Saturday, February 15, 2014

MSDE Honors Wolfe Street Academy for Strengthening Achievement

Wolfe Street Academy is one of eighteen Maryland Title I public schools that were honored on January 31, 2014 for their efforts to improve student achievement.

The Maryland State Board of Education and the Maryland State Department of Education recognized Wolfe Street Academy as a Title I Highest Performing Reward School for meeting the Annual Measurable Objectives for "all students" and all subgroups for two consecutive years (SY 2011-2012 and SY 2012-2013), for having a 10 percent or less achievement gap between "all students" and the lowest performing subgroups, and for being designated in Strand 1 or 2 for two consecutive years.

Maryland’s Reward Schools program was developed as part of MSDE’s plan for flexibility from parts of the federal government’s Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
"I personally want to offer my congratulations on Wolfe Street Academy being named a Title I Highest Performing Reward School. This esteemed certificate not only recognizes exceptional teaching professionals who have raised the bar for student achievement, but also acknowledges your closing the achievement gap for lower performing subgroups"
~Lillian Lowery, Maryland State Superintendent of Schools
A Model Turnaround

Eight years ago Wolfe Street Academy was a traditional public elementary school, with a long record of low test scores and academic failure. The school was on the Maryland State list of failing schools, and so drastically under-enrolled that it was in danger of being closed. In 2005 a new Principal, Mark Gaither, brought a long career in education and a fresh approach.

Working with parents and teachers, Mr. Gaither led a campaign to join the Baltimore Curriculum Project, a charter school operator in Southeast Baltimore with a track record of turning around low-performing public schools.  By becoming a ‘conversion charter’, Wolfe Street Academy continues to serve the surrounding inner-city neighborhood and guarantee every in-zone child a seat, but has greater autonomy in the essential areas of curriculum, hiring and budget.

The Baltimore Curriculum Project provides expertise and extensive teacher training in academic instruction and behavior management, as well as a variety of administrative and back office supports. With these changes in place, test scores began to improve immediately, and doubled over the last nine years.

In fall 2011, Baltimore City Schools CEO Andres Alonso identified Wolfe Street Academy as one of only fifteen schools in the district with “80 and 80”; over 80% poverty rate and simultaneously demonstrating over 80% proficiency in state exams.

For the past two years, Wolfe Street Academy has been identified as one of only a handful of schools with 80/80/80; over 80% poverty rate and over 80% minority enrollment while simultaneously achieving over 80% proficiency on state exams in reading and math.

Other good news about Wolfe Street Academy (WSA)
  • WSA students outperform students in Baltimore City and across the state as a whole on the Maryland State Assessments.
  • Strong academic programs and our Community School strategy, which is supported by the Family League of Baltimore City and the Social Work Community Outreach Service of the University of Maryland School of Social Work, have increased test scores, allowing us to meet every academic and non-academic standard set by the State for six years.
  • Increased parental engagement in activities and involvement in children’s learning. Each morning as many as 40 parents and younger siblings of our students attend Wolfe Street’s morning meeting. 
  • An excellent attendance rate of nearly 97%.
  • Over the past 8 years, enrollment has increased by 34%
We would like to congratulate Wolfe Street Academy on receiving this well-deserved honor.