Announcing this year's Bold Performance School Winners!


Students are Exceeding Expectations at Empowerk12 “Bold Performance” Schools


September 19, 2017

Last month, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced results from the 2017 Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) student assessment administration, showing small District-wide increases in the share of students meeting or exceeding achievement expectations. Nearly three-quarters of all DC students did not meet expectations in math and English language arts, however. The outcomes for students who meet the DC definition of “at-risk” were even lower, with just 15 percent of those students meeting the proficiency standard citywide. 


While this trend holds true for most DC schools, there are several amazing schools demonstrating that socio-economic hardships do not predetermine how proficient their students can be. EmpowerK12 is proud to honor them with our 2017 Bold Performance School Award! 

*Please see this morning's article entitled To Find Top DC Public Schools Look Beyond Demographics, New Analysis Says in Greater Greater Washington announcing this year's winners!

EmpowerK12, a nonprofit supporting District public and public charter schools to implement data-driven instructional practices, analyzed the 2017 PARCC data and found that at-risk concentration was the most predictive indicator of school-wide PARCC proficiency. An at-risk student is a child whose family qualifies for SNAP or TANF benefits, is placed in foster care, or lives in a homeless shelter. Almost 50 percent of tested students in DC were considered at-risk this past year, and the more at-risk students a school serves, the fewer the number who met expectations on PARCC, according to an EmpowerK12 analysis (see chart below*)

Bold Schools Featured in Greater Greater Washington Article!

This year, Greater Greater Washington helped us release our results with a full feature article, complete with our interactive data charts!

 *If viewing on desktop, the chart above is interactive. Click on the chart and hover over points to find out the school name and data.

Bold Performance award-winning schools serve a high at-risk student population and have combined math and English language arts proficiency rates dramatically higher than similar schools. EmpowerK12 used a regression model to project what percent of students were expected to be proficient at every school given their socio-economic demographics, and then identified schools with actual proficiency rates statistically significantly higher than expected. The 2017 Bold Performance award-winning and honorable mention schools have actual proficiency rates at least 10 percentage points higher than schools with similar demographics (see interactive chart below.) 

 *If viewing on desktop, the chart above is interactive. Click on the chart and hover over points to find out the school name and data.

This year’s Bold Performance award winners include, in alphabetical order: DC Prep Benning ES (Ward 7), DC Prep Edgewood ES (Ward 5), DC Prep Edgewood MS (Ward 5), Early Childhood Academy (Ward 8), Friendship Chamberlain ES (Ward 6), Garfield ES (Ward 8), Ketcham ES (Ward 8), KIPP Heights ES (Ward 8), KIPP LEAD ES (Ward 6), KIPP Promise ES (Ward 7), KIPP Spring ES (Ward 5), Ludlow-Taylor ES (Ward 6), Seaton ES (Ward 6), and Thomson ES (Ward 2). Honorable mention goes to seven additional schools who nearly made the Bold Performance cut, including Barnard ES (Ward 4), Center City Shaw (Ward 6), DC Prep Benning MS (Ward 7), EL Haynes ES (Ward 4), Friendship Blow-Pierce ES (Ward 7), Ingenuity Prep (Ward 8), KIPP KEY MS (Ward 7), and KIPP Quest ES (Ward 7).

Eleven of the Bold Performance award-winning and honorable-mention schools are located south of the Anacostia River in Ward 7 and Ward 8, five in Ward 6, three in Ward 5, two in Ward 4, and one in Ward 2. Together, the 22 schools educate 8,500 students of which 10 percent receive special education services, 94 percent are economically disadvantaged, and 55 percent are considered at-risk.

EmpowerK12 Executive Director Josh Boots praised the combined efforts of students, educators, and families at these schools: “Due to the extraordinary efforts of these Bold Performance schools, an additional 1,500 DC students are on-track to be college ready.”

This is the second consecutive year EmpowerK12 has recognized bold performing schools, and the number of honored schools increased from 11 to 22 schools. The District's two largest school organizations, DC Public Schools and KIPP DC, both saw increases in Bold Performance Schools. At DCPS, two schools were honored in 2016, and this year, six DCPS schools exceeded the Bold Performance standard. At KIPP DC, four schools received recognition last year, and six schools earned Bold Performance honors this year.

One common thread across all 2017 Bold Performance schools is the presence of a strong, inspirational school leader. DCPS and KIPP DC have prioritized building and supporting a high quality school leadership pipeline. The recently released DCPS strategic plan emphasizes a commitment to "strengthen school leadership development." Data suggests DCPS is well on its way to meeting that commitment, creating school environments where teachers and students feel loved, challenged, and prepared. EmpowerK12 encourages District of Columbia elected officials to examine Bold Performance Schools' success and create initiatives to replicate and expand the school leadership pipeline for all DC schools.

When asked what makes her school a Bold Performer, Erin Huseby, Principal at KIPP DC Promise ES, responded: “We’re honored to be named a Bold Performer School. KIPP DC Promise Academy is a school that is joyful and rigorous, with great instruction in every classroom, and deep relationships with students and their families. This sets our students up for success and prepares them for a choice-filled life.”

Said EmpowerK12 Executive Director Josh Boots: “We commend all Bold Performance schools, WInners and Honorable Mentions, for their efforts to eliminate the generational achievement gap between high- and low-income students, and we encourage policymakers to learn from these schools. We will continue to honor Bold Performance schools on an annual basis until the day socio-economic hardship no longer correlates with lower achievement in the District of Columbia.”


Download the full results of EmpowerK12’s analysis for all DC schools serving at least 30 percent at-risk and 25 at-risk students by visiting:

DC Government PARCC results public reporting portal: