October 2010 Spotlight on Success

October 15, 2010

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The charter school movement is dependent upon the hard work of visionary founders, leaders, and authorizers, plus dedicated teachers and volunteers and inspired students. The Association is proud to recognize several of them this month.

Congratulations to Aspire - Capitol Heights Academy (Sacramento), Hawthorne Math and Science Academy (Hawthorne), KIPP Heartwood Academy (San Jose), Synergy Charter Academy (Los Angeles), and The Preuss School UCSD (San Diego). The five California charter schools have been named 2010 Blue Ribbon Schools. The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools whose students achieve at very high levels or have made significant progress and helped close gaps in achievement especially among disadvantaged and minority students. Read the CCSA statement on these schools' achievement.

The Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools (Los Angeles), Aspire Public Schools (Oakland), Green Dot Public Schools (Los Angeles), and The College-Ready Promise (Los Angeles) Charter Management Organizations will host Broad Residents in Urban Education during the 2010-2012 residency period.

The Broad Residency is a management development program that places talented executives with private and civic sector experience and advanced degrees from top business, public policy and law schools into two-year, full-time, paid positions at the top levels of urban school districts, state and federal departments of education and leading charter management organizations. Broad Residents work to improve central office management practices so that more money reaches the classroom, teachers receive effective support and students receive a quality education. During their two-year "residency," participants receive intensive professional development and access to a nationwide network of education reform leaders, which enables them to actively share their successes and experiences as they work to improve the delivery of quality education.

Every October cities and citizens around the world celebrate the Earth Charter, a U.N.-commissioned declaration of principles for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society for the 21st century. Each year Citizens for Peaceful Resolutions coordinates Ventura County's Earth Charter Summit and presents awards to community activists who best embody the Earth Charter's core values. This year, Lisa Hildebrand, director of education, and Mary Galvin, director of operations, at the Ventura Charter School of Arts and Global Education will receive Youth Education and Outreach Awards from the group.

Larry Rosenstock, CEO and Founding Principal of High Tech High, has been awarded The Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education. In 2000, Rosenstock created High Tech High, a public charter school that has expanded to nine K-12 schools serving more than 3,500 students, nearly 100 percent of whom are accepted to college. Emphasizing hands-on student projects, real-world problem-solving assignments and internships that excite students to learn, these schools are serving as an influential model for reform. Rosenstock, according to the esteemed board of judges, "is demonstrating how to go beyond teaching students about math and science by turning them into scientists and mathematicians."

Preuss School UCSD teacher Kelly Kovacic, California's 2010 Teacher of the Year, has recently claimed another honor. Kelly was named one of San Diego Metropolitan Magazine's "40 Under 40." The award recognizes "San Diego's finest young people... leaders in whose hands lie our region's future."

Arise in Alameda County and College Ready Promise were among 62 winning applicants of the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant competition. The five-year $1.2 billion TIF program seeks to strengthen the education profession by rewarding excellence, attracting teachers and principals to high-need and hard to staff areas, and providing all teachers and principals with the feedback and support they need to succeed. Winning applicants were selected by a group of 60 independent, expert peer reviewers. They were judged on their comprehensive plans to develop, reward and support effective teachers and principals in high-need schools, based on evaluations that include multiple measures, including student growth.

Applicants also were required to demonstrate a high level of local educator support and involvement, and a plan for financial sustainability after the five-year grant award period. Applicants received additional points for using value added measures, attracting effective teachers in hard to staff subject or specialty areas, and for being a first-time applicant.

Four students at the Magnolia Science Academy in Reseda have earned AP Scholar Awards in recognition of their exceptional achievements on AP Exams. Galadriel Brady, Benjamin Vega, Seth Ronquillo and Nedim Islam qualified for the National AP Scholar Award by earning an average score of four or higher on a five-point scale on all AP Exams taken, and scores of four or higher on eight or more of these exams.

Aspire was the only California charter management organization, 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. Aspire also got a $1 million donation last month from Oprah Winfrey's Angel Network.

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