Achievement First sets high standards for academics and character. It requires school uniforms and sees the state tests as the “floor, not ceiling” in the road to college readiness. Simple changes such as referring to kindergartners as “class of” and the year that they graduate from college help Achievement First promote a college ready culture. One method for achieving high results and meeting high expectations is by increasing the amount of time spent in the classroom. Achievement First students spend approximately two hours more per day in school than public school students, and attend a 15 day summer academy. T...
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...g 17 schools in four cities in two states. The organization’s goal is to produce college ready graduates from low-income, traditionally low-achieving urban districts. The schools use a model of closing the achievement gap by lengthening the school day, finding the best human capital, and using data to guide instruction, while building student character and modeling life-long learning behaviors for students. To this point, which is about seven years in to the Achievement First network’s operations, the schools have been successful at dramatically increasing test scores and having graduation rates much higher than the average. Achievement First’s biggest challenge, like many other CMOs, is scaling up and there are several parts involved in that, including teacher and leader development, budget concerns, and maintaining high achievement with an increased student base.
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