Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa, Education Leaders Welcome Innovative Charter School to Watts

Dec 16, 2010, 16:21 ET from Alliance College-Ready Public Schools

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 16, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- A unique charter high school designed to develop 21st-century learners and leaders was formally opened on Thursday, when Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other dignitaries presided over a ribbon-cutting ceremony at College-Ready Academy High School #11.

CRAHS #11, one of 18 high-performing charter schools operated by Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, opened this year in a new $9 million building in Watts, near the iconic Watts Towers. The school serves approximately 150 ninth-grade students, and will grow to approximately 550 students in grades 9-12 over the next three years.

Thursday's ceremony was a chance for Villaraigosa, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, California State Assemblymember Isadore Hall III and other dignitaries to welcome the school, which makes widespread use of modern computer technology to help develop strong critical thinking skills and create socially responsible, globally minded citizens.

"Alliance College-Ready Public Schools are shining stars in the thriving and innovative constellation of Los Angeles charter schools," Mayor Villaraigosa said. "This organization plays an important role in ensuring that students from every background can look forward to a brighter future, and I am thrilled to see them serve more students with their results-driven model."

To help deliver a personalized learning experience, every student at CRAHS #11 receives their own laptop computer to use in school, providing access to electronic learning materials and multimedia instruction.

Since opening its first campus in 2004, Alliance College-Ready Public Schools has grown to 18 schools serving nearly 7,000 students in traditionally underperforming and overlooked areas of Los Angeles. Ninety-nine percent of Alliance students are African-American or Latino and 92% are considered low-income. Alliance operating costs are 30% lower than those of traditional public schools in Los Angeles.

Last spring, 95% of Alliance high school graduates enrolled in colleges and universities in 19 states and the District of Columbia, including Yale, Harvard, Cornell and Williams.

"With the right opportunity, every young person has the potential to excel academically," said Judy Burton, the Alliance's President and CEO. "We are very pleased that our culture of college-readiness and high expectations will help students in this deserving community fulfill their potential for many years to come."

ExED, a Los Angeles-based non-profit provider of business services to charter schools, and JPMorgan Chase were instrumental in making CRAHS #11 a reality. Approximately $8 million of the $9 million cost of the three-story school was provided by ExED through the use of New Market Tax Credits, an innovative public/private funding mechanism. ExED's capital partner is JPMorgan Chase, which selected CRAHS #11 to be the first recipient of its $325 million commitment to finance high-performing charter schools throughout the country.

About Alliance College-Ready Public Schools

Alliance College-Ready Public Schools creates high-performance charter schools in traditionally underachieving communities of Los Angeles. Since opening its first school in 2004, the Alliance has grown to 18 sites serving nearly 7,000 students. Each school promotes a culture of high expectations and college-readiness for every student.

SOURCE Alliance College-Ready Public Schools