Conant School 0      
APS-Forrest Hills Academy 0      

 

“We have said all along that the steady, incremental improvement produced by our school effectiveness work would yield meaningful progress,” said GACHS superintendent and chief executive officer Dr. Monica Henson. “This outcome disproves the State Charter Schools Commission’s assertion that schools like Foothills Charter School and Mountain Education Charter High School (MECHS) provide a superior education while GACHS was supposedly failing, and that district alternative schools outperform GACHS.” Henson went on to note that her statement in no way is disparaging the work of comparator schools. “It is important to note that neither Foothills nor MECHS is a designated Alternative High School [GACHS is]. They are good schools that do good work. But so is GACHS. This year’s CCRPI graduation rate news proves it.”

 

Henson noted that district school leaders “got it” regarding the public school alternative education option that GACHS provided. “We were promoted by the Georgia Hearing Officers Association and the Georgia Association of Educational Leaders to school districts as a partner. School systems began referring students to us before they dropped out of high school. We offered a public, nonprofit option to small school systems that previously may have relied on private, for-profit alternative education providers out desperation and lack of other options for serving small clusters of high-need, high-risk kids.”

 

The board of directors will release a summary report next week offering recommendations and policy implications of the closure of GACHS. “My hope is that the state legislature and the new governor and lieutenant governor, along with our state superintendent and state board of education, will take a hard look at what Georgia is doing—and not doing—for the tens of thousands of disconnected students of high school age in our state,” Henson remarked.

 

GACHS ended the academic year with 360 graduates [the chart provided only shows those students who graduated in the four-year cohort, not five- and six-year cohort graduates]. The district will close September 30, 2018.

 

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Graduation Achievement Charter High School Almost Triples 2018 Graduation Rate as Doors Are Set to Close

News Release

For Immediate Release

September 19, 2018

 

Contact: Monica Henson

Phone: (706) 299-9007

Email: monica.henson@gradgeorgia.com

 

Graduation Achievement Charter High School Almost Triples

2018 Graduation Rate as Doors Are Set to Close

 

Atlanta, Georgia (September 19, 2018)—After six years of successfully serving high-risk high school students throughout Georgia, culminating in a board decision to close the school due to the unwillingness of the State Charter Schools Commission (SCSC) to renew the charter, Graduation Achievement Charter High School (GACHS) has posted a 2018 four-year cohort graduation rate of 18.09%, almost three times its 2017 rate and nearly double its highest previous rate of 9.2% in 2014.

 

“This success is the result of three years of focused school improvement work led by our outstanding deputy superintendent, Gale Stein, and her academic leadership team, supported by a great school effectiveness coaching team from the Georgia Department of Education,” said GACHS superintendent and chief executive officer Dr. Monica Henson. “Meaningful school improvement is hard work that takes years. It’s not achieved when the numbers are gamed, but when teachers and administrators roll up their sleeves and get the instructional job done.”

 

Henson contrasted the work done at GACHS with tactics being used by some other Commission charter schools serving high school students. “We achieved this improvement without eliminating lower-performing grade levels or tinkering with enrollment policies, practices that are being encouraged by the SCSC to be implemented in schools that don’t outperform districts. We played on the same playing field as district public high schools, which don’t have the luxury of gaming the numbers by closing grade levels or entire high schools when their performance suffers.”

 

GACHS Board Chair Lt. Commander Herbert Jones (Ret.) praised the work of the GACHS academic team and noted that the board and administration upheld the mission of the school even when it hurt their standing with the authorizer: “We had an extraordinary academic team, and it shows. Our mission has never been to engage in a contest to say we are better than any other school system, but to save the economic lives of kids with few or no other options.”

 

Year 4-year graduation rate (%)
2013 7.7
2014 9.2
2015 7.6
2016 6.1
2017 6.7
2018 18.09

 

A final report by Momentum Strategy & Research summarizing the impact of the school’s work over six years, as well as the consequences already arising due to its closure, has been commissioned by the board of directors and will be released to the public before the nonprofit charter corporation is dissolved. Momentum is a Colorado based non-profit organization committed to helping schools, school districts, charter school authorizers, and state departments of education to get accountability right. The nonprofit specializes in working with schools that are “not validly and/or reliably measured by traditional academic measures of accountability,” according to its LinkedIn profile.

GACHS ended the academic year with 360 graduates. The executive leadership of the charter school is in the final days of closing out the financial and operational work of the district. The district will cease to exist on September 30.

 

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