5 Schools That Are Approaching Education Differently, Part 1

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The education story in America can be discouraging. The media frequently highlights the conflicts and struggles in the education arena, painting a picture of gloom. But that’s not the whole story. In quiet corners, there is exciting work being done around education. The success stories emerging out of the brave ventures of educators, philanthropists, and administrators offer a promise of a bright future for American students.

Five schools that are approaching education differently which caught our eye:

1. Ascend Learning in New York City, New York is an umbrella charter management organization that will encompass 9 schools come September. Ascend combines rigorous curriculum - that exceeds state standards - with a deep rooting in the liberal arts tradition. Ascend schools work diligently to encourage communication and partnership between parents, communities, and educators to provide children with a robust learning environment. At Ascend Schools, the arts are a valued part of the curriculum. Famous works of art line the walls of the hallways and dance and music classes are required.

2. Urban Promise in Camden, New Jersey is a faith-based organization that includes elementary and high-school charter programs, summer camps, art camps, experiential learning, job training, and after-school programs to academically support the surrounding urban residents. Urban Promise has dramatically effective results, with 93% of their charter graduates going on to college. In an area of the country where poverty, crime, and poor schools are infamous, Urban Promise is providing a beacon of hope.

3. Esperanza Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is a charter high-school started by the community development corporation Nueva Esperanza, Inc., in 2000. Focused entirely on raising achievement levels and graduation rates of Philadelphia-area minorities, Esperanza Academy’s student body is 96% Hispanic and 4% African-American. In an area known for poor schools and low graduation rates, small schools like Esperanza are setting a new standard for the community, for families, and for students.

To be continued . . .

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Emily McCord is an independent writer and policy and communications consultant. She worked on Capitol Hill in a Congressional office for two and a half years. She has experience teaching at the elementary, high-school, and college levels. She is a two-time English major, holding a B.A. from Belhaven University and an M.A. from Indiana University. She currently lives in Texas with her husband and 1-year-old little boy. Emily encourages women as they juggle career pursuits, healthy lifestyles, and family life at The Orange Slate and is delighted to contribute to MomThink. You can follow Emily on Instagram (@emilyamccord) or Twitter (@emilyamccord) as well.