Normally they’re the ones sending home the report cards to our children, but now Gateway Charter Schools are getting a report card of their own from their head office in Fort Lauderdale.

Charter Schools USA announced on January 7, 2015 that it has issued its first ever annual report offering statistics and updates on all of its schools, including the three it operates in Gateway.

“We have an amazing story to tell about our organization and the impact we are making in the lives of thousands of students each year,” said CSUSA CEO John Hage.

Hage added, “At our core we are a data-driven company and we believe data is a key ingredient to the success of our students and our schools. CSUSA has been on the frontlines of the education reform movement for 17 years and releasing this information today gives parents and communities another resource when choosing the pathway for their child.”

Let’s go over some of the data that’s driving CSUSA.

CSUSA presently operates 48 schools in Florida including Gateway Charter School (k-5), Gateway Intermediate Charter School (6-8) and Gateway Charter High School (9-12). According to the report 2,927 students attend its schools in Gateway, and a total of 374 teachers and staff are employed there.

In all, CSUSA operates 70 schools in 7 states – with over 57,800 students enrolled and over 7,200 educators and staff.

As stated in the report the State of Florida gave the elementary and middle schools both C grades in its most recent evaluations, while the high school received a B.

CSUSA says that the “parent satisfaction” rate is 95% for the elementary school, 84% for the middle school and 92% for the high school.

The report also says Gateway Charter High School had a graduation rate of 96%. That compares to Florida’s graduation rate of 76% for 2013-14.

The report additionally offers the waiting list numbers for each of its schools. All three Gateway charter schools have a waiting list of “less than 100” students.

Ten other Florida schools operated by CSUSA also have their waiting lists listed as less than 100.

That’s in stark contrast to other schools in CSUSA’s system such as Coral Springs Charter Schools for which the report says 2,402 students are on its waiting list. Renaissance Charter School at Cooper City has a waiting list of 1,334 while Renaissance Charter School at Coral Springs has 1,570 waiting. All three of those schools are in Broward County.

In Miami-Dade County, Renaissance Elementary School’s waiting list is 1,107, meanwhile Aventura City of Excellence School has a waiting list of 1,406.

Winthrop Elementary School in Hillsborough County has a waiting list that sits at 1,308 according to the report.

All of CSUSA’s other schools in Florida have a waiting list between 100 and 1,000 students.

It is notable that each of the six Lee County schools operated by CSUSA have a waiting list of under 100. This includes the three Gateway schools, Bonita Springs Charter School, Cape Coral Charter School and Six Mile Charter Academy.

In Gateway last week, people that we presume were associated with the charter schools were going door to door to handing out flyers attempting to recruit new students.

Turning to academic performance, the students at Gateway Charter’s elementary school fared much better than the Lee County average in reading and slightly better in math, while they were slightly behind the district’s average in science and writing.

The middle school outperformed the district in reading, but was well below average in math, and shockingly below the district in science and writing.

Students at the high school did much better. While they performed poorly compared to the district average in reading, Gateway Charter High School’s students were rated substantially better than the district in math and way beyond the Lee County average in science and writing.

The three Gateway schools were given a “Fiscally Fit School” designation by CSUSA, however it wasn’t immediately clear what that entailed. All of its Florida schools were given the same designation.

The statistic showing the 76% high school graduation rate in Florida for the 2013-14 school year was provided by the Florida Department of Education. All other data in this article was cited directly from a report titled Great By Choice that was produced by CSUSA.

The Sun has reached out to CSUSA for commentary regarding its performance in Gateway and we will be following up next week with a report involving analysis, commentary and additional statistics from Lee County and other sources. The writer of this article has children who attend Gateway Charter Schools.

For more information about CSUSA please visit charterschoolsusa.com.

Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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