SOURCE: California Charter Schools Association

March 27, 2007 17:53 ET

Los Angeles-Based Watts Learning Center Named "Charter School of the Year"

High-Performing Inner-City Charter School Crack 800 on API, Outperforming Most Schools in District

SAN DIEGO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 27, 2007 -- The California Charter Schools Association today recognized the Watts Learning Center in Los Angeles as "Charter School of the Year" annual Hart Vision Award recipient. Founder and CEO Gene Fisher accepted the award on behalf of the Watts Learning Center at this year's 14th Annual California Charter Schools Conference in San Diego.

"Charter schools such as the Watts Learning Center demonstrate the effectiveness of combining innovation, parental involvement and accountability within the public school system," said Caprice Young, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association. "The Watts Learning Center's pioneering methods and programs have made it a respected leader in public education reform."

The Watts Learning Center's Academic Performance Index (API) score has steadily risen from 577 to this year's 803 -- earning the Watts Learning Center the Title I Academic Achievement Award in 2004 and 2005 and the California Distinguished School Award in 2004. With their distinguished academic record, the Watts Learning Center outperforms many neighboring traditional public schools by as much as 200 points on the API.

The Watts Learning Center students have been exposed to the world, having visited South Africa, Senegal and The Gambia in recent years to broaden students' cultural experiences and feel that the world is accessible.

"We believe that we're developing more than strong academic learners, we're developing global citizens," said Fisher of the Watts Learning Center. "In our increasingly global environment, we must educate and train our students to be competitive, especially in sciences and in math, from the moment they enter Kindergarten. Learning is also about exploration and the Watts Learning Center provides our students and parents with culturally-enriching opportunities, including international field trips and other activities, in order to extend their educational experiences."

Established in 1995, the Hart Vision Awards were created in honor of retired California Senator and former California Secretary of Education Gary Hart. During his tenure as legislator, Hart authored California's charter school legislation. For this reason, the California Charter Schools Association honors his legacy by presenting annual awards to charter educators for their contributions to educational reform and improved student achievement. Since its inception, the Association has presented more than 40 Hart Vision Awards to California charter schools.

About the California Charter Schools Association

The California Charter Schools Association is California's premier charter school membership organization and is the public voice for California's 618 charter schools that currently serve 220,000 students. The Association's mission is to improve student achievement by strengthening and expanding high-quality charter public schools throughout California.

Contact Information

    Gary Larson
    Vice President of Communications
    California Charter Schools Association
    (415) 722-0127