10/1/10 Charter News Round-Up

October 1, 2010

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San Diego-Area Charter Leader Honored with Prestigious National Prize

Larry Rosenstock, the CEO and founding principal of High Tech High (HTH), was honored with The Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education, which annually recognizes outstanding individuals who have dedicated themselves to creating a smarter, better world. HTH has grown from one school to 10 in the last decade and is approved to open up to 48 schools in California. Serving a diverse student population that is selected by a blind zip-code based lottery, over 60 percent of students are racial or ethnic minorities and 25 percent are low-income. Nearly all HTH graduates are accepted to college. About 80 percent pursue bachelor's degrees and about 35 percent were the first in their families to attend college. The innovative and high-achieving charter schools emphasize student projects, real-world problem-solving assignments and internships with local businesses and community organizations. Read more about the 2010 McGraw Prize winners.

Charter Schools Poised to Grow

A recent San Francisco Chronicle article points to the nearly 90 charter schools that may open this fall, in part because "flexibility is allowing charter schools to grow as other public schools are undoing a series of education reforms that began more than a decade ago when California's state budget was flush with cash." Last year, California was home to 809 charter schools serving 341,000 students-- an increase of about 56,000 more students enrolled in charter schools from the year before.

Charter Management Organization Receives Grant to Replicate and Expand

Aspire Public Schools, the largest charter management organization (CMO) in California, was the only California CMO, out of a dozen grantees, to share $50 million from the U.S. Department of Education's Charter School Grant Program. This is the first time the federal government has targeted high-performing charter organizations for replication. Aspire, with 30 schools serving 10,000 students in the Bay Area, Sacramento, Stockton, and Los Angeles, will add 15 schools with the money, serving an additional 4,500 students, according to the Sacramento Business Journal article. Aspire also got a $1 million donation last month from Oprah Winfrey's Angel Network.

California Charter Leaders on How to Address School Improvement

Two California charter school leaders--Yvonne Chan, principal of the Vaughn Next Century Learning Center, one of the most successful urban public schools in the U.S., and Larry Rosenstock, CEO and founding principal of High Tech High--participated in a recent summit focusing on innovative solutions to address school improvement nationwide. According to the press release, the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation's summit brought together some of the best minds in education.

Setting the Record Straight on Charter Schools and Special Education

The Half Moon Bay Review recently published a letter to the editor from CCSA's Vice President for Northern California, Nick Driver. The letter was written in response to misinformation about charter school's service of students with special needs. "Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that serve all students, including those with special needs," wrote Driver. "In fact, California charter schools serve more than 19,000 special education students."

CCSA Joins "Done Waiting" Coalition

CCSA has joined Done Waiting, a coalition of education, civil-rights and business non-profit partners from across the nation. The Association and other Done Waiting partners (including the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, The Center for Education Reform, DonorsChoose.org, and state-level groups from across the county) are unified in our quest to ensure that every child in America has access to great schools and great teachers.

For too long, we waited as we spent more money, reduced class size, and chased the latest fad. We are Done Waiting. We know what works and we need more of it now. The kids can't wait. You shouldn't either. Make the difference. Join the movement.

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If you are a member of the news media, please contact Emily Galbreth at: (412) 559-8571 or egalbreth@calcharters.org.

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