Black and Latino Leaders of High-Performing Charter Schools to Join Capitol Hill Briefing on Boosting Achievement in Underserved Communities

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Washington, D.C.- On Monday, April 11, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and Black Alliance for Educational Options will co-host a Capitol Hill briefing, "Charting a New Path Forward: The Rise of Black and Latino-Led Charter Schools," to highlight high-performing charter schools led by leaders of color.

Black and Latino school leaders are creating culturally relevant, community-centric and high-performing schools that serve students who have persistently struggled academically. Charter public schools offer these school leaders the flexibility to design a school that meets the needs of their communities which are often underserved. These unique schools are also engaged in their communities as partners for change, and are catalysts for positively altering the trajectory of thousands of lives. This briefing will explore why black and Latino parents are clamoring for more of these schools, and how school leaders have responded to community demand by creating more high-performing educational options.

A panel of five charter public school leaders from diverse backgrounds who will discuss the opportunities and challenges in designing and operating a charter school. The panel will be moderated by Rick Cruz, vice president of mission advancement for Americas Promise Alliance.

WHAT:A Capitol Hill briefing showcasing the work of black-led and Latino-led and/or created charter schools that are providing a high-quality education option.

WHO:KaraBobroff, Native American Community Academy- Albuquerque, NM

Karen Kelley-Ariwoola, Harvest Network of Schools- Minneapolis, MN

Alisha Morgan,Ivy Prep Academy- Atlanta, GA

Emilio Pack,Math and Science College Preparatory- Los Angeles, CA

Ana Ponce, Camino Nuevo Charter Academy- Los Angeles, CA

WHERE:2168 Rayburn House Office Building, the Gold Room

WHEN:Monday, April 11, 2016
2:00 p.m. 3:30 p.m.

More information on the speakers:

KaraBobroff: Native American Community Academy (NACA) Albuquerque, N.M.
Executive Director and Principal
Recently identified as one of the Best Emerging Social Entrepreneurs in the country, Ms.Bobroffwas awarded a national Echoing Green Fellowship to establish NACA as one of the first urban academies to support language, culture, health, and college preparation for youth. Through her work, NACA has been selected as the first Collaborative Charter in the state of New Mexico by the Albuquerque Public School District. She began her educational career teaching behaviorally disordered middle school students in Albuquerque, served as assistant principal in APS at a low-income urban school for two years and for four years at a Distinguished School in Marin County, Calif.

NACAs student body is diverse with many cultural and ethnic backgrounds represented, including students from more than 37 different tribes. The NACA curriculum and mission serves as the basis for The NACA Inspired Schools Network (NISN). NISN focuses on building a movement of students, families, and educators to create excellent schools relevant to the communities they serve. NISN works with fellows who are committed to Indigenous communities to establish schools in New Mexico and throughout the country that will create strong leaders who are academically prepared secure in their identities, healthy, and ultimately transforming their communities.

Karen Kelley-Ariwoola: Harvest Preparatory Network- Minneapolis, Minn.
Chief