June 8, 2006
Member of 'Little Rock 9' to speak at East Palo Alto High commencement
Civil rights activist Minniejean Brown Trickey, a member of the "Little Rock 9"a group of African Americans who, as teenage students in 1957, had to contend with belligerent white opposition to their attendance at Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., during desegregation efforts therewill be the keynote speaker at East Palo Alto High School's (EPAHS) graduation, which is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Monday, June 12, in Memorial Auditorium. The Stanford-operated charter school will graduate its second class of 53 seniors.
Established in 2001, EPAHS is the first public high school serving East Palo Alto's community since Ravenswood High was closed a quarter century ago as part of a desegregation order. This year, more than 90 percent of the school's graduating seniors plan to attend postsecondary institutions. Of the class of 2006, 42 percent have been admitted to four-year colleges, an increase of 30 percent from the inaugural class. These include the Davis and Santa Cruz campuses of the University of California, the University of San Francisco, California State University-Monterey Bay, Sonoma State, Menlo College and Notre Dame de Namur.
East Palo Alto High features a project-based curriculum tied to rigorous standards and performance assessments focused on college-preparatory academics and the students' own interests. The school, which serves 300 students, is a professional development school for the Stanford Teacher Education Program, which supports the curriculum and instruction and provides student teachers. About 60 percent of the high school's teachers are graduates of the Stanford School of Education.
The high school serves a student population that is 67 percent Latino, 20 percent African American and 13 percent Pacific Islander. Ninety percent of students in the Ravenswood District are classified as low income, and two-thirds of the school's students speak a language other than English at home. Two-thirds of the students' parents have not finished high school.
This fall, Stanford also will launch a public K-8 charter school in East Palo Alto. The school will open with Kindergarten, first and sixth grade classes and phase in additional grades each year. Last month, 130 students were admitted by lottery to the school. By 2010, Stanford's two charter schools expect to serve 750 students.
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