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Stanford Study: National Heritage Academies Students Gain Months of Extra Learning Each Year

NHA Communications Team  |  July 07, 2023
National Heritage Academies (NHA) partner-school students continue to outperform their traditional public school peers. A recent study shows they do so by gaining nearly three-and-a-half months of additional learning. NHA also earned the new “gap busters” designation for outstanding progress in eliminating learning disparities for minority and poverty students.
These results and others are outlined in a new report by Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) in which NHA partner-school students gained 69 days of additional learning in math and 46 days in reading compared to their peers in traditional schools. Researchers also found NHA is a leading performer among charter school operators, ranking in the 82nd percentile or the top 20% of operators.
The CREDO findings illustrate NHA’s progress toward a goal of putting every one of its 68,000 students on a college-bound path before they reach high school.
“Providing high-quality educational choice is at the heart of what we do,” NHA Chief Learning Officer Nick Sheltrown said. “Our mission is to transform lives. Results such as these are affirming for the many educators across our network whose commitment to caring for, loving, and encouraging every child to achieve is unparalleled.
“They are the unsung heroes making a difference daily. They should be proud of their efforts; we are humbled by their courage and perseverance in continuing the pursuit of creating teaching and learning environments that foster student success,” Sheltrown added.
CREDO’s research is based on data from 3.5 million student observations in 29 states plus New York City and Washington, D.C. between 2014-19. The size and scope of the study makes it one of the most comprehensive studies of charter schools to date.
Researchers matched each charter student with “virtual twins” at traditional schools who had similar backgrounds and prior academic performance, then examined the difference in academic growth of both sets of students in state test scores.
Charter school students showed greater effective educational gains the longer they are enrolled in charter schools, CREDO researchers found. They added that students who are Black, Hispanic, or living in poverty also benefit from charter school enrollment, and achieve academic gains that are better than their traditional public school peers in most benchmark categories measured in the study.
The study’s authors shared, “Perhaps the most revealing finding of our study is that more than 1,000 schools have eliminated learning disparities for their students and moved their achievement ahead of their respective state’s average performance. We refer to these schools as “gap-busting” charter schools. They provide strong empirical proof that high-quality, high-equality education is possible anywhere. More critically, we found that dozens of CMOs have created these results across their portfolios, demonstrating the ability to scale equitable education that can change lives."
Beyond CREDO’s findings, NHA partner-schools and their educators are continually recognized for creating teaching and learning environments in which students thrive.
Vista Charter Academy and Walton Charter Academy were both recognized as The Education Trust-Midwest’s Building the Hope Schools for their efforts moving the needle of instructional growth and achievement wins for their English-learner students.
Advantage Charter Academy earned the Louisiana Department of Education’s Comeback Campus designation for increasing its percentage of students scoring mastery or above, and decreasing the percentage of students scoring unsatisfactory in math and reading on statewide assessments in 2022 when compared to 2019.
Peak Charter Academy was recognized by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction in its Promising Practices Clearinghouse for “promoting practices that motivate, engage, and provide measurable results.”
A public education leader, National Heritage Academies was founded nearly three decades ago and continues to deliver on its mission to transform lives through high-quality educational choice. To learn more, visit

About National Heritage Academies:
National Heritage Academies is a network of 100 tuition-free, public charter schools located across nine states, serving more than 68,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For more information, visit

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