7 Charter Schools Committed To Helping Students Achieve

Choosing where to send your kids to school can be a tough decision, especially with the constraints under which many public school educators are forced to operate. These charter schools are looking to create different types of educational models and learning environments in order to find the best ways to help kids succeed in their education and in life. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

7 Innovative American Charter Schools

Name Location
Thurgood Marshall Academy Washington, D.C.
Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts Bethlehem, PA
Our World Neighborhood Charter Schools Astoria & Howard Beach, NY
Boston Collegiate Charter School Dorchester, MA
Aspire Public Schools Memphis, TN and throughout California
STRIVE Prep Denver, CO
Ascend Public Charter Schools Brooklyn, NY

Pathways 2 Power at Thurgood Marshall Academy

High School Graduation Rates By State

As of the 2016-17 school year, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics

State Graduation Rate State Graduation Rate
Alabama 89.3% Montana 85.8%
Alaska 78.2% Nebraska 89.1%
Arizona 78.0% Nevada 80.9%
Arkansas 88.0% New Hampshire 88.9%
California 82.7% New Jersey 90.5%
Colorado 79.1% New Mexico 71.1%
Connecticut 87.9% New York 81.8%
Delaware 86.9% North Carolina 86.6%
Florida 82.3% North Dakota 87.2%
Georgia 80.6% Ohio 84.2%
Hawaii 82.7% Oklahoma 82.6%
Idaho 79.7% Oregon 76.7%
Illinois 87.0% Pennsylvania 86.6%
Indiana 83.8% Rhode Island 84.1%
Iowa 91.0% South Carolina 83.6%
Kansas 86.5% South Dakota 83.7%
Kentucky 89.7% Tennessee 89.8%
Louisiana 78.1% Texas 89.7%
Maine 86.9% Utah 86.0%
Maryland 87.7% Vermont 89.1%
Massachusetts 88.3% Virginia 86.9%
Michigan 80.2% Washington 79.4%
Minnesota 82.7% West Virginia 89.4%
Mississippi 83.0% Wisconsin 88.6%

Boston Collegiate Charter School and the MCAS

In Depth

Charter schools are often a topic of fierce debate, but behind the political arguments are quality educators making a real impact on the lives of the children they teach. In no particular order, here are some examples of schools on the frontlines of educational innovation in service of the communities that need it most.

Coming in at #1 is Thurgood Marshall Academy, a public charter high school located in Washington D.C.'s Anacostia neighborhood in Ward 8 that is dedicated to preparing students for college. The school was founded in 2001 by Georgetown University Law Center students and their professors as a non-selective high school that is open to all students. It focuses on not only academic advancement, but community development as well.

To set them up for success, 9th and 10th grade students are given access to a summer prep program that gets them ready for the rigors they will face by attending Thurgood Marshall Academy. In acknowledgement of pervasive academic deficits in the public school system, students receive twice as much English and math instruction as they would elsewhere. Legal principles are a part of the curriculum, while annual assessments foster accountability.

To set them up for success, 9th and 10th grade students are given access to a summer prep program that gets them ready for the rigors they will face by attending Thurgood Marshall Academy.

At #2 is Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts. Founded in 2003 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the school provides a distinctive environment that embraces a creative academic approach to learning while focusing heavily on the development of artistic talent. Their mission is to offer an integrative educational experience that fosters confidence while encouraging excellence.

The curriculum at Charter Arts is designed for rigorous college preparation with advanced placement courses available for English, math, American history, science, art history, music theory, and Spanish. In addition to more traditional academic instruction, students partake in a comprehensive Artistic Arts program for three hours every day, with classes on visual arts, dance, theater, vocal and instrumental music, and more.

Coming in at #3 is Our World Neighborhood Charter Schools. Located in New York and comprised of two elementary schools and a middle school, this system focuses on providing educational opportunities for children in underserved communities. Part of the Our World Neighborhood mission is creating socio-economically and culturally diverse schools that encourage independent thinking and develop lifelong learners.

Located in New York and comprised of two elementary schools and a middle school, this system focuses on providing educational opportunities for children in underserved communities.

These schools provide a rigorous, technology-driven liberal arts education in an effort to prepare students for the challenges they will face in high school. The education model is child-centered and based on cooperative, active learning and parent involvement. Students begin studying Spanish in Kindergarten, and are provided with integrated studies in world culture, history, arts, and music.

At #4 is Boston Collegiate Charter School. Boasting a 100% college acceptance rate since their first graduating class in 2004, the primary focus of the school is preparing students for college through a challenging curriculum and compassionate support. As a result, data shows Boston Collegiate graduates completing four-year degrees at a rate four times the national average in 2019.

The approach used is to involve students in planning their collegiate preparation in order to align with their passions and interests. This planning revolves around core values of scholarship, belonging, passion, responsibility, and integrity. As early as 5th and 6th grade, students participate in field trips to local universities, career exploration events, and internship programs in an effort to sharpen focus, while dynamic instruction helps them work towards their goals.

This planning revolves around core values of scholarship, belonging, passion, responsibility, and integrity.

Clocking in at #5 is Aspire Public Schools. This charter school management organization was launched by longtime public school educator Don Shalvey and Netflix founder Reed Hastings in 1998. The goal of the organization was to open and operate small, high-quality, college prep charter schools in low-income neighborhoods. It now runs 40 community-based schools serving more than 17,000 students across California and Tennessee.

Aspire Public Schools aim to increase the academic performance of underserved students, cultivate effective educators, and share resources related to effective practices with other educators in an effort to catalyze change. Their core values include purposefulness, collaboration, ownership, customer service, and quality. This approach has yielded numerous accolades for their schools at every level.

At #6 is Strive Preparatory Schools. Launched in 2006 by Chris Gibbons in Denver, this community of schools was founded in the belief that every child, no matter where they reside, deserves a high-quality education. The idea was that children could be armed with the knowledge and skills necessary to improve the world around them.

The idea was that children could be armed with the knowledge and skills necessary to improve the world around them.

Strive Prep has schools throughout the Denver area today, where students are offered a rigorous academic program, robust extracurriculars, and athletic opportunities that are focused on growth. They are especially focused on providing services to those with disabilities, winning a $1.4 million grant in 2020 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to advance co-teaching practices.

Wrapping up the list at #7 is Ascend Public Charter Schools. Serving more than 5,500 students in 15 schools across Brooklyn, Ascend opened the doors to its first school in 2008 and grew from there. The organization's aim is to develop a scalable solution to the underachievement of economically disadvantaged children.

Ascend schools seek to equip students with the knowledge, character, and confidence needed to succeed in college and in facing every challenge that comes after. A rich liberal arts education and supportive learning environment serve to animate children's innate curiosity and prepare them to think for themselves, yielding informed, responsible citizens.