August 25, 2006
Stanford Schools Corporation to open new elementary charter school in East Palo Alto
On Tuesday, Aug. 29, the Stanford Schools Corporation (SSC) will launch its first public charter K-8 elementary school in East Palo Alto. Doors will open to 150 kindergarten, first- and sixth-grade students at East Palo Alto Academy:Elementary School.
"Stanford sees this as the beginning of a partnership with the Ravenswood School Districtan opportunity to work collaboratively with teachers and administrators throughout the district to meet the educational needs of the children in the East Palo Alto community. We hope that our new elementary teacher-preparation program also will serve as a pipeline of well-trained teachers for Ravenswood Schools," said Deborah Stipek, dean of Stanford's School of Education.
The elementary school, located at 2033 Pulgas Ave., shares a campus with Edison Charter Schools. Its first students were admitted through a public lottery on May 9. Three kindergarten and two first-grade classes have each enrolled 20 students per class and two sixth-grade classes have enrolled 25 students in each. The school will add two grades each year, next year adding second and seventh grade. By 2010, the school will enroll 450 students in grades K-8.
According to Principal Nicki Smith, the goal of the elementary school is for every child who enters the school in kindergarten to be proficient in literacy and mathematics by the end of third grade. Similarly, eighth-grade graduates will be readied for a rigorous high school program and planning for college.
"I'm very excited about this schoolit's a great opportunity to help children achieve their highest potential," said Smith, who previously taught in East Palo Alto. "We have an incredible staff and great support from the district." Smith most recently served as principal of Slater Elementary in Mountain View and was a principal in Arlington, Va., for seven years.
East Palo Alto Academy's enrollment reflects the community's demographics, including 60 percent Latino, 35 percent African American and 5 percent Pacific Islander students. Ninety percent of the district's students are classified as low income.
The academy's steering committee includes five Stanford School of Education faculty, who are involved with the training and professional development of the teachers and help plan the instructional program. Two graduates of the first elementary teaching cohort to graduate from the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) will teach at the school.
East Palo Alto Academy will serve as a "teaching school"a site for training STEP elementary student teachers and for developing and assessing educational innovations. "Our goal is for the school to become a resource for professional development for practicing teachers and administrators throughout the Bay Area," Stipek said.
Stanford has had success with its public charter high school, East Palo Alto Academy:High School (EPAHS), which opened in 2001 in collaboration with Aspire Public Schools and the Ravenswood City School District. EPAHS graduated 57 students in 2005 and 54 in 2006. More than 90 percent planned to attend post-secondary institutions.
In March 2006, East Palo Alto's Ravenswood school board voted unanimously to approve SSC's request for a K-12 charter from the Ravenswood City School District.