South Ridge High School in Phoenix was recognized on Tuesday, March 22 as one of the city's top 10 schools with the smallest achievement gap. South Ridge High School educates more than 440 students, nearly all of whom are from low-income families.
The report finds that South Ridge is among the most equitable schools in Phoenix. Serving a population where the majority of students are from low-income families, South Ridge High School has effectively closed the achievement gap.
The Education Equality Index is the first national comparative measure of the achievement gap at the school, city and state levels, and identifies the regions where children from low-income communities are most likely to attend schools usually only available to their more advantaged peers. Funded by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and developed in partnership by the foundation, Education Cities and GreatSchools, the EEI features school, city and state-level data covering the nation's 101 biggest cities in 36 states.
"Every child deserves an equal chance at success in school and life," said South Ridge School Leader Dr. Melissa Rivers. "We're proud of the work being done here at South Ridge by faculty, staff, students, and their families. Our goal is to give all of our students an opportunity to achieve, and we hope other schools can learn from our success."
See the full press release below:
Achievement Gap in Arizona One of the Smallest in the Nation
The Education Equality Index Shows Major Arizona Cities Among the Most Equitable in the U.S.
PHOENIX — According to the Education Equality Index (EEI), a first-of-its-kind tool released today, students from low-income communities in Arizona have more access to schools that are helping them achieve at similar levels as their more advantaged peers than students in Colorado, California and Nevada.
Notably, Phoenix’s achievement gap is smaller than nearly 75 percent of major U.S. cities. Nearly 30 percent of all students from low-income families in the city attend a school that has successfully closed the achievement gap.
“Every child deserves an equal opportunity to learn and succeed — here in Arizona and across the country,” said A for Arizona Executive Director Lisa Graham Keegan. “This new data highlights the leaders who are creating a more equal playing field for low-income students in Arizona. These schools are growing and inspiring others, and we look forward to being able to offer all students access to great schools and a quality education.”
The Education Equality Index is the first national comparative measure of the achievement gap at the school, city and state levels, and identifies the regions where children from low-income communities are most likely to attend schools usually only available to their more advantaged peers. Funded by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and developed in partnership by the foundation, Education Cities and GreatSchools, the EEI features school, city and state-level data covering the nation’s 101 biggest cities in 36 states.
The Education Equality Index also identifies up to 10 schools in each city with small or nonexistent achievement gaps that serve a student population where the majority are from low-income families.
Recognized as one of 10 schools in Phoenix with the smallest achievement gap, South Ridge High School serves more than 440 students, nearly all of whom are from low-income families.
“Every child deserves an equal chance at success in school and life,” said South Ridge School Leader Dr. Melissa Rivers. “We’re proud of the work being done here at South Ridge by faculty, staff, students and their families. Our goal is to give all of our students an opportunity to achieve and we hope other schools can learn from our success.”
Key findings from the EEI include:
Notably, the 10 most equitable schools in Phoenix that serve a student population where the majority of students are from low-income families all have nonexistent achievement gaps. They are:
Note: A list of the top schools from other Arizona cities is available at educationequalityindex.org/arizona.
As detailed in the EEI, there are hundreds of schools across the nation where low-income students are achieving at levels that match or even exceed their more advantaged peers — proving that all children can excel in school when given the opportunity.
“Equality of opportunity is an American ideal,” said Ethan Gray, founder and CEO of Education Cities. “The Education Equality Index shows that while we, as a nation, have a long way to go to ensure our most vulnerable children have the opportunities they need to thrive, there are schools in almost every city proving that equality is possible.”
This is the first in a series of releases intended to identify the practices that are closing the achievement gap at the quickest pace. To see more data from the Education Equality Index and use the interactive online tool, visit www.educationequalityindex.org.
About Education Cities
Education Cities is a non-profit organization that convenes, advises, and supports a network of cities in their efforts to increase the number of great public schools. Learn more at www.education-cities.org.
Founded in 1998, GreatSchools is a national, nonpartisan nonprofit helping millions of parents find high-quality schools, support great learning, and guide their kids to great futures. GreatSchools offers thousands of articles, videos, and worksheets to help parents support their children’s learning. Last year, GreatSchools had more than 56 million unique visitors, including more than half of all U.S. families with school-age children. Headquartered in Oakland, California, GreatSchools partners with cities and states across the country to promote access to school quality data to families, particularly those in high need. Through its GreatKids program, GreatSchools promotes parenting for education success and teacher-parent collaboration.
About the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of children living in urban poverty around the world. Headquartered in Austin, TX with satellite offices in New Delhi, India and Cape Town, South Africa, the Dell family foundation funds programs that foster high-quality public education and childhood wellness, and improve the economic stability of families living in poverty. The foundation has committed more than $1.2 billion to global children's issues and community initiatives to date. Learn more at www.msdf.org.
Three students from Joy Preparatory Academy in Detroit, MI, were named local winners in the 47th annual America & Me essay contest, sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance.
