New Hanover, Brunswick, Columbus — Last week, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) released End-of-Grade (EOG) testing results for the most recent 2015-2016 school year. EOGs are standardized tests taken in grades 3-8 by all public schools in the state to provide a system of uniform achievement measuring and comparison of all NC public schools, whether district or charter.
The Roger Bacon Academy, Inc. (RBA) is an educational management company serving four public and tuition-free charter schools in southeastern NC. RBA serves the family of public charter schools operated by the non-profit Charter Day School, Inc., which includes Charter Day School in Leland, South Brunswick Charter School in Bolivia, Douglass Academy in Wilmington, and Columbus Charter School in Whiteville. In sum, the network of four schools includes two campuses in Brunswick County, one campus in Columbus County, and one campus in New Hanover County.
Of note, EOG tests are aligned with state-mandated Common Core curriculum, which public charter schools are not required to use. Among other services, RBA provides client schools with a signature educational program that rejects Common Core and instead provides a classical curriculum delivered with the proven Direct Instruction teaching method. The following presents a summary of the network’s 2015-2016 EOG performance.
Charter Day School – Leland
Two of the top three elementary schools in Brunswick County are public charter schools managed by RBA. Charter Day School’s elementary campus and South Brunswick Charter School and joined the district’s Union Elementary School as the top three highest-scoring elementary schools in Brunswick County.
Charter Day School’s middle school campus provided Brunswick County’s highest-scoring middle school, by a margin of 10.5 percentage points.
State and Brunswick County EOG performance averages are 58.3% and 56.0%, respectively. Charter Day School’s performance average of 72.4% exceeds the state average by 14.1 percentage points and the county average by 16.4 percentage points. Charter Day School is a Title 1 school, which means that 40% or more of its students are economically disadvantaged. The school was one of three elementary schools in Brunswick County to earn a school performance grade of “B.”
South Brunswick Charter School – Bolivia
In its first year of EOG testing and second year of operation, South Brunswick Charter School was the second-highest scoring elementary school in Brunswick County. South Brunswick Charter School also achieved the highest EOG reading score of any elementary school in the county.
State and Brunswick County EOG performance averages are 58.3% and 56.0%, respectively. South Brunswick Charter School’s performance average of 74.1% exceeds the state average by 15.8 percentage points and the county average by 18 percentage points. South Brunswick Charter School is a Title 1 school, which means that 40% or more of its students are economically disadvantaged. The school was one of three elementary schools in Brunswick County to earn a school performance grade of “B.”
Douglass Academy – downtown Wilmington
In its second year of EOG testing and third year of operation, Douglass Academy significantly outscored the three chronically low-performing elementary schools it was established to address. The three elementary schools, Rachel Freeman, Snipes Academy, and Gregory, are neighboring schools that serve majority populations of economically disadvantaged and minority students. Similarly, Douglass Academy served 92% economically disadvantaged students and 96% minority students in 2015-2016. Douglass Academy was established in downtown Wilmington specifically to provide a successful tuition-free school for families in the area.
Douglass Academy’s performance average is 55%. For comparison, performance averages for the three neighboring elementary schools—Rachel Freeman, Snipes Academy, and Gregory—reveal that only 25.6%, 32.2%, and 28.9% of students passed their EOGs, respectively. Of note, of students who had attended Douglass Academy since Kindergarten, an astonishing 75% passed.
State and New Hanover County EOG performance averages are 58.3% and 64.4%, respectively. Douglass Academy’s performance average of 55% was slightly below the state average and below the county average. The school earned a school performance grade of “C.” Notably, Douglass Academy’s performance average exceeded neighboring, demographically-similar schools’ averages by a range of 23-29 percentage points.
Douglass Academy achieved the highest academic growth score of all schools in the RBA network.
Columbus Charter School – Whiteville
Columbus Charter School’s elementary campus achieved the highest academic growth score of all elementary schools in Columbus County. Overall, Columbus Charter School’s EOG performance average exceeded state, Columbus County, and Whiteville City, and Bladen County performance averages. The Whiteville City district is included in this comparison, as it is located within the same county as Columbus Charter School. The Bladen County district is included in this comparison, as Columbus Charter School serves significant populations of students residing in Bladen County.
The state performance average is 58.3%. The Columbus, Whiteville, and Bladen districts’ performance averages are 51%, 55.3%, and 42.8%, respectively. Columbus Charter School’s performance average is 59.2%, exceeding neighboring district averages by a range of 4-17 percentage points. Columbus Charter School is a Title 1 school, which means that 40% or more of its students are economically disadvantaged. The school earned a school performance grade of “C.”
The above demonstrates that the RBA’s family of public charter schools provides a high-quality educational alternative in public education. All public charter schools are tuition-free and accept any student who applies, regardless of address, income, or ability.
All RBA client schools provide a classical curriculum including the unique offerings of Latin, Cursive, and Grammar coursework in grades 4-8. The curriculum is delivered by the proven Direct Instruction teaching method that, among other things, ensures all students receive instruction at their individual achievement levels. This is accomplished through quarterly student promotion on a subject-by-subject basis. For example, a Kindergarten student who excels in reading could receive instruction on a first or second grade level.
RBA was founded by Baker Mitchell, a former university professor, engineer, and software entrepreneur who observed the Direct Instruction teaching method transform chronically-low performing schools in Houston, Texas.
“Upon surveying the transformation and success of formerly low-performing schools in Houston, I saw the power of combining a proven curriculum with the scientifically-tested Direct Instruction method. I brought this model to the Cape Fear area in 2000. That year, our first client school opened with 53 students. Now, our company provides this effective education to approximately 2,200 students,” Mitchell explained.
“Last month, the National Institute for Direct Instruction selected Charter Day School to receive its 2016 Wesley Becker Excellent School award for exemplary implementation of the Direct Instruction method, which we’re very proud of,” Mitchell added.
CDS parent, Shirley Stefanakis says of the educational program, “There is no curriculum that can even compare to what they’re doing, so we’re really thrilled for my middle school student. They focus a lot more on building up the basics in children and giving them a strong foundation, particularly in mathematics and subjects that have been lost, such as handwriting and composition. Math skills are superior here.”
The annual Open Enrollment period for the family of schools will run the month of January, 2017. For more information, please visit www.rogerbacon.net.