CCSA Urges Collaboration for Public School Choice 2.0 Process As Students Begin Classes in Round One PSC Charter School

August 18, 2010

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For Immediate Release
August 18, 2010

Contact: Vicky Waters, CCSA
(415) 505-7575

New Charter School José A. Castellanos, Named After WWII Hero, Will Offer Rigorous Curriculum to Boost Student Achievement

LOS ANGELES, California (August 18, 2010).--The CA Charter Schools Association (CCSA), along with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia, and Camino Nuevo's CEO Ana Ponce, welcomed students to their first day of school at José A. Castellanos, one of the first Public School Choice charter schools to open this fall in LAUSD.

The school, which was named after a World War II hero who saved the lives of some 40,000 Jews by giving them Visas that allowed them to flee to his native El Salvador, will play an important role in the transformation and reform of the public school system, offering students a rigorous curriculum, dedicated teachers, and open collaboration with parents and communities.

"Fundamentally, Public School Choice is about partnership," Mayor Villaraigosa said. "Los Angeles is home to some of the most innovative charter school operators in the country, and with the second round of Public School Choice now underway, we want to take the lessons we have learned in this first round to encourage educators and administrators to put their very best plans forward. We want to make sure that the most highly qualified applicants -- like Camino Nuevo -- are selected to run our schools."

"Public School Choice is about empowering parents, and giving them the choice to have a direct effect on their children's education," said Jed Wallace, President and CEO of the CCSA. "The opening of José A. Castellanos, and the other Public School Choice charter schools, is something very positive for our community, as the eyes of the nation are on Los Angeles, and charter school teachers and leaders are proud to be part of the efforts to revitalize public education." More than 350 students attended the first day of classes this Wednesday August 18, 2010, and enrollment is still open.

Camino Nuevo which was selected last February by the LAUSD Board as one of five charter schools for the first round of the PSC. Other groups chosen included three Mayor Partnership Schools, one community-led, and 22 teacher district-led schools.

Last year, 13 charters applied for 18 new or consistently low-performing campuses as part of the first round of the PSC.

Overall, charter schools will provide an additional 2,000 just from the schools selected under the PSC.

"The intent of the Public School Choice Resolution is to bring positive change to schools that are underperforming in our communities and to allow parents greater opportunities in choosing a school for their children," said Ana Ponce, CEO of Camino Nuevo. "We strive to educate and prepare every single student that comes through our doors to be college ready and college bound, so that they can become advocates for themselves and their communities."

"Reform the L.A. Way is about demanding excellence for all of our students, without getting stuck on whether the operator is a charter or a traditional school. We have to find and lift up the excellence in our own backyards, and we also have to open our arms to welcome partners that bring excellent practices into our classrooms," said Monica Garcia, President of the LAUSD Board. "Camino Nuevo excels at helping all kids succeed-- including students who are learning English-- and I am thrilled to welcome them to Castellanos Elementary School."

For the Second Round of the Public School Choice, high-quality charters with proven academic track records and local educators have submitted Letters of Intent to LAUSD for 17 of 18 campuses.

The deadline to submit applications is December 1, 2010, and the Board is scheduled to make a decision in February 2011.

"We are transforming LAUSD to an educational system that offers a portfolio of schools, giving parents a choice and encouraging excellence through competition," said Yolie Flores, LAUSD Board Member and author of Public School Choice. "Camino Nuevo is one of our first charter partners in this process, selected for their track record of excellence and a commitment to helping all children succeed -- exactly what all our students deserve."

About the California Charter Schools Association

The California Charter Schools Association is the membership and professional organization serving 809 charter public schools that educate more than 341,000 charter school 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