May 2012 Spotlight on Success

May 30, 2012

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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.

Two California charter schools--Pacific Collegiate School and Northcoast Preparatory and Performing Arts Academy--made the Top 20 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best public high schools in the nation. Additionally, of the top 112 U.S. top charter high schools on the list, 43 were from California, and 18 in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) alone. Congratulations to all the schools, which are listed in CCSA's press release.

Environmental Charter High School in Lawndale was one of the first-ever winners of the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools program, and one of only 8 charter schools in the nation to receive the award. Honored schools exercise a comprehensive approach to creating "green" environments through reducing environmental impact, promoting health, and ensuring a high-quality environmental and outdoor education to prepare students with the 21st century skills and sustainability concepts needed in the growing global economy. View the full list of winners.

Daryl Bilandzija, an eighth grade English teacher at Odyssey Charter School in Altadena, won The Great American Teach-Off Round 2. His prize? A $10,000 classroom grant! Find out how he'll use the funds here.

Barbara Grimm-Marshall, founder of Arvin's Grimmway Academy, was recognized by Senator Jean Fuller as the 18th State Senate District Woman of the Year. "Barbara is the embodiment of a woman who has an exemplary record of professional and civic leadership," said Fuller in a press release. "She has done an amazing job of providing local students with the opportunity to develop skills that will prepare them for academic success and future endeavors!"

Camino Nuevo charter school parent Maria Flores was recently honored as a "Madre Campeona" (Champion Mother) by Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board president Monica Garcia at the 3rd Annual Guillermina Awards. This ceremony honors amazing women in Los Angeles that inspire, support and educate our communities. Learn more about Maria.

Vocal Rush, a student acapella group from Oakland School for the Arts, won the International Championship of High School A Cappella last month. According to the Mercury News, "the group normally has 11 members, but four of them, including all of the boys, had commitments and couldn't compete. So, with three weeks to go, De'Zhanice Kirtdoll, Vivian Allen, Sabrina Chaco, Domine Ezechukwu, Alexandra Harris, Kyana Fanene and Sarah Vela learned new songs." Read their inspiring story, and see video of them performing, here.

Christine Lozano, a student at California Virtual Academy, won a $96,000 scholarship that will make her dream of becoming a civil engineer closer to becoming a reality. She competed with 88 other people, 53 of whom were valedictorians at their high schools, for one of eight Heritage Scholarships at LeTourneau University in Texas. The Imperial Valley Press has more.

Lighthouse Community Charter School student Jessica Hernandez has been awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship.

Forty-four California charter schools have been named to the California Business for Education Excellence Honor Roll, which identifies and recognizes the highest performing public schools in California that are consistently improving academic achievement, reducing achievement gaps and helping students become academically prepared for college. Congratulations to: Aspire Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy, Leadership Public Schools - Hayward, American Indian Public Charter, American Indian Public Charter School II, American Indian Public High, KIPP Bridge Charter, Oakland Charter Academy, Oakland Charter High, Aspire Junior Collegiate Academy, Sanger Academy Charter, Dr. Olga Mohan High, Hawthorne Math and Science Academy, Environmental Charter High, Emerson Parkside Academy Charter, Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, Celerity Dyad Charter, Celerity Troika Charter, Center for Advanced Learning, Crescendo Charter Academy, Fenton Avenue Charter, Gabriella Charter, Global Education Academy, Larchmont Charter, NEW Academy Canoga Park, Pacoima Charter Elementary, Palisades Charter High, Renaissance Arts Academy, Synergy Charter Academy, View Park Preparatory Accelerated Charter, Milagro Charter, San Jose Charter Academy, Willow Creek Academ, St. HOPE Public School 7 (PS7), Sixth Street Prep, Chula Vista Learning Community Charter, Feaster Charter, Mueller Charter, Iftin Charter, King/Chavez Arts Academy, King/Chavez Primary Academy, Preuss School UCSD, Peabody Charter, KIPP Heartwood Academy, and Voices College-Bound Language Academy!

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