Compass School Charter Renewed by State

According to a press release, the Compass School is granted a five-year charter renewal, recognizing its leadership in innovative educational strategies and a strong academic track record.

The Compass School, a K thru 8 public charter school in Kingston, is one of two existing Rhode Island charter schools to be extended for five years recently.

The Compass School’s leadership and strong academic track record are credited for its success and renewal granting. To be considered for renewal, the school passed the rigorous review of the Rhode Island Department of Education.

While the recommendation was based on many considerations, the school’s NECAP results distinguish the Compass School as one of the highest academically performing public schools in Rhode Island for elementary and middle school grade levels.

Allen Zipke, the Compass School director, said, “Education reform is a national concern and our efforts to provide an alternative to traditional public education have placed us at the forefront of a nationwide movement toward better opportunities for our children. We are part of a network of educators, parents and innovators who are committed to revamping the way we teach and how we relate to our students.”

The Compass School recently acquired 20 acres of farmland that the campus resides upon. The expansion is part of a long-term planning effort to broaden the opportunities for experiential learning at the school. This plan includes the development of facilities for additional classroom space and to use the farmland as a resource to enhance student and community education about environmental issues.

With renovations, the farmhouse will be home for our special education program and administration, and it will expand the school’s ability to serve these students, who comprise 20 percent of the population. As a not-for-profit, the school is actively engaging the philanthropic community and friends to support this capital-driven initiative.

The Compass School receives public tax dollars, as well as federal and state grants to support its operating budget. For special projects and initiatives, the school engages in fundraising efforts. In accordance with its charter, all applications are considered, ensuring a student demographic based upon an equally distributed enrollment reflecting the school community. Per the guidelines set forth by RIDE, a lottery is conducted if the amount of applicants exceeds the available openings.

From RIDE’s renewal of the Compass School: “The educational program at the Compass School is an academic success. With few exceptions in its most recent charter term, the school has significantly outperformed its sending districts and similar schools statewide on both the NECAP mathematics and reading. The school’s student growth percentiles have steadily increased over the last three years. Compass’ median SGP has improved from being in the middle 60 percent of schools in Rhode Island to being in the top 20 percent in the most recent year.”

Release courtesy of Seaside Consulting on behalf of the Compass School.

