PATERSON, NJ – Recently obtained data from the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) revealed that the three schools operated by College Achieve Public Schools (CAPS) all achieved the top two possible rankings for being among the best public charter schools in the state. College Achieve Paterson earned the distinction of a “Tier 1 School” status, while the Asbury Park and Plainfield campuses were ranked in Tier 2. Schools are judged on three main categories on the Academic Performance Framework Tier: a successful academic program, financial viability and organizational soundness.
“This proud moment is a culmination of years of hard work and our commitment to holding ourselves—and our students—to high, rigorous academic standards,” said Dr. Gemar Mills, executive director of College Achieve Paterson. “This honor is a testament to the vision of College Achieve Paterson. As a college-preparatory, STEM-focused academic program, our aim is to send students to and through college by providing opportunities to break out of generational poverty and earn high-paying STEM jobs.”
College Achieve Paterson serves students that come to them one to four years behind, but through a rigorous curriculum that focuses on reading, writing and math to develop critical thinking skills, they quickly bring students up to grade level. In just one year, the school improved from the 8th to the 60th percentile in ESSA (2017-18 to the 2018-19 school year) putting it in the top 40 percent of all New Jersey schools.
The tuition-free public school is dedicated to emerging technologies and individualized teaching, driven by the mission belief that mastering STEM subjects during early education and building upon that foundation throughout the elementary years is critical to getting students on the path toward higher paying careers. At College Achieve Paterson 94.5% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch program.
CAPS’s other campuses also made a strong showing in the rankings. College Achieve Greater Asbury Park Charter School—which just last week was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the highest ranked K-8 school among schools in Asbury Park—achieved Tier 2 status. In just one year, students improved from the 2nd to the 25th percentile in ESSA. The results are especially noteworthy since the school district stayed in the bottom fifth percentile, while College Achieve Asbury Park serves a higher special education, Limited English Proficient and free and reduced lunch population.
College Achieve Central Charter School was also ranked as a Tier 2 school by the NJDOE, a positive capstone for a school that targets communities with historically low high school and college graduation rates. The school has developed a strong reputation for its college-prep curriculum that offers students 11 Advanced Placement courses. Every senior is required to take three Advanced Placement courses in order to graduate. In 2020, 60% of the CAPS Central students that took an AP Exam passed. Ninety-nine percent of students in the 2021-22 senior class have already taken either the SAT or ACT.
Families have been gravitating to CAPS’s schools in Paterson, Plainfield, Asbury and Neptune Township communities for their strong growth in student achievement at an incredibly fast rate and their mission to prepare all students with the skills needed to go to and through college. Network-wide, CAPS experienced a 15.5 percent growth in enrollment between the 2019-20 to 2020-21 school years.