To commemorate Black History Month, Education Post is featuring stories from parents, students and educators that connect past to present in the continued fight for better schools for Black communities using #MyBlackHistory.
Columbus Collegiate Academy in Columbus, Ohio is one of the city’s highest-performing middle schools. Its eighth graders achieve math and science proficiency at a rate that’s more than double what the district achieves. Meanwhile, its eighth-grade reading proficiency rate is 37 points higher than the district’s. It achieves this despite nearly all of its students being economically disadvantaged. However, impressive data only tell part of the story. Hearing directly from parents and students sheds much needed light on how life-changing a good charter school option can be. Consider the story of just one student, Farah, who in the video below shares how she felt unsupported and was “made fun of” at a past school. (Given that
1 in 5 students reports being bullied, we know Farah is not alone.) https://vimeo.com/200260482 Switching to Columbus Collegiate Academy gave Farah a sense of safety—arguably a prerequisite for learning given that we know
bullying increases a child’s risk of having poor sleep and facing anxiety, depression and other hardships. But Farah, like many students from similar backgrounds, was far behind academically. She admits, “I was ‘an all F's kid.’” Columbus Collegiate’s culture of high expectations, hard work and relentless commitment to the idea that
allchildren can and will learn helps Farah find a sense of self-efficacy and visualize a path to success. Take a look at
Farah’s inspiring story about the difference a good charter has made in her life. For more student perspectives, check out
Shyanne’s story, as well as profiles on
high-performing charter schools.
Jamie Davies O'Leary is a senior Ohio policy analyst for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. She previously served as chief communications and advocacy officer for the Ohio Council of Community Schools, one of Ohio’s longest standing and largest charter school authorizers. There she oversaw the delivery of communications to schools, governing boards, and the media, and managed the organization’s ...