Low-Income Middle Schools: Who does it best? Part 1: English

Let’s get personal.

I teach at Luther Burbank Middle School, a middle school where almost every student comes from a low-income family.

I wanted to answer a simple question – How do we compare to similar schools? And what are the best and worst performing middle schools that serve low-income populations?

Let’s just look at English scores for simplicity. Without further ado, the top 20 middle schools in LA serving Low populations are:

We made the list! I have to admit, even though I know my school is awesome, I always have a bit of trepidation when I crunch the numbers.

Out of the top twenty, 16 are charter schools and 4 are traditional schools. The schools are also all over the place – East, Central, Northeast, South, West, Valley – proving that you can succeed with socioeconomic students anywhere in Los Angeles.

Now for the sad news – the lowest performing schools for low income students are:

7 are Charter schools and 13 are traditional schools. And again, the schools are in every part of Los Angeles – proving that, on the flip side, schools struggle to serve low-income students all over Los Angeles

A few things stand out to me here:

  1. There are some charter operators that have schools in the top twenty AND the bottom twenty. PUC, Alliance and ICEF all have schools that succeed and schools that fail. Which means that their replicability is in question. And replicability is what much of the charter movement is based on.
  2. KIPP and Bright Star are very impressive charter networks. Between the two of them, they make up 7 of the top 8 performing low-income schools.
  3. Three of the four LAUSD traditional schools that are on the top twenty list are in Northeast Los Angeles – Things are going much better for the NELA neighborhood when it comes to their middle schools, though there is definitely room for growth.
  4. South Los Angeles is still the most under-served neighborhood in LA. The bottom 9 schools are basically a tour of South LA.

Tomorrow, I will look at how Math scores compare in these schools. And I predict that they will be pretty similar….

9 Replies to “Low-Income Middle Schools: Who does it best? Part 1: English”

  1. Thanks for this! Did you link to the 20 schools? I don’t see it.

    1. You don’t see it? It should be popping up….I see it on my computer and iphone

  2. here’s an idea; I wonder how the numbers would look if you factored in the longevity of the charter school also (charters tend to get better over time and correct course faster) from their initial authorizing date. Also, those that have feeder elementaries should perform higher.

    1. Interesting idea. I wonder what would be the equivalent measure for traditional schools. My school was reconstituted – would that be considered a new authorizing date? And what about a school like Manual Arts, that was taken over? Does that data count as a new authorization date?
      I have thought about looking at authorization dates, but I just can’t wrap my head around how to make measures for every school.

  3. […] I looked at which low-income schools performed best and which performed worst on the recent CAASPP s… When I wrote that post, I made an assumption. I assumed that the list would be similar in both […]

  4. I’d encourage you to consider “K-8” schools performance in middle school. For Example, Camino Nuevo Academy #2 would definitely make the top 5 of the list if you looked at their middle school scores. There is power in K-8 education.

    1. Great idea for an article! I will definitely look into that. But be weary when you ask me to do something…not all data for Camino Nuevo Network is flattering…

  5. […] week, I posted a list of high performing and low performing low-income schools in English and Math. One of the most interesting comments came from Heather from Camino […]

  6. […] several posts that have not been flattering for them. But this is just what the data says. Over and over and over […]

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