Creative City students score higher than district averages on Math and ELA assessments at the beginning of their 6th Grade year
[January 23, 2022] - This year, Creative City Public Charter School (a K-5 school) conducted an analysis of Beginning-of-Year (BOY) Grade 6 iReady diagnostic scores from former Creative City 5th graders. Three years of Math and ELA data were reviewed. This measure was selected because the September diagnostic captures what students learned in 5th Grade. It also allows comparison with grade-level peers who had attended other elementary schools. In each year reviewed, students from Creative City scored higher than district averages.
Because of COVID-19 interruptions to in-person schooling, there is no standardized testing (PARCC / MCAP) data beyond the 2018-19 school year. This analysis was completed to review student academic success during that time. Third grade is the youngest grade tested in MCAP. Therefore, our youngest test-takers from 18-19 are now in 6th Grade, with no standardized data beyond their 3rd Grade year.
The findings are clear. Comparing Mean Scale Score from the Beginning-of-Year (Window 1) iReady diagnostic in Math and ELA from each of the last three years, we see that Creative City students who are entering 6thGrade and who completed iReady have a mastery of both ELA and Math content that is greater than their grade-level peers across the district. (See Figure 1.) In addition, the degree to which Creative City students exceeded district averages has increased each year for the three years under study, showing that steady improvements to Creative City's instruction of 3rd, 4th, and 5th Graders continue to improve student outcomes.
We also had the opportunity to follow a subset from the above group. Eight (8) Creative City students took the Grade 3 MCAP test at Creative City in Spring, 2019, and then took the Grade 6 Beginning-of-Year iReady diagnostic at Baltimore Design School in Fall, 2021. We had access to student-level data from each of these tests. This subset of students performed well below their district peers in both Math and ELA on their Grade 3 MCAP, but exceeded the district averages on their Grade 6 iReady in both domains. (See Figures 2 & 3.)
This data, and Creative City's academic performance and improvement as a whole, should be viewed in light of the fact that as few as 5% of incoming students (versus 39% of all BCPS students) demonstrate readiness for Kindergarten, according to 2019-20 KRA scores.
Weak MCAP performance in the 2018-19 test cycle (and in years prior) prompted multiple changes to Creative City’s instructional program to improve student outcomes. These changes are now bearing fruit and include:
While MCAP and iReady are not strictly parallel assessments, this metric is the best substitute amidst a lack of other options to measure student growth and success. Both tests measure performance in ELA and Math, both tests are computer-based, and both tests are standardized and adaptive.
FOR ANY QUESTIONS OR FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, contact Marisa Canino, Executive Director, at 443-642-3602 or MCanino@bcps.k12.md.us
 Data sources: BCPS Office of Achievement & Accountability; Baltimore Design School; PARCC records; public KRA records
 While not all middle schools use the iReady diagnostic, a majority of our 5th grade students who remained in Baltimore City schools for middle school (149 out of 175) took iReady in the first quarter of 6th Grade. (58% of these took ELA, 61% took Math)
 In SY21-22, Baltimore Design School received the largest number of 5th graders (19% of total) from Creative City. These students comprised 16% of Baltimore Design School’s 6th grade in 21-22. We were able to access student-level iReady data to support our analysis. We do not yet have student-level data for the remainder of the students in this study.
COVID-19 dramatically changed the school experience in Maryland. Students were abruptly forced out of the classroom and into their homes to learn, causing quite a disruption. While some schools opened back up in the fall, many parents had already begun questioning their school choice for their children.
While traditional public schools are still a great option, you might be looking for something different. A tuition-free public charter school is an excellent alternative. Keep reading to find out more about tuition-free public charter schools and what we recommend in Baltimore, Maryland.
What is a Tuition-Free Public Charter School in Baltimore?A tuition-free, public charter school is similar to a traditional public school. It offers education to students in pre-kindergarten to grade 12. Community members such as guardians, parents, and teachers can petition for a new charter school opening.
Often, the governing board of the local school district evaluates and approves petitions for the opening of a new charter school. According to Maryland's Education Code (EC), the county boards of education and the State Board of Education can be the authorizing organizations for charter school petitions.
Another similarity shared by charter schools with traditional public schools is the source of funding. Both schools are funded by the state but differ in their administration and management since charter schools have more control over these aspects. Charter schools enjoy more flexibility in running their schools, such as in hiring and curriculum management.
An entity manages charter schools under the supervision of its self-appointed board. Elected school boards and districts and their board-appointed superintendents oversee traditional public schools. This means charter schools have more independence than usual public schools, allowing them to make their own rules and innovate.
What tuition free public charter schools are available in Baltimore?Creative City Public Charter School is our recommendation. Our dedicated staff recognizes every student's unique academic needs, interests, and talents and strives to meet them right where they are. Our top-notch academics are complemented by fun electives on Wednesdays and after-school clubs, like robotics, chess, dance team, and karate. We are a K-5 school that feels like a family.
We also value art as a learning tool and a joyful exploration. Our art-infused curriculum teaches students how to think creatively and develop problem-solving skills. We also live in a culturally-rich city, and we use it as a foundation for place-based teaching and learning. We use our city as a foundation to an out-of-the-box community-enhanced education.
Are There Other Tuition-Free and Public Charter Schools Available in Baltimore?You can choose to apply and enroll your children in a tuition-free, public charter school, even if it is outside your school district. Maryland laws state that charter schools admit any child residing in the state if their capacity allows it. Baltimore charter schools do not have to comply with boundary school rules. Thus, parents in Baltimore can opt for the charter school of their choice and not worry about breaking district rules.
What is the Process of Enrolling my Child in a Tuition-Free Public Charter School in Baltimore? The enrollment process of charter schools is highly similar to other school types. They require an application where parents have to provide information about the child, such as name, address, birth date, ethnic background, and the last school attended.
It is your responsibility to check the charter schools’ application and enrollment deadlines along with the school’s specific enrollment rules, policies, and requirements. Charter schools may have different rules and processes, but their admission rules must comply with state laws. According to Maryland laws, charter schools cannot implement policies that discriminate against their applicants unlawfully.
You should also remember that you are likely to see your child’s name on the school’s waitlist, especially if you applied to a sought-after charter school. Many charter schools receive more applications than their capacities allow. Schools that have more applicants than they can take in usually employ a random selection process. The lottery system is a commonly used selection technique by many charter schools.
Do Public Charter Schools Offer High-Quality Education in Baltimore? According to one a study by the Baltimore Sun, students in our public charter schools gained an additional 47 days of reading and an astronomical 59 days of math achievement. These additional days of achievement are not due to more physical time in school but done in the same 180 days required of all public school students.
About Creative City Public Charter School
Creative City Public Charter School is a dynamic K-5 elementary school with caring educators. We engage our students in a placed-based learning environment using the city of Baltimore as a cultural and civic foundation. Our approach is creative yet challenging; and our tuition-free public school encourages out-of-the-box thinking alongside the pursuit of each student’s personal, highest academic potential. Enroll your child today!