Roger Bacon Academy Archives - North Carolina Coalition for Charter Schools

It’s FASTAR® Championship Week at Classical Charter Schools of America

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For Classical Charter Schools of America, it’s FASTAR® Championship Week! FASTAR® is a fun academic competition assessing rapid recall of math and reading skills–with an obvious nod to NASCAR (can’t miss those checkered flags!). According to CCS-A, two of the four North Carolina schools have finished early FASTAR® competition already: CCS-Whiteville and CCS-Wilmington. CCS-Leland competes today, while CCS-Southport launches tomorrow. Competition culminates in next Wednesday’s “Race of Champions.”

Student winners receive trophies after qualifying races are over. Roger Bacon Academy, which partners with CCS-A, developed the clever competition, re-purposing the lingo of NASCAR into new roles for academic pit crews, crew chiefs, timing trials, and more. Watch a CCS-A video about FASTAR® here.

Here’s the update from CCS-A’s newsletter today:

CCS-America students competing in the annual FASTAR® (Fluent Academic Skills Tournament in Arithmetic and Reading) competition will race to the finish line this week, with the Race of Champions scheduled for next Wednesday, April 24th. CCS-Whiteville and CCS-Wilmington checkered-flag champions have completed their preliminaries after two exciting race days filled with close competition!

Congratulations to these Coalition member schools! We share pictures below from Classical Charter Schools-Whiteville and Classical Charter Schools-Wilmington.

Above and immediately below: Students from CCS-Whiteville at FASTAR 2024. Photo credit: Facebook, CCS-Whiteville.

Above and below: Students from CCS-Wilmington at FASTAR 2024. Photo credit: Facebook, CCS-Wilmington.

CCS-Leland Earns Top 20 Honors Nationwide on the Classic Learning Test

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A North Carolina public charter school has earned a berth among the “top 20” schools on a rigorous, nationally standardized test. Middle schoolers at Classical Charter Schools-Leland, a Coalition member school, earned scores on the Classic Learning Test (CLT 8) in 2023 that were higher than any other public school in the nation. All other schools ranked on the top 20 list were private schools that charge tuition. Congratulations, CCS-Leland!

The Roger Bacon Academy, the charter network behind CCS-Leland, attributes student success on CLT to the intensive–and longstanding–efforts of the school’s curriculum leaders:

CCS-Leland’s scoring in the elite Top Twenty is due to the twenty-five years of continual development by RBA’s Curriculum Department under Jessica Lopez, Dean of Classical Humanities, and Ali Cause-Nance, Dean of Math/Science, along with the coaches and teaching teams dedicated to educating the children of North Carolina.

Source: The Roger Bacon Academy, “Classic Learning Test (CLT) 8: What is it? How did we do?”

RBA has developed a table (above, and in a memo summarizing test scores) showing the ranking by location, school type, and tuition level. CCS-Leland is one of just three North Carolina schools on the list, and the only public school.

About the Classic Learning Test

CLT 8 is a diagnostic and summative assessment for 7th and 8th graders across the nation. Designed to evaluate high school readiness, CLT assesses student learning in several core areas: verbal reasoning; grammar and writing; and quantitative reasoning. The test incorporates robust, rigorous texts from classic literature. Think Virgil, Chaucer, and Tolkien, as examples of cited authors across CLT exams. View a CLT 8 practice test.

For college-bound high schoolers, CLT has gained traction as an alternative to the SAT or ACT. More than 250 colleges now accept CLT scores in lieu of SAT or ACT scores. Florida’s state university system approved CLT in 2023 as a college admission test. (Read more here.)

What’s CLT like? Education researcher Daniel Buck, writing in The Hill, sums it up:

Created in 2015, the CLT hopes to revive what we consider an education of old — logic, grammar, Shakespeare, Tolstoy. In format, it resembles its competitors, featuring passages with multiple choice questions. Yet students instead read the likes of Plato on tyrannical man or St. Teresa of Avila on the virtues of a humble life.

