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Driving Performance in Education

Posted September 28, 2010 2:50 PM by Ted Jackson

Uncommon Schools just announced its 2009-2010 education results. For those of you that do not know of Uncommon, they are a charter management organization that manages 24 schools with almost 5,000 students. Their schools operate in New York City, Newark, NJ, Boston, and upstate New York. They focus on creating a rigorous and joyful education environment, where the teachers can focus on teaching and most administrative functions are managed centrally. Like many charter organizations and public school reformers, they believe that all students can achieve, regardless of their background, race, or economic circumstances.

Uncommon compares their students' results with the state averages, but also with the results of white and non low-income students. Their students outperformed the state averages in math and English Language Arts in all the states where Uncommon operates.

In New York, they reversed the achievement gap. What does that mean? It means that their low-income students performed better than the white non low-income students. In New Jersey they out-performed white students in middle school in Math and ELA. (They primarily operate in middle schools there).

In Massachusetts, the Roxbury prep students exceeded the standards by wide margins and 100% of the 8th graders passed the Math and ELA exams. These results are really phenomenal, and as Evan Rudall, the CEO of Uncommon acknowledges, the success comes from the results of the entire organization having very high standards of excellence.

In watching Uncommon, one of the most exciting things to note is that they are performing across all of their schools while they are growing quite rapidly. Only 2 years ago, they were operating 11 schools, and now they have 24 schools. Not only does this require a huge effort to find the right teachers to meet their standards, but it also requires a lot of coordination to open schools and manage their operations. In some cases, they can get facilities that are school ready, and in other cases, they have to build a school from scratch. Uncommon is managing the coordination of all of their operational functions by using the Balanced Scorecard. They align performance measures across all functions along with teacher standards to produce scalable results. Uncommon is an inspiring organization if you are in the education world, and we look forward to hearing about their results as they grow.

It's great to see an Ascendant client have such great results! Their work is definitely proving that the charter model can scale -- and thereby raising the quality of education for all of our students, be they in public, private, parochial, or charter schools.
# Posted By Dylan Miyake | 9/28/10 2:58 PM
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