scott d. awg May 22, 2012 at 05:09 PM
So as I said,a semi private school,are these students not able to attend public schools for some reason,is theIr education above public school standards or is this just another taxpayer ripoff in R.I,if I was to guess,every RI politician is behind this system!!
Elizabeth May 22, 2012 at 05:49 PM
No, charter schools are not semi-private schools, they are alternative public schools, trying different methods for reaching students. Yes, my child attended a charter school (alto' not Compass). Slots are based on a lottery system, so there is some self selection occurring, with parents that have particular interest in or concerns about the public schools pursuing those spaces. That family focus on education may skew the academic success, but the large number of people hoping to get into these schools should be a wake-up call for our school systems and unions (FYI - I'm also a member of the NEA and have long opposed my union's attitude toward charter schools!)
scott d. awg May 22, 2012 at 06:39 PM
So wouldn't you think we should be fixing the problem instead of always finding another way out,are the charter school students required to complete the same portfolio requirements as standard public schools?It seems to me that if the schools are taxpayer funded and only a select few are admitted that is somewhat semi private,what happens to those not picked ,are they relegated to those lowly public schools? If my taxes are paying for them why shouldn't my kid be able to go?
Robert Trager May 22, 2012 at 07:14 PM
So by your logic, if you wanted your child to attend Matunuck but you lived in Peacedale, you should be able to go there, right?
scott d. awg May 22, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Well Mr Trager,I don't see as that statement makes much sense,obviously your kids go to their own district,aren't charter school students able to choose which school they wish to attend ?
Elizabeth May 22, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Yes we should fix the problems. For many kids our current public schools are fine, many kids are doing great. For others, smaller school environments work better. Some kids would hate that there may be only 1 class of a particular grade or even multiple grades in a single classroom such as Kingston Hill, Compass or some of the smaller charter schools have. I am not familiar with whether there is a portfolio requirement at any of the charter high schools (my kids at regular public HS). Regarding those not selected in the lottery, just like those that live outside a particular school boundary, they usually end up back at their home school. And that is another whole issue. Parents complained loudly when South Rd school had to redistrict and kids got sent to "the hicks" to West Kingston Elementary. Every redistricting, someone has an issue and those are all taxpayers too. We need a whole new paradigm! We force teachers to teach to the tests, expect more of them than ever with many kids sent to school without the skills they should have learned at home. Parents complain if kids get Cs and blame teachers - not the 6 hours per night they spend in front of the TV. We need to ALL be accountable for school success. We need to support the really good teachers, find a way to remove poor ones, and provide more flexibility to meet different student needs. We need to work WITH teachers, not against them. I'm not a teacher - just a concerned parent watching public support for education tank.
Robert Trager May 22, 2012 at 07:51 PM
I was simply driving home the point that school choice is a good thing. There is nothing obvious about public schools except for the fact that they are controlled by powerful interests, whose primary concerns have nothing to do with our children's education.
Elizabeth May 22, 2012 at 10:19 PM
From my experience with a child in a charter school (where he did well) they certainly do have to listen to authority figures and teachers - just like in any school. But there were more opportunities for small group learning, and periods when they could make their own choices. And yes, the smaller settings means that some kids are less familiar with interacting in large groups, which may carry over. But I suspect that some families may choose charter schools because their kids are more comfortable in those settings and because charters are often able to allow them to learn in unique ways that are better suited to the child that larger, more regimented public school settings simply aren't able to provide. So it's likely the family choosing the charter for their less social child rather than the charter school leading to that condition (a chicken and egg thing). My child is very social (maybe too social sometimes) and adapted well to a large public school, as did most of his classmates that aged out of the charter with him. To paint all charter school kids with that same anti-social brush is the same as saying that all public school teachers are ineffective - it's inaccurate and leads nowhere except to arguments.
Robert Trager May 23, 2012 at 02:32 AM
This is a start. All I want, is that there is an intelligent conversation about what matters most. And we probably can agree that our children are the future. So we better make **** sure that they are educated!
steve May 23, 2012 at 02:07 PM
From what i have read there are is no evidence as to better necap score for charter schools its a myth.There a professor at Temple who has written quite alot on this matter and her data shows that it not true
Ted Geisel May 23, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Steve, You can find the State NECAP Scores here: http://www.ride.ri.gov/assessment/results.aspx For '11 Percentage of students at/above "proficient" for Reading , grades 3-8 & 11: SK: 86 Narragansett: 89 State Avg: 73 Compass School: 93 For '11 Percentage of students at/above "proficient" for Math, grades 3-8 & 11: SK: 78 Narragansett: 75 State Avg: 56 Compass School: 94 For the record my kids don't go there. I just don't see what all the fuss is about on here. I'm sure that with charter schools, just like any other schools, there are good and bad ones. Charter schools aren't mandatory. You can choose whether or not your child attends.
scott d. awg May 23, 2012 at 05:21 PM
I guess that is how I really feel,they are not mandatory, nor do I see them as even needed .The people that don't like our public school system,or it is not working for them ,well lets build an alternative so my kid can do well there,doesn't really seem fair to the kids that bust their butts daily in public school.& have to meet all of the requirements.(portfolios etc.)I would be interested to know if the curriculum is the same.
Ted Geisel May 23, 2012 at 05:51 PM
The audacity of some people... Wanting their kids to do well. ;) You can read all about their curriculum here: http://www.compassschool.org/home/index.php?pageName=ProjBaseCurr&sub=1 I don't see charter schools as being unfair but to each their own, right? Lots of things in life aren't fair. My tax dollars go to plenty of people who don't work and I don't think thats fair but more people in RI do think that is fair and that why we elect the same people over and over.