National Review Op-Ed: ‘Gap-buster’ Roger Bacon Academy

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Baker Mitchell, founder of the Roger Bacon Academy, has a new op-ed in National Review about RBA as a “gap-busting” charter network. The Roger Bacon Academy earned this national recognition in a new landmark study from Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO). The third of its kind, the CREDO study assessed nearly 2 million charter students over a period of four years, comparing them to matched students in district schools.

Read more about the CREDO study on the Coalition blog (here, here, and here).

The Roger Bacon Academy operates four classical charter schools–all of them Coalition member schools— in Southeastern North Carolina.

Here’s an excerpt from Baker Mitchell’s National Review op-ed:

[CREDO] researchers found that “in both reading and math charter schools provide students with stronger learning” than the traditional public schools they ordinarily would have attended. Among charters, those in group networks administered by charter-management organizations generally did best.

…While the overall results should be enough to shake up the education bureaucracy, “the real surprise of the study,” the researchers reported, was “the number of charter schools that . . . achieved educational equity for their students” — eliminating, for all practical purposes, the achievement gap between white students and “minority and poverty students.” They coined the term “gap busters” to describe such schools.

Charter-management-organization networks were credited with being “gap busters” if (1) the network’s average achievement percentages were above their state’s traditional school averages, and (2) the added days of learning above the traditional schools was as strong for disadvantaged students as for non-disadvantaged students. Of the 378 networks the researchers evaluated, the Roger Bacon Academy, I’m proud to say, was among the highest rated.

Congratulations to Baker Mitchell and Roger Bacon Academy!

Find a pdf of the op-ed here.

“Gap-busting” N.C. Charter Organizations Recognized in Landmark National Report

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Several North Carolina charter management organizations (CMOs) have earned recognition as “gap-busting” schools in a landmark national study comparing charter and traditional public school performance. Coalition members Roger Bacon Academy (RBA), National Heritage Academies, and KIPP Eastern North Carolina were among CMOs nationwide commended for their success in closing achievement gaps. The report was released by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO). Congratulations to these CMOs!

Criteria for inclusion as a “gap-buster” were rigorous, requiring high performance for schools overall as well as for subgroups of disadvantaged students. However, numerous charters are making the grade, as CREDO notes (p. 69):

We found hundreds of schools that satisfy dual criteria: (1) the average achievement of the school exceeds the state average, and (2) their disadvantaged students (Black, Hispanic, in-poverty, ELL) have growth as strong or stronger than their non- disadvantaged peers in the same school.

Significant achievement gains for charters, with CMOs leading performance

Overall, the CREDO study revealed significant achievement gains for students attending public charter schools. Researchers reported learning outcomes in terms of days of learning–gained or lost, across the academic year. Compared to traditional public schools, charter schools advanced the learning of their students by an average of 16 days in reading and 6 days in math.

Charter schools were particularly effective in producing learning gains for disadvantaged students, CREDO found. However, charters run by CMOs produced even bigger gains than stand-alone charter schools–27 days in reading and 23 days in math.

Policy implications from the report

The success of gap-busting schools has big and exciting implications for education, as CREDO’s researchers write (p. 151):

The real surprise of the study is the number of charter schools that have achieved educational equity for their students: we call them “gap-busting” schools. Ensuring equivalent yearly growth across student groups has two critical consequences. First, ensuring minority and poverty students learn on par with or better than their White peers interrupts or reduces the achievement gap. It happens regularly in a large swath of charter schools. More critically, there is strong evidence that these gap-busting schools can be scaled. Added to the traditional district schools that achieve similar results, this is the life-transforming education that so many students need. Second, these schools deliver hundreds of independent proof points that learning gaps between student groups are not structural or inevitable; better results are possible.

Find detailed information about CMOs in the report appendix, which begins on page 122. Specific information can be found for KIPP ENC (p. 129), National Heritage Academies (p. 130), and Roger Bacon Academy (p.132).