Leading up to National Charter Schools Week, the National Alliance will profile outstanding charter schools throughout the country.
For our next countdown to National Charter Schools Week (NCSW) feature, we go down south to La Academia De Estrellas in Dallas, Texas. This independent charter school caters to students from pre-K to 6th grade. Its mission is, “to provide innovative learning opportunities for students, by honoring diverse cultures, languages, backgrounds and academic abilities.”
La Academia de Estrellas’s foundation of instruction is based on inquiry-based instruction, community-based learning, and differentiated small group instruction. There are several things about this school that stand out, but two are their focus on instruction for English Learners (EL) and their outstanding athletics program.
English Learners tend to face many challenges due to language barriers, however, charter schools are making strides to level the playing field. A 2015 report by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University found that Hispanic EL students enrolled in charter schools showed the greatest learning gains of any student subgroup, with 72 additional days of learning in math per year and 79 in reading. La Academia De Estrellas focuses on EL education by providing a bilingual program specifically for Spanish-speaking students. Also, parents are given bilingual access to school documents, creating a partnership between teachers and parents towards delivering a high-quality education.
Moving from the classroom to the athletic realm, La Academia De Estrellas has a stellar athletics program. The mission of their athletics department is, “to provide a culture that gives student-athletes an opportunity to develop success in academic and competition to achieve excellence in life.” The 2015-2016 athletic season has been great for the school. The volleyball team hails as District Champions, the football team came in 2nd place in the District, and the girls basketball team are District Champions.
By emphasizing English Learner instruction and building up students athletically, La Academia De Estrellas focuses on the holistic development of their students both in and out of the classroom.
La Academia De Estrellas Student Body:
- 98% Latino
- 1% Black
- 1% White
- 95% Free and reduced priced lunch eligible