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LA Unified Schools Top Lists of California’s Best Charters

LA School Report | August 22, 2013

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USC RossierLos Angeles Unified schools were named the leading elementary/middle and high school charters in California, according to the seventh-annual USC School Performance Dashboard, a report that was released today.

Synergy Charter Academy was ranked best in the elementary/middle school category, and High Tech LA topped the high schools. LA Unified placed six charters among the top elementary/middle schools and four among the top high school charters.

The report draws on data from 2005 to 2012 to rate charter schools across multiple measures of financial health and academic performance, including state test scores and classroom spending, said the press release announcing the findings. For the first time, charters at the high school level were also judged on curriculum rigor, graduation rate and college-readiness.

“This year’s USC School Performance Dashboard drills further into the multiple dimensions of each California charter school, revealing not only the greater and lesser strengths of each, but also how each is performing relative to other charters and to other California public schools,” Guilbert C. Hentschke, a report co-author and professor at the USC Rossier School of Education, said in the press release. “The overall picture conveys more than extreme variation in charter school performance; it conveys extreme variation in the effectiveness of charter school oversight.”

The Top 10 California charter elementary/middle schools, in order:

1. Synergy Charter Academy (Los Angeles)
2. Gabriella Charter (Los Angeles)
3. KIPP San Francisco Bay Academy (San Francisco)
4. KIPP Los Angeles College Preparatory (Los Angeles)
5. KIPP Heartwood Academy (Santa Clara)
6. Celerity Nascent Charter (Los Angeles)
7. KIPP Summit Academy (Alameda)
8. Endeavor College Preparatory Charter (Los Angeles)
9. Wilder’s Preparatory Academy Charter (Los Angeles)
10. Global Education Academy (Los Angeles)

The Top 10 California charter high schools, in order:

1. High Tech LA (Los Angeles)
2. University High (Fresno)
3. Leadership Public Schools – Hayward (Alameda)
4. Hawthorne Math and Science Academy (Los Angeles)
5. Preuss School UCSD (San Diego)
6. Alliance Gertz-Ressler High (Los Angeles)
7. Camino Nuevo Charter High (Los Angeles)
8. Summit Preparatory Charter High (San Mateo)
9. Orange County School of the Arts (Orange)
10. Renaissance Arts Academy (Los Angeles)

All of the USC Dashboard’s Top 10 charter elementary schools serve large populations of students from low-income families, the release said. Four of those schools – all in Los Angeles County – have more than 90 percent of their students qualifying for the federal Free or Reduced Price Meals program: KIPP Los Angeles College Preparatory, Celerity Nascent Charter, Global Education Academy and Synergy Charter Academy.

Last year saw the highest growth rate in the history of California’s charter school movement, with a 17 percent jump in the number of new charter campuses over the year before.

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