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Summary

There is a 10-point spread on average, showing how Pacific Charter Institute schools did not suffer the learning loss compared to the state totals.

No one will argue against the fact that the pandemic changed our children’s lives in ways we possibly cannot begin to imagine. Most recently, California’s K12 public school state test scores reflected a general learning loss across the state. No one should be shocked, considering frustrations ranging from school closures to the lack of computers in the field for students. (If you share with me the memory of images of classrooms with elementary students in their desks divided into plastic walled cubicles, does it still send shudders down your spine too?) Well, while student mental and social health remained (and continue to be) front-line challenges for teachers, the state resumed mandated testing of students in grades 3-8 and 11 last spring, and comparisons of the recently publicized scores have been made to those of the pre-pandemic testing of 2018-19. Lo and behold, scores were lower than before the pandemic. We could have guessed it, but now we have measured it. The data shows a drop in the percentage of students that met and exceeded the standard scores in the tests by -6% Math and -4% English Language Arts. But hold on, there is a different story underneath this.

Not all schools declined. The personalized learning advocacy group, APLUS+, announced their member schools’ average percentiles improved. Taking a deeper local dive, Pacific Charter Institute (PCI) supports a family of charter schools specializing in personalized learning. Their average scores improved even higher than those of the APLUS+ group. It also should be noted that as free public schools and as APLUS+ members, PCI schools’ test scores were counted in both APLUS+ data and CA public K12 data.

Pacific Charter Institute has four charter schools represented in these totals. Two of the PCI family of schools are Title I schools. These schools also enroll students sent over by personnel in their local school district and accept any challenge when the neighborhood school isn’t the best fit. With that, one would expect lower-than-average scores. However, Pacific Charter Institute schools meet students where they are and focus on growth.

Comparing the last “normal” year of testing data (2018-19) to the most recent, PCI family of schools increased 4.5% in Math and 5.3% in ELA of students meeting or exceeding the state standard level. In simple terms, there is a 10-point spread on average, showing how Pacific Charter Institute schools did not suffer the learning loss as in the state totals.

Part of the Pacific Charter Institute family of schools, Sutter Peak Charter Academy stands out with a stellar 12.83% improvement in ELA and a 7.26% gain in Math.

Pacific Charter Institute schools adapt to the needs of the students – it’s what they do. Counseling and wellness teams were already in place. Teachers were available online every day and then outdoors later in the pandemic. While their counterparts had weeks at home streaming old sitcoms, staff and students from PCI schools worked through the pandemic every day. (We knew these were rockstars, and there is data now to back it up.)

Pacific Charter Institute family of schools give parents informed choices in their personalized learning journeys. They provide curriculum choices that fit the child’s needs. Credentialed teachers check on basic skills and academic growth. Parents are informed if students are academically improving in math and literacy skills, and the teacher and parent form a relationship to support the personalized learning journey of the child.

Furthermore, PCI leadership saw that supported personalized learning could help more students than those who could take on homeschool or independent study options if a five-day-a-week program was offered. They launched “New Pacific Schools” during the pandemic, now authorized in Roseville and Rancho Cordova.

Personalizing a child’s education is more than differentiation. It is not just a different worksheet for the gifted kid in the class on the same topic. It empowers a child to learn how they want to learn, including how to manifest their learning journey. With engagement comes achievement. Teachers coach, they do not dictate. This empowers lifelong learning.

Don’t give up hope yet, California. There is a choice that can withstand and weather the storms. Learn More at PacificCharters.org

 

Resources:

California’s Smarter Balanced Summative Assessment Results

The APLUS+ Association of Personalized Learning Schools & Services

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