|Emma is soon to be....get ready for it.....an UGLY Eagle! Yes, that's really the mascot. The UGLY Eagle.|
Seriously, guys. It can't possibly be time already!!! It's hard to believe that we are already to the point of applying, going to high school meetings, thinking about 4 year paths to graduation and beyond.....
It was in a bit of daze that we walked into the gym of our future high school home last night. Info night was indeed filled with info.
Our local high school, that we would normally just feed right into automatically, became a charter school 5 years ago. It's numbers are staggering as far as improvements in test scores, as well as in the amount of money coming into the school.
While these numbers have been steadily going up over the past 5 years, as of last year, they had a 98% graduation rate. For CA, that is high. Locally, we have some schools in the 78% - 85% range, which is about the state average. Also mind blowing for us was to learn that 97% of last years graduates went on to some form of college. That is very high. Senior year seems to be built totally around making sure every student is on top of the whole college application process, whether that be a vocational college, 2 year or 4 year college. The goal is that every student have a plan, path, and direction, and it's in action well before graduation.
There are also 4 academies, with limited space, and an application/interview process. Engineering, medical, performing arts, and community service. We have a separate night to go learn about the academies, so I don't know much about those yet.
If you know anything about CA schools, it's most likely that we have no money. Charter schools are not bound by the same financial rules as other schools within the district. Without getting too technical, they can go after their own money (via grants and those sorts of things), and it stays at the school, it does not go to the district. Also, they school decides how it will be spent at the school, the district does not have a say. That said....this high school, I believe it's been 2 years ago, but not positive, received a 6.7 million dollar grant. Just this one school, because it's a charter and could go after a grant that was out there without jumping through the hoops, or dividing it among other schools in the district....one school....6.7 million. Gasp. They've already built a new foot ball field and are working still on the stadium. They spent 1 million on technology last year alone.
Now, of course.....not being governed by the district, having that much money, it's not without its problems. The school is governed by it's own board....and man o man, following the drama and fighting, hiring and firing (which also can happen w/o going through the district, the board can vote you in or out), corruption with football recruiting, violating sanctions, drastically raising salaries (also not through the district), having your executive director fire everyone and fill the board with his buddies, which means he ultimately controls every vote and can potentially do whatever he wants.....that is the down side to a charter. They've had a very public, ugly two years. Yet....academically, the school continues to excel.
So, the time has arrived. The application process opened yesterday morning. By the time of the meeting last night, they had received 403 freshman applications. Emma's was one of them! We live in what used to be the boundary for the school (now there is no boundary because they accept applications from everywhere), and because of where we live, we are first in line. So far, each of the past 5 years, they have accepted 100% of applications from kids living in the old boundary area...so we should be in. They expect to have 200-300 kids on the wait list this year, with 100 from the wait list getting in. There's a lottery to determine your place on the wait list.
It is with both excitement, and disbelief that I have begun filling in my planner with high school meeting dates, deadlines, freshman week, and the first day of the 2016 school year. Did I mention they set their own school year schedule, and start the first week of August?? I feel like life just fast forwarded somehow!