Fordham-authorized Columbus Collegiate Academy wins highest honor for student achievement

Columbus Collegiate Academy, a Fordham-authorized charter school in one of Columbus’s poorest neighborhoods (Weinland Park), has just been awarded the Gold-Gain EPIC award by New Leaders for New Schools for dramatic gains in student achievement. 

This award is an incredible accomplishment on the part of CCA school leader Andy Boy and his dedicated staff. Only four charter schools in the entire country earned the Gold award. CCA won EPIC’s silver award last year – and was the only charter school in the whole state of Ohio to win. The school’s ability to continue making tremendous gains with students – 94 percent of whom are economically disadvantaged – propelled it into the very top tier for student growth, among the ranks of some of the most impressive charter schools in the country.

CCA Executive Director and Founder Andy Boy explained the school’s keys to success in a press release:

We are so proud of our students and staff.  Our teachers and staff share the belief that all students can and will learn when provided the right environment for academic success.  Through high expectations, a structured school day, and an uncompromising focus on academics our students are outpacing students from around the country.

Kathryn Mullen Upton, director of charter school sponsorship at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, noted:

We are thrilled that Columbus Collegiate Academy is a 2011 EPIC Gold Gain School. This award recognizes the exceptional quality of the academic program at Columbus Collegiate, the relentless efforts of its staff and leader, and the positive impact that Columbus Collegiate has on its students.

New Leaders for New Schools started EPIC — the Effective Practice Incentive Community – in 2006 “to link principal and teacher incentive pay to the wide-scale sharing of effective educational practices.” EPIC recognizes and rewards school leaders and staff in these schools (CCA will receive approximately $42,000 in staff bonuses this year) and creates comprehensive case studies of their successes so that others may learn from them. In this way, EPIC serves as not just a unique performance pay program but as a professional development platform for participating charter schools nationwide and district schools in Washington, DC; Memphis; and Denver.   

As its authorizer, we’re incredibly proud of CCA and the hard work of Andy Boy and the school’s teachers and staff. Last year on the Ohio Achievement Assessment, the school’s sixth and seventh graders outscored their Columbus City School peers in every tested subject, by margins as large as 54 percentage points. One hundred percent of CCA seventh graders passed the state math test, while 93 percent were proficient on the reading test – compared to averages of 77 percent and 84 percent statewide. In other words, the school’s students are outpacing their peers in wealthier and suburban communities despite attending school in the heart of one of Columbus’s poorest neighborhoods.

Congrats to CCA and to all this year’s winning schools!

Jamie Davies O'Leary
Jamie Davies O'Leary is a Senior Ohio Policy Analyst at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. She works with a coalition of high-performing Ohio charter school networks, facilitating their advocacy efforts and providing research and technical assistance.