Three Great Choices: Charlestown Public Schools Shine on MCAS, Proving Continued Revival

October 4, 2018
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The three major elementary schools in Charlestown showed tremendous achievement on the state MCAS test among all schools in the Boston Public School network, with the Harvard-Kent singled out by the district as a school continuing to be on the move.

The Harvard-Kent, the Warren Prescott and the Eliot School (in the North End, with about one-third of the population from Charlestown), all scored as some of the very best elementary schools in the city – a dramatic turnaround for all three that began about 10 years ago when local parents began to put more trust in the local schools.

The Harvard-Kent got great kudos last year when they moved up to Level 1 status. This year, the state uses the revamped MCAS 2.0, so the grading on levels has been tossed, and now they look at the targets for each school – targets set by the state for the overall school and its sub-groups (such as race, gender, English Language Learners, high needs, etc.).

At the Harvard-Kent this year, the school met all of its targets, the only one of the three to meet all the targets. Officially 86 percent of the students met the targets and the school ranked in the 31st percentile among all comparable schools in the state.

“All this really does is let us know we’re going in the right direction,” said Principal Jason Gallagher. “It’s nice for the state to recognize that we met or exceeded all our targets. It’s a good place to be, but we know we can do better. We had a big jump in ELA. That’s really nice…We’ve been a good math school for a while and it feels really good to bump up our ELA too.”

The average score at the Harvard-Kent on ELA was 490, with the state average at 499. The average math score was 497, with the state average at 499.

At the Eliot, Principal Traci Griffiths said they are very excited about how their third graders performed.

“We are excited to share some celebrations from our third grade,” she said. “The third grade is our largest group of students with 95 as this is our group that is part of our expansion moving forward. The average scaled score for the Eliot in Grade 3 Math is 8th highest in the state. Meanwhile, the average scaled score for the Eliot in Grade 3 ELA is the 13th highest in the state.”

The Eliot didn’t meet all its targets, but had 67 percent of its students partially meeting targets. However, the school scored in the 67th percentile statewide, which was the highest of the three elementary schools.

The average score at the Eliot on ELA was 500, with the state average at 499. The average math score was 504, with the state average at 499.

At the Warren Prescott, Principal Michele Davis said they were happy to see all of their targets met in the ELA test.

“At the Warren Prescott K-8 School we attribute our strong performance to the collaborative effort and the hard work of our teachers in grade level teams in identifying and addressing individual student needs,” she said. “Our school community is the ultimate recipe of success with involved parents, talented teachers, hardworking students and incredible community partners.  This is our collective success.

“We are especially proud this year for exceeding our targets in English Language Arts, the improvement we have shown in mathematics, and for consistently outperforming the district and the state,” she continued.

The Warren Prescott had 70 percent of its students partially meeting targets, and it tested in the 49th percentile statewide.

The average score at the Warren Prescott on ELA was 505, with the state average at 499. The average math score was 502, with the state average at 499.

Gallagher said the Town is fortunate to have three great elementary choices for their kids.

“If you live in Charlestown, you’re pretty lucky because you have some great schools to choose from,” he said. “There aren’t a lot of neighborhoods that have three good schools to choose from and we are fortunate to have that situation.”