Innovative Education Practices Highlighted in New Booklet

June 16, 2004

Eight of the nation’s highest-achieving charter schools are featured in the U.S. Department of Education’s new booklet Innovations in Education: Successful Charter Schools, which highlights promising practices in education, Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced today.

The schools highlighted include Houston’s Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) Academy; the BASIS School in Tucson, Ariz.; Gates Charter Language School in Lake Forest, Calif.; Oglethorpe Charter School in Savannah, Ga.; Arts and Technology Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.; School of Arts and Sciences Charter School in Tallahassee, Fla.; Roxbury Preparatory Charter School in Roxbury, Mass.; and Community of Peace Charter School in St. Paul, Minn.

“Empowering parents through information is a cornerstone of the No Child Left Behind Act,” Secretary Paige said. “The charter schools featured in this new guide are fulfilling the law’s promise by empowering parents and teachers and by setting high expectations for students. These schools are demonstrating that high student achievement and a well-rounded education can go—and belong—hand-in-hand.

“These schools are true laboratories of innovation, and I’m hopeful that other schools—whether they’re traditional or charters—will look closely at using the practices that have made the schools featured in this booklet successful.”

Charter schools are independent public schools of choice designed and operated by educators, parents, community leaders and educational entrepreneurs. Charter schools are given greater flexibility in return for strict accountability for improving student achievement.

The Department’s Office of Innovation and Improvement created the guide to share practical advice and concrete examples from eight charter schools, all of which are meeting state standards of accountability for performance results of all students, as required by the No Child Left Behind Act. All of the schools have improved student achievement over the past three years.

The guide is divided into two parts: The first section provides an overview of common elements of these excellent schools, including: organizational structure; leadership and mission; innovative curricula and programs; efforts to promote a community of continuous learning; partnerships with parents and the community; and accountability for results. The second section provides rich descriptions about each of the schools featured.

The first U.S. public charter school opened in 1992. Almost 3,000 charter schools serve nearly 750,000 students in 37 states and Washington, D.C.

The No Child Left Behind Act is the bipartisan landmark education reform law designed to change the culture of America’s schools by closing the achievement gap among groups of students, offering more flexibility to states, giving parents more options and teaching students based on what works. Under the law’s strong accountability provisions, states must describe how they will close the achievement gap and make sure all students, including those with disabilities, achieve academically.

President Bush’s Fiscal Year 2005 budget proposes almost $320 million for charter schools, a 24 percent increase over FY 2004.

The Office of Innovation and Improvement was created in December 2002 to make strategic investments in and widely distribute information about promising education practices. The office also leads the Department’s efforts to provide more information to parents about the options that the No Child Left Behind Act affords them for their children’s education.

Innovations in Education: Successful Charter Schools may be accessed online at The guide is the third of six booklets on promising and innovative education practices to be released this year. More information about the No Child Left Behind Act is available at