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Ivy Prep students record high scores on CRCT

NORCROSS - More than 90 percent of students at an all-girls charter school met or exceeded standards in English/language arts, reading and math on a state curriculum test this spring, outperforming many of their peers in the state, according to a news release.

Nearly every sixth-grader at Ivy Preparatory Academy - 98 percent - passed the English/language arts portion of the Criterion Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT), while 94 percent passed the reading section, the news release states. In math, 91 percent of students met or exceeded standards.

Throughout the state, 91 percent of students met or exceeded standards in English/language arts, 90 percent passed the reading section and 75 percent passed the math section.

"Our teachers worked really hard this year to ensure that instruction was rigorous and relevant. I strongly believe that the way we structure our school day, deliver instruction and keep a keen eye on the mastery of standards, by frequently benchmarking student progress, is what attributes to high outcomes," said Nina Gilbert, founder and head of Ivy Prep Academy. "Although we are pleased with our results, we are striving to have all of our students meet and exceed standards. We can't be satisfied with good, we have to go beyond that."

In science, 73 percent of Ivy Prep students met or exceeded standards on the CRCT. Statewide, 69 percent of students passed this portion of the test. Gilbert said she and the school's other administrators and teachers are reviewing methods to improve science scores in the future.

Charter schools are public schools run by private organizations or individuals. The schools agree to hold students to higher academic standards in exchange for freedom from some state mandates.

Ivy Prep implemented a class schedule that featured two hours of math instruction and two hours of language arts.

"This allows our students to get a double dose of instruction in these two critical areas," Gilbert said. "Although each student has additional class time in these areas, the course content is totally different. Specifically in math, students have an hour of math analysis, and later in the day, an hour of math operations. This allows both teachers and students to focus on concepts and standards that are specific to these mathematical models."

Ivy Prep draws students from the school systems in Gwinnett, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, Hall, Rockdale and Atlanta. A class of 154 sixth-graders will join the 127 rising seventh-graders in the upcoming year. Ivy Prep has a waiting list of about 150 students, 20 of whom want to join the seventh-grade class.

"We wanted to get off to a good start, and I think we have," Gilbert said. "Our goal is to offer a rigorous, challenging and well-rounded educational experience for young ladies in middle school, so that they will be prepared for success in high school and college.

"CRCT scores are just one barometer, and we realize that. But I think this indicates we're well on our way to achieving our goal. We're very excited about the future of Ivy Prep."