A College Bonanza for Alliance College-Ready Public Schools

95% of graduates from six L.A. charter high schools head to college, including Harvard and Yale

Jun 10, 2010, 16:16 ET from Alliance College-Ready Public Schools

LOS ANGELES, June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- This graduation season, Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, a network of L.A. charter schools, is celebrating a remarkable achievement: 95% of high school graduates are heading to college.

Of 646 students graduating from six charter high schools this month, 609 are pursuing higher education this fall. Approximately 70% will attend a four-year school, including such world-class institutions as Harvard, Yale, Cornell and the University of California, Berkeley. In total, graduates will enroll at more than 90 schools in California and 18 other states, having earned more than $4.7 million in scholarship funding to do so, including prestigious scholarships from the Gates and Posse foundations.

What makes this success especially impressive is the fact that Alliance schools operate in low-income neighborhoods, serving some of L.A.'s most disadvantaged students. Overall, 92% of Alliance students qualify for government-subsidized meals and 23% do not speak English as their first language.

"I could not be more proud of our students and dedicated staff, who are helping us live up to the promise of our name," said Judy Burton, President and CEO of Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, which operates 16 charter middle and high schools. "Our 95% college enrollment rate is more evidence that the Alliance model of small, personalized schools; high expectations; and highly qualified teachers can truly unlock the potential of inner-city students."

Ofelia Carrillo is one Alliance student who has beaten the odds. Raised by a single mother who earns less than $15,000 a year selling beauty supplies, Carrillo, 18, was accepted to some of the nation's top schools. After graduating from the Stern Math and Science School she will attend Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. "People who are drawn to charter schools look at education in a vastly different way," she says. "Students here are motivated and driven."

Another senior, Diana Castro, is heading to Yale, where she plans to study math and art history. The daughter of two Mexican immigrants, Castro says the rigor of Gertz-Ressler High School has prepared her for the Ivy League. "The classes are harder than at other schools, so I'm used to more workload," says Castro, 18, pointing to class days an hour longer than at L.A.'s traditional high schools. "You really learn how to manage your time."

Alliance graduations will be held between June 22 and June 25 in such notable settings as Royce Hall at UCLA and the Galen Center at USC.

About Alliance College-Ready Public Schools

Alliance College-Ready Public Schools creates high-performance public schools in traditionally underachieving communities of Los Angeles. Since opening its first school in 2004, the Alliance has grown to 16 sites enrolling nearly 5,600 students with an average daily attendance rate of 95%. Each Alliance school promotes a culture of high expectations for every student.

SOURCE Alliance College-Ready Public Schools