Excelsior Charter Schools provides students with a fully accredited, blended learning program that enables students in grades 7-12 to develop, execute and achieve a strong vision for their future. Excelsior combines independent study with on-campus classes to give students a balance of autonomy, guidance and support to ensure their success. The focus of Excelsior is to provide a motivating, challenging and safe learning opportunity that will prepare students not just for graduation, but also for careers and lifelong success.
At Excelsior, education is designed around the student. Every student is assigned to a credentialed teacher we call ‘Facilitators’. The student and their parent/guardian meet with their Facilitator at least once a month. The ‘team’ of teacher, parent and student, develop a Personal Life Plan (PLP) for each student. The PLP is designed to engage students in their most important school project – their life after high school. The team also works to equip each student with the academic skills they need to achieve that plan. Academic skills alone do not guarantee success. We also work to equip students with ‘Success Skills’; initiative, responsibility, communication, social etiquette and teamwork.
Charter schools are public schools open to any child, free of charge. They offer options to families that may be dissatisfied with their local schools, but cannot afford private school.
Choice is a powerful tool for parents seeking educational equity and equal access to quality education for their children.
California charter schools serve a large number of students traditionally considered to be low-achieving or otherwise “at-risk,” educating some of the state’s most underserved students, allowing them to achieve success where the conventional system failed to do so.
When enrollment requests exceed the number of seats, charter schools are required by law to hold a public lottery to determine who will attend. Because they are free and open to all, charter public schools do not engage in selective admissions policies.
Like all public schools, charter schools understand their responsibility to serve all students, and charter schools are committed to serving students with exceptional needs. In fact, because charter schools are designed to have more flexibility than traditional public schools, they are uniquely situated to provide innovative, high-quality educational services to students with unique learning needs.
Like California’s population, charter school students are incredibly diverse. As of the 2011-12 school year, 46% of state charter students are Hispanic/Latino, 32% are White, 10% are African American, and 12% are other (Asian, Indian, Pacific Islander, Filipino, Multi-racial subgroups).
They are held accountable by their authorizer (usually the local school district) and, most importantly, by the families they serve. When a team of school developers submit their charter petition, they must define their academic goals In order to be authorized, their goals must be rigorous. In order to stay open, they must meet or exceed those goals. A charter school that neglects its academic duties will have difficulty remaining open.
They must abide by health, safety and civil rights laws, and cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex or national origin. Charter governance bodies are subject to various business regulations, such as ethical financial practices, and public body rules, such as open meeting laws. Charter schools also have oversight from their authorizers (usually the local school district, county office of education or State Board of Education). In fact, the very name charter refers to the “contract” that the school enters into with their authorizer. Authorizers review financial reports, have the authority to conduct audits, determine if the school is to be renewed at the end of the charter’s term (usually every five years) and can revoke a charter for certain reasons within charter law if the school is not meeting the terms of its charter.
The incredible growth in charter schools – more than 1,130 schools serving more than 500,000 students in 2014, as well as long waiting lists for most charter schools – suggest that families believe charters to be a common sense solution to their education needs. As outlined in CCSA’s Portrait of the Movement, for families in urban centers, charters represent a beacon of hope – charters serving low-income populations are much more likely to be high-performing than non-charters serving low-income populations.
Charter public schools are an important part of the state’s public school system, providing a space for innovation, educational opportunity in low-income communities and unique curriculum options. Charter schools have been reinventing public education in California for nearly 20 years and most Californians, according to public opinion research, consider them a “bright spot” in the educational landscape