The U.S. Education Department profiles eight successful charter schools in a new report. The schools are: Houston’s Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) Academy; the BASIS School in Tucson, Ariz.; Gates Charter Language School in Lake Forest, Calif.; Oglethorpe Charter School in Savannah, Ga.; Arts and Technology Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.; School of Arts and Sciences Charter School in Tallahassee, Fla.; Roxbury Preparatory Charter School in Roxbury, Mass.; and Community of Peace Charter School in St. Paul, Minn.
Successful charters are driven by a shared mission, the report says.
A strong, clearly articulated purpose focuses the work, creates a pervasive positive spirit, and promotes consistent expectations from class to class. Teachers are deeply aware that they are creating change, both for their students and also within the larger public school system. At a mission-driven school, it is easier to focus on what will enable students to reach the school’s goals and objectives. A clear vision also makes it obvious when teachers are not in sync with the school program and empowers administrators and governing boards to hold the staff accountable.
As small schools of choice, charters create a strong sense of community.