Los Angeles, Calif. (May 28, 2010) — With graduation season fast approaching, Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, a network of L.A. charter schools, is celebrating a remarkable achievement: 95% of high school graduates are heading to college this fall.
Of 646 students graduating from six charter high schools in June, 609 will go on to a college or university this year. Approximately 70% will attend a four-year school, including such world-class institutions as Harvard, Yale, Cornell and the University of California, Berkeley. In total, graduates will enroll at more than 90 different schools in California and 18 other states, having earned more than $4.7 million in scholarship funding to do so.
One Alliance school, Ouchi High School in Crenshaw, is sending every one of its 93 graduates on to higher education this year.
The Alliance's striking success in preparing students for college is especially impressive considering that the six charter high schools operate primarily in low-income neighborhoods such as Huntington Park and South-Central, serving some of the city’s most disadvantaged students. Overall, 92% of Alliance students qualify for government-subsidized meals and 23% do not speak English as their first language.
"I could not be more proud of the students and dedicated staff of our high schools, who are helping us live up to the promise of our name," said Judy Burton, President and CEO of Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, which operates 16 charter middle and high schools in the city. "Our 95% college enrollment rate is more evidence that the Alliance model of small, personalized schools; high expectations; and highly qualified teachers can truly unlock the potential of inner-city students."
Ofelia Carrillo is one Alliance student who has beaten the odds. Though she was raised by a single mother who earns less than $15,000 a year selling beauty supplies, Carrillo, 18, was accepted to some of the nation's top schools. After graduating from the Stern Math and Science School she will attend Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. "People who are drawn to charter schools look at education in a vastly different way. Students here are motivated and driven," says Carrillo, a Boyle Heights resident whose tuition will be paid by a Gates Millennium scholarship. "It's a much stronger student-teacher dynamic."
Another senior, Diana Castro, is heading to Yale, where she plans to study math and art history. The daughter of two Mexican immigrants, Castro says the rigor of Gertz-Ressler High School helped prepare her for the Ivy League. "The classes are harder than at other schools, so I've gotten used to more workload," says Castro, 18, pointing to class days that are an hour longer than at L.A.'s traditional high schools. "You really learn how to manage your time."
Alliance graduations will be held between June 22 and June 25 in such notable settings as Royce Hall at UCLA, the Galen Center at USC and the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center.
About Alliance College-Ready Public Schools
Alliance College-Ready Public Schools creates high-performance public schools in traditionally underachieving communities of Los Angeles. Since opening its first school in 2004, the Alliance has grown to 16 sites enrolling nearly 5,600 students with an average daily attendance rate of more than 96%. Each Alliance school promotes a culture of high expectations for every student.
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