Trenton Charter School Students Steam Ahead Through Pandemic

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Bellwether Education Partners, a national nonprofit focused on dramatically changing education and life outcomes for underserved children, has been assisting public districts across the country in implementing its Continuous Improvement (CI) model, which aims to understand the depth of unfinished learning during this pandemic year and respond in an “urgent, data-driven, and adaptive manner.”

One of those schools assisted by Bellwether is Achievers Early College Prep Charter School (AECP), a STEM-focused public charter school in Trenton that serves grades 6-12. Students there, almost all low-income and of color, can graduate high school with an associate’s degree and a clear career path. AECP explains, “students have 6 years to cultivate skills and experiences that lead to happiness, clarity, and an almost two-times lifetime earnings with our focus on STEAM sciences and careers.”

Here is Bellwether’s write-up of how AECP incorporated CI plans in “measurable goal-based data metrics within aligned, agile teams and coalitions focused on supporting seamless execution on behalf of students.”

Achievers Early College Prep Charter School built and implemented a new, data-informed intervention program to accelerate the academic growth of its most vulnerable students. The technical work of the CI Envision stage consisted of AECP setting a vision to create a data-driven intervention program that would provide the right content to the right students at the right time. AECP then established a clear goal to leverage its intervention program to have 80% of its highest-need students reach 1.75 to 2 years of academic growth, as measured by the NWEA MAP assessment. Finally, AECP built a progress monitoring system to look at grade level aligned daily exit tickets in intervention and core classes to measure the effectiveness of both prerequisite intervention content and grade level aligned content. On the adaptive side, AECP built a coalition by having a strong eighth grade teacher team pilot this approach in its first CI cycle, enabling teachers to better troubleshoot problems in real time and facilitate training for the sixth and seventh grade teams in future CI cycles.

In AECP’s words: “[This CI cycle] improved our reflection on our targeted areas for improvement. We have been more strategic on creating intervention goals and maintaining strong leadership initiatives throughout our pilot.”

Here is a chart of how Bellwether’s Continuous Improvement works:

 

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