Accountability is a Promise We Must Keep

(As we prepare for our 2017 School Quality Reports release on November 8, we’re taking the week to celebrate accountability in education. Read posts by parents, school leaders, and education stakeholders who explain why accountability matters in education. The first blog in our series was written by Jo Baker. The following was authored by Patricia A. Brantley, CEO at Friendship Public Charter Schools.)

Starting early, we ask students at Friendship Public Charter School to be accountable. Day in and day out.

The concept covers a lot: from managing their school supplies to managing their time, and even to managing their challenges. Most importantly, it means being accountable for approaching learning with curiosity, an open mind and an open heart.

It’s a big ask, and there’s a reason we work to instill it from the beginning. We believe that accountability provides an unshakable base of lifelong success.

Accountability, in literal terms, means responsibility, liability, answerability. In broader terms, it means a commitment to oneself. To integrity. To hard work. To going the distance.

Yes. We teach this. But most of Friendship’s scholars already have the picture. They wouldn’t be with us if they didn’t.

Our students have not come to Friendship by accident. Their pursuit of a Friendship education is deliberate. They are here because they, or their family, have made a connection.

They’ve made the connection between hard work and success. Between putting in the time and getting the most out of life. Between owning their choices and owning their futures.

They are at Friendship because they believe in something greater than a concept, greater than words on a page.

They believe in a promise.

At Friendship, we promise that within our school community, students will nurture a thirst for knowledge, explore their talents, and most of all, develop an unrelenting confidence in themselves.

We promise that every child will have the opportunity to make their college dreams come true.

As we hold them accountable for doing their part, we are accountable for keeping our promise to them.

As teachers, parents, principals, aides, volunteers and supporters, we are responsible for practicing what we teach.

And so we live the principle.

We show up.

We come prepared. We work honestly and honorably. We own our actions. Day in and day out.

We seek high standards, creativity and consistency from our scholars and ourselves.

We embrace the contract for accountability that we have with our chartering authority, but also the far deeper and sacred accountability we owe to our families and scholars.

We set the example by showing, not telling.

So far, the results keep speaking for themselves.

A deeply-rooted commitment to our diverse D.C. community, growing from two campuses to 12 in five wards over the past 20 years.

A student population of 4,200 and growing.

Award-winning schools that include IB, early college and STEM programs as well as a Reggio Emilia center for preschoolers.

A 95 percent graduation rate — and for those graduates, a stunning 100 percent college acceptance with scholarships exceeding $85 million in just the past few years.

Because we believe that exemplary achievement is not possible without accountability, we deliver on our promise day in and day out.

For Friendship, accountability is so much more than a principle, it’s a promise we must keep.

- Patricia A. Brantley 

(Pictures courtest of Friendship PCS)

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