When teachers signed on to work at Columbus Collegiate Academy, it was not housed in a building. Rather, its existence lay solely in the minds of those dedicated to its creation. It was that same dedication to progress and achievement that carried the staff and students through its inaugural school year. Despite encountering obstacles, Columbus Collegiate Academy (CCA) produced an array of amazing results by May 2009.
Many judge a school’s quality by their students' performance on the Ohio Achievement Tests (OAT). The first CCA student body began the school year with a 35% proficiency in reading and a 41% proficiency in math, according to their 5th grade OAT scores. After taking the 6th grade Ohio Achievement Test, students had improved their scores enough to increase school-wide proficiency to 74% in reading and 82% in math.
Further illustrating CCA’s student progress was their Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)
results. CCA administers the NWEA three times a year: in the fall, winter, and spring. According to CCA’s Annual Report, “CCA students improved more than would be expected in one school year as compared to students across the United
States in Reading, Language (writing), and Mathematics. While students performed exceptionally in all three areas, the math scores of our students were particularly impressive. CCA students entered the school year scoring more than 10 points below the average 6th grader in the United States. However, by the time our students took the math test in the spring, they had not only caught up with the typical 6th grader in the United States, they had passed by them altogether!”
The staff at CCA attributes these successes and progress to several factors. Co-Director John Dues says, “We have a four-week professional and curriculum development institute before the start of the year. This time goes a long way in allowing us to align our curriculum and instruction to what students will be expected to know and do on the Ohio Achievement Test at the end of the year.”
Founding Teacher and Math Procedures Instructor Abbey Kinson echoes this sentiment by adding, “We were able to make the kind of growth we did because the entire school staff is focused on doing what is best for the kids. Our administrators care about providing support to teachers in the right ways; they create effective systems and strategies that reward students for acting as good citizens and for excelling academically. The teachers are energetic and work long hours without complaint. They are also knowledgeable and excited about their subject areas.”
Students at CCA receive a 150 minutes of literacy instruction and a 100 minutes of math instruction each day.
The nearby Indianola Middle School
has similar student demographics, but struggled with student proficiency last year. According to the website GreatSchools
, only 29% of sixth grade students scored proficient in reading. 33% scored proficient in math. Education reform advocates point to scores like these to illustrate the continuing presence of an achievement gap between low-income and high-income students in public education in Ohio.
However, Founder and Co-Director Andrew Boy views CCA’s results as evidence that the achievement gap is indeed a solvable problem. “Our OAT results are a testament to the fact that every student – regardless of their background – can achieve academic success when great teachers provide a safe, structured environment with high expectations for all.”
For more info:
Visit CCA's website