WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The Nation's Report Card on our public schools is in, and DC is celebrating an A+ in major growth in math and reading test scores.
The District now leads the nation in overall growth in these areas.
8th graders at Stuart Hobson in NE are learning old English. Classmates across the hall are in English language and arts.
Dawn Clemens, the Principal says, "What we are finding today, the the common core is asking us to teach kids to be prepared for college and careers."
Dawn Clemens is principal of the Capital Hill Cluster which includes Stuart Hobbs Middle School. She's seen vast improvements in recent years
"In Middle school we are using 4 different reads to get the essence of complicated text which are 2 or 3 grade levels above where these kids are reading," she said.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan says this type of strategy is helping DC public schools improve faster than the rest of the nation.
Duncan says, "Only one could show the greatest improvement 1 out of 51 and that is DC."
Mayor Vincent Gray says, "We're going in the right direction and we need to keep moving in that direction."
The District is now making the grade and closing the gap in math and reading scores. Since 2007, 4th grade reading in DC gained 8 points above the national average. In math, a 13 point gain over than the rest of the country.
DC 8th grade reading improved 2 points over the country's average and the same group in math, a whopping 14 point gain over the national average.
Although DC is not a state it's compared to its neighbors. Test scores fall bellow Maryland and Virginia by 15 point or more in reading and math. School Chancellor Kaya Henderson says its a work in progress.
Henderson said, "We use to be at the very bottom and you don't go from the bottom to the top overnight you have to grow. We have a long way to go but this is the right pace and the right place to do it."
Many educators say some credit has to go to former Chancellor Michelle Rhee who targeted teacher performance.
Kaya Henderson, the DC Chancellor says, "I was Michelle's deputy for three years before I took over as chancellor and the work we did in the first three years helped build a firm foundation for the work we've done in the last 3 years and all of that has helped us get where we are with these test scores."
Clemens says, "We are extremely proud to be a part of DCPS and we couldn't say that 5 or 6 years ago."
Chancellor Henderson attributes the growth to teachers and higher standards.
More details here: http://nationsreportcard.gov/