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June 13, 2012

Graduates Reinforce the Successful Charter Group's Commitment to "College for Certain"

Aspire Golden State College Preparatory Academy (Golden State) held a commencement ceremony for its graduates on Friday, June 8, all of whom were accepted to four-year colleges or universities. This graduation is one of five for Aspire Public Schools, California's highest-performing large public school system serving predominantly low-income students. For the third consecutive year, 100 percent of graduating seniors from Aspire high schools have been accepted to four year colleges or universities. Golden State, whose student population is more than 75 percent low-income and 90 percent minority, has seen all its graduating seniors accepted to four-year colleges and universities. This year's Golden State graduates have been accepted to prestigious colleges and universities across the nation, including Howard University, University of California - Santa Cruz and Xavier University of Louisiana.

"Golden State's graduates prove what is possible when students, families and school communities come together to make 'College for Certain' a reality,'" said James Willcox, CEO of Aspire Public Schools. "Our students have worked incredibly hard to get to this point, with a focus on attending college and earning their college degree. I congratulate all of our graduates, and look forward to seeing all that they will accomplish in communities across California."

As the oldest of three with her younger sister enrolled in Golden State and a one-year old daughter, Perez will be the first member of her family to attend college when she begins at California State University, East Bay this fall. Perez credits her strong school community and a culture of support and mentoring with her pursuit of a college degree.

"I am extremely proud to be the first in my family to attend college and hope to set an example for my siblings and daughter," said Christina Perez. "Our daily 'College Summit' class enabled me to apply and prepare to attend college with the guidance of my counselor and teachers. Without the support of my principal, teachers, counselor and school community, especially during the difficult times during my high school years, I would not be going to college this fall."

In what is believed to be the first time in the country for any charter management organization, another Aspire school, Aspire Benjamin Holt College Preparatory Academy in Stockton will graduate eight students who have attended Aspire schools for the entirety of their K-12 education who are all attending college in the fall. Across the state, 168 students will receive high school diplomas from Aspire schools, the largest graduating class in Aspire's history. All of these graduates have been accepted to college, including prestigious schools such as Boston College, Howard University, Middlebury College and University of California - Berkeley.

Aspire attributes its success in sending California's low-income population to college in part to its culture of 'College for Certain.' All Aspire classrooms are named after their teacher's college or university and students participate in weekly college pep rallies. Aspire offers students the opportunity to earn college credits throughout high school, and supports juniors and seniors throughout the college application process with weekly workshops.

About Aspire Public Schools

Aspire Public Schools is a nonprofit organization that currently operates 34 high-performing, open-enrollment public charter schools serving 12,000 students in underserved communities across California and will open schools in Memphis, TN in fall, 2013. Aspire is one of the highest-performing public school systems in California, delivering a rigorous 'College for Certain' education to students in grades K-12. An unrelenting focus on college preparedness led to 100 percent of graduating Aspire seniors being accepted to four year colleges or universities in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Aspire offers a high-quality education in six cities throughout California: Los Angeles, Oakland, Stockton, Sacramento, Modesto and East Palo Alto. Visit Aspire Public Schools at www.aspirepublicschools.org.

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