steve May 23, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Scott dont know but if its 8th grade no the portfoilo and senior project is for grades 9 thru 12.anyonmus your skew the fact your comparing 153 student to 750 odd so percentages can be misleading please
B May 23, 2012 at 06:34 PM
The Truth: Studies show charter schools do not, on average, perform any better than public schools. - The largest national study of charter schools found only 17% of charters perform better than public schools; 37% perform worse. - When correcting for student characteristics, New Jersey charter schools do no better than public schools on statewide tests. - Analysis of data in New York and New Jersey suggests that charter schools' "successes" are not replicable because they often serve different students.
steve May 23, 2012 at 06:44 PM
B thats my point there no better or worse. then or public eduaction system.its a choice
scott d. awg May 23, 2012 at 08:07 PM
This is my last comment ,to Steve,I see it as an unnecessary choice & just another way to blow money on a system that is not needed.Reading between the lines here this seems to be a educational system for kids that can't cope with the daily stresses of public schools and are rewarded with a less strenuous routine so they can graduate with the same credentials as a public school. student. thank you all for listening to me
Robert Trager May 23, 2012 at 08:18 PM
You're entitled to your opinion, but you couldn't be more wrong. It doesn't cost any more money. The money follows the kids. The more kids that go to charter schools, the more money is diverted from the host school to the individual charter school. The school committee doesn't like it, because it's competition. They want to control those dollars. That's all it ends up boiling down to, every time. It's a fight over who controls the money. Obviously, if a charter school was producing miserable results, that would be a different story.
steve May 23, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Hi Scot i agree
Ted Geisel May 24, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Steve and Scott, Neither of you belong to a union by any chance, do you?
steve May 24, 2012 at 03:24 PM
No never been in union but am pro unions.dont understand your point anon.Robert never mentioned money just stating the facts that they dont score higher on test is all
Lindsay Phillips May 24, 2012 at 06:23 PM
I don't think charter schools are better or worse, it matters on the individual child. What is certainly different is with a charter school, you have involved parents willingly adovcating for their student to have smaller class size and an alternate approach to learning. In order to be considered for the lottery, the parent has to apply aka show concern for the child's education, similar to a private school. Public schools take the rest. And Robert mentioned the discrepancy between Wakefield and Peacedale. When I attended Wakefield twenty something years ago, it was Peacedale who had the reputation. The zoning was very different then. There is an elephant in the room that nobody wants to discuss, and it is the redistricting of section 8 housing. This plays a huge role in test scores and everyone knows it. If we are going to have a conversation about test scores,it needs to be an honest one.
B May 24, 2012 at 06:43 PM
"This is a key to the entire "choice" debate, whether it's about vouchers or charters. I find it completely dishonest when a reformyist tells us that a charter found the "secret sauce" in shredding union contracts, or having a different management structure, or using some new curricular method. Because, while what happens in the school has importance, it will never be as important as which children are attending the school." Source: Jersey Jazzman
B May 24, 2012 at 06:57 PM
A study by Dr Arnaud Chevalier - analyzed data from schools in Denmark between 2002 and 2010. "Half of the variation in test scores is attributable to shared family factors, while schools only account for 10 per cent,” it was claimed. The remaining variation was down to pupils themselves. Researchers said the effect of families on test scores remained the same irrespective of household income. It also revealed that the influence of parents mattered most in maths and science exams."
Robert Trager May 24, 2012 at 07:10 PM
I can't argue with the last couple of comments. It's another example of how strong family values plays a vital role in our society.
scott d. awg May 25, 2012 at 12:53 AM
No, I absolutely do not belong to any union nor have I ever.
scott d. awg May 25, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Why does it always have to be union-non union,democrat-republican,why can't it just be what is best for all & not a select few?That is whats terribly wrong with this country from our town council all the way up the ladder.Geez i guess that last one wasn't my last one !!!
Ted Geisel May 25, 2012 at 12:21 PM
This is Rhode Island, everything is controlled by special interests. When is the last time your local politician did what was best for all? The legislature could care less about the State Constitution or the US Constitution. The people of RI keep electing the same politicians over and over again. To me that is a resounding endorsement that the current system is exactly what they want. They want crony-ism, special interests, and corruption. I don't know why but they do.
John Fitzelle-Jones June 20, 2012 at 07:46 PM
My children go to Compass School. It is a partnership between parents teachers and staff. I basically think that everyone should have school choice to find a good fit for their children. If nothing else, quality charter school demonstrate how choice effects the culture of a school. So give everybody a choice! Have enough schools that everyone on the waiting list gets in. Specifically, if a child is being harassed by a bully or group of bullies, they should absolutely be given a choice to transfer to another school. We unrealistically expect kids to want to go to school based on zip codes when we wouldn't want anyone to get subjected to what happens to some kids. Compass school emphasizes environmentalism and citizenship. In other words it has a vision based on coherhent values that affects the culture of the community. Also, there was a recent headline that Compass was showing high scores in the rate of improvement of the students test scores. They enter with lower scores and their scores go up. That's the key statistic.
John September 09, 2012 at 02:34 PM
If the average cost to educate a child in RI is $10,000 per year, why don't more towns look into giving a tax credit to families who choose not to send their children to public schools?


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