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March 8, 2011
PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release

Contact: Vicky Waters, CCSA
(415) 505-7575
vwaters@calcharters.org

SAN DIEGO, California.--The San Diego Unified School District received the Authorizer of the Year Hart Vision Award today at the 18th Annual California Charter Schools Conference. The recognition comes as a result of close collaboration between the District and charter schools, including a groundbreaking partnership to fully include district charter schools in last year's parcel tax proposal. In addition, the District has fully supported the timely review of charter proposals.

"Charter schools in San Diego are thriving. This district actually reported the second largest growth in new schools in the state this school year, with more and more parents choosing to enroll their kids in charter schools," said Jed Wallace, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association. "We hope to continue working collaboratively with the District on several issues, including facilities, funding, and more."

SDUSD has authorized and oversees 41 charter schools. The schools are varied and diverse in their academic programs, and bring an array of choice to parents and students in the San Diego region. SDUSD recently worked closely with the charter school community to further common goals such as a jointly developed charter school accountability system, and a leadership forum to refine the dialogue with the charter school community.

Also, Brian Rogers, chairman of the board of Lighthouse Community Charter School in Oakland, received the Hart Vision Award for Volunteer of the Year.

Rogers also serves as the executive director of the Rogers Family Foundation, which managed the purchase, renovation and financing for Lighthouse Community Charter School's new $22 million state of the art facility last year.

Lighthouse Community Charter School serves approximately 700 students in years K-12 every year. The charter school focuses on preparing students for college or a career of their choice, according to Rogers, and he strongly advocates for supporting teachers at the school with pertinent student assessment data, a strong professional learning community and bringing in collaborative community resources in order to realize this mission.

"We have created a culture and environment to make college the ultimate goal, and it's an honor to be recognized for our efforts," said Rogers.

In addition, Rogers created the Oakland Charter School Collaborative, which is a partnership that brings together Oakland-area charter schools in order to work together on common challenges and share best practices.

"I became involved in charters because our education system needs innovation, and the only real avenue to innovate in education is through charter schools," added Rogers. "In order to create better opportunities for our children, we must put student's interests first and adult interests second. This is what the charter movement is all about. It is our duty as members of this movement to continue to communicate this message so that all kids, in all public schools, will prosper.

The Hart Vision Awards were established in 1995 in honor of Gary K. Hart, retired California State Senator and former California Secretary of Education. While serving as state senator, Hart sponsored the legislation that established California charter schools. The goals of the Hart Vision Awards are to recognize and honor annually individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and excellence in education.

For more information on the 18th Annual California Charter Schools Conference, please visit www.charterconference.org.

About the California Charter Schools Association*

The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 912 charter public schools and more than 365,000 students in the state of California. The Vision of the California Charter Schools Association is to usher in a new era in public education so all students attend independent, innovative, accountable schools of choice. The Mission of the California Charter Schools Association is to influence the legislative and policy environments, leverage collective advocacy, and provide resources to support our members in developing and operating high quality, charter schools reflective of California's student population. For more information, please visit www.calcharters.org.

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