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Chartered Schools

July 24, 2012 | By Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times
In an emotional celebration, Mojave Desert parents Monday hailed a court ruling that found the school board illegally rejected their efforts under the state's "parent trigger" law to transform their failing elementary school into a charter campus. More than half the parents at Desert Trails Elementary School in Adelanto had petitioned for the change at their campus, where nearly three-fourths of sixth graders fail to read and do math at grade level. But the board invalidated more than 100 signatures and rejected the petition.
July 12, 2012 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles school officials are fighting a court order, which took effect Wednesday, that would set aside more classroom seats for charter schools - even if that means traditional schools will lose space for parent centers, computer labs, academic intervention and other services. Under state law, school districts must offer space to charters that is "reasonably equivalent" to that provided for students in traditional schools. Charters are independently run and are exempt from union contracts and many rules that apply to regular campuses.
June 24, 2012 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
A financially struggling charter school organization has paid nearly $1.4 million to settle three sexual-harassment claims against its highest-profile educator, Fernando Pullum, a widely honored musician and teacher, The Times has learned. Pullum, 54, quietly left ICEF Public Schools last year, and a school named after him folded into another campus under a different name. Pullum directed performing arts at ICEF, which developed a reputation as a strong program. ICEF was embroiled in the harassment claims last year as the charter group, which operates 13 schools in south and southwest Los Angeles, was struggling for financial survival.
June 20, 2012 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
A teacher at the center of a dispute at a well-known charter school has launched a novel defense to save his job and that of a fired colleague: They're too good to be dismissed based on their students' standardized test scores. Biology teacher Mark Friedman has been suspended, and history teacher Sonia Del Pino has been dismissed from Animo Leadership Charter High School in Inglewood, which is operated by Green Dot Public Schools. Friedman was suspended because of allegations by one or two co-workers that he bullied colleagues, negligently supervised students and inappropriately involved them in personnel decisions, and created a "negative and hostile work environment," according to a letter sent to him this month.
May 17, 2012
MUSIC Proving they have way better taste in music than you did in high school, the kids at Champs Charter School are putting on a music fest with some the best names in the L.A. beat scene, including Shlohmo and Jonwayne, alongside a bevy of food trucks and school group performances. We already feel old marveling at the precocity. Champs Charter High School, 6952 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys. noon Sat. $10.
May 11, 2012
The Los Angeles Unified school board did an injustice to hundreds of students and to the school reform movement when it overrode the recommendation of its staff and decided not to close a low-performing charter school. Academia Semillas del Pueblo in El Sereno is run by dedicated educators who are striving to provide their kindergarten-through-eighth-grade students with a safe environment, a lively and enriched curriculum, as well as skills in three languages. The school has been controversial because one of those languages is an indigenous language of Mexico, and part of the school's mission is to instill in children an understanding and appreciation of their cultural heritage.
May 7, 2012 | Howard Blume
A court ruling has invalidated the lease of a high-performing charter school in Glassell Park, threatening it with closure when the school year ends in June. The Alliance Environmental Science and Technology School, whose students have some of the highest test scores in the Los Angeles Unified School District, will lose its campus under a ruling last week by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ann I. Jones. Her ruling came in a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Community College District filed by a coalition of community groups over the college district's compliance with environmental laws.
May 6, 2012 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
Things would be easier if Academia Semillas del Pueblo didn't have such low test scores. Then, the focus could be on the El Sereno charter school's International Baccalaureate program. Or on its trilingual curriculum: English, Spanish and Nahuatl, an indigenous language of Mexico. Or on the two co-founders dedicated to teaching culture that stretches back to before colonial Mexico. Instead, the focus shifted in recent weeks to the campus' test results. Compared to schools statewide that serve similar students and when matched against campuses in the neighborhood, results are low. Last year, the school's score on the state's Academic Performance Index dropped 92 points to 624; the state target is 800. Just 22% of students tested at grade level in math, 30% in English.
April 28, 2012 | By Rick Rojas, Los Angeles Times
ALBUQUERQUE — In the nine months since the Granada Hills Charter High School Academic Decathlon team began studying for the competition, it's racked up an impressive list of accolades. The group took home victories locally, beating out all other teams in the Los Angeles Unified School District — and statewide, besting teams from across California. On Saturday, for the second year in a row, Granada Hills clinched the national title, outperforming 32 other teams. And this year — with a score of 54,081 points — the students claimed the highest score ever at the national competition.
April 25, 2012 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles school district officials are moving to retake control of Birmingham Community Charter High School, citing numerous alleged problems at the campus that broke away from the system three years ago. L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy has faulted the leaders of the Lake Balboa campus for allegedly mishandling student expulsions and services to disabled students and for failing to respond adequately to allegations of racial discrimination. School officials said they are looking into the allegations, but are aware of no major problems.
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