It was a clean sweep as Kevin Burgess, Jaila Williams and Aujuana Swann, came in first, second and third, respectively. All three students will receive award certificates for their achievement. Several thousand eighth grade students from all over the State of Michigan participated in the contest, entitled "My Personal Michigan Hero." The essay contest, which started in 1968, encourages Michigan students to explore the greatness of America and its people.
Kevin's essay will now advance to the state level competition, from which the top ten essays will be chosen. We wish Kevin and Joy Prep the best of luck.
THE LEONA GROUP MIDWEST SPELLING BEE COMPETITION
83 students from 14 Michigan and Ohio schools competed in the Midwest Spelling Bee
TOLEDO, Ohio— On Friday, March 11, 83 Michigan and Ohio students from 14 Leona Group schools competed in the Sixth Annual Leona Group Midwest Spelling Bee at Discovery Academy in Toledo. All Midwest Leona schools were eligible to participate and contestants range from grades 3 through 8. Students qualify to participate in the Bee by winning their school-level spelling bees. The school team who collectively spells the most words correctly wins the team award. Individuals who come in first and second place received prizes.
The 3rd-5th grade division champions:
1st place school: Cesar Chavez Academy Upper Elementary
2nd place tie: Academy for Business & Technology Elementary/Hope of Detroit Academy
3rd place tie: Francis Reh Public School Academy/George Crockett Academy
Top 10 finalists in grades 3-5:
The 6-8th grade division champions:
1st place school: Highland Park Renaissance Academy
2nd place tie: Cesar Chavez Academy Middle School/ Joy Preparatory Academy
3rd place: Hope of Detroit Academy
Top 10 finalists in grades 6-8:
The first place individual spellers each received Google Chromebooks, medals and trophies. The second place winners received Amazon Kindle HDs and medals. The four members on each of the winning teams received Acer tablets, medals and a team trophy for their school.
Participating schools included:
The sponsors who made the 2016 Midwest Leona Group Spelling Bee possible include:
Pictured in photo 1 (left to right): Cesar Chavez Academy Upper Elementary winning team: Daniel Ortega, Mirando Alonso, Ingrid Hernandez and second place winner from Hope of Detroit: Diego Hernandez
Pictured in photo 2 (left to right): Highland Park Renaissance Academy winning team; Taylor Carter, Madison Craft, Chyra Parker and Khrystian Irvin.
Pictured in photo 3: Ingrid Hernandez of Cesar Chavez Academy Upper Elementary, first place winner of the 3rd-5th grade division
Pictured in photo 4: Diego Hernandez of Hope of Detroit Academy, second place winner of the 3rd-5th grade division
Pictured in photo 5: Madison Craft of Highland Park Renaissance Academy, first place winner of the 6th-8th grade division
Pictured in photo 6: Oluwaseyi Akiintoroye of Joy Preparatory Academy, second place winner of the 6th-8th grade competition
As you may know, 15 of our schools went before the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools today for a 20 year charter renewal. I am proud to share with you that all 15 schools were approved and have received a 20 year charter extension. This is a huge milestone for The Leona Group! It is yet another indicator of our bright future and it highlights the incredible opportunity we have to continue giving hope to and changing the lives of thousands more students across Arizona. This accomplishment is the direct result of years of hard work, passion and a steadfast commitment to our mission. It is the direct result of every member of our TLG family rowing in the same direction to achieve great things for kids.
Although it goes without saying, a special thank you to Dr. Coats whose opening remarks this morning reminded us all of why we are LEONA and why our schools are so critical to the communities, families and students we serve. It was a proud moment to have the ASBCS board members and staff hear from Dr. Coats and our school leaders. The conviction that underlies all that we do was on bold display today. Congratulations and thank you to all of the leaders and school-based leadership teams who scored 20 year charter extensions for Team Leona! They are:
Crestview College Preparatory High School, Kristin Schaefer
Desert Hills High School, Greg Garland
Estrella High School, J.D. Corey
Peoria Accelerated High School, Amanda Bachler & Marcus Englund
West Phoenix High School, Alex Horton
Skyview High School, Danielle Calderon
Vista Grove Preparatory Academy -- Elementary & Middle School, Abelardo Batista
Apache Trail High School, Terra Kasapo
Sun Valley High School, Joe Procopio
Maya High School, John Anderson
Summit High School, Jim Sigman
Quest High School, Melissa Barnett
Gilbert Arts Academy, Lauren Arnold & Lisa Figueroa
Liberty Arts Academy, Julia Angel
Thank you also to our academic support team who worked tirelessly to guide our schools through the renewal process successfully:
Dr. Nicole McNeil
Again, it is because of the commitment that we all share, evidenced daily through our intentional focus on serving kids and communities in the greatest need, that today was a success. In the words of Georgia Rodgers, we have another 20 years "to give hope and to inspire, to show love and demonstrate compassion, to educate and build futures, to make a difference and save lives. What an opportunity!"
Thank you for everything that you do--it is an absolute privilege to work alongside you.
Chief Operating Officer
The Leona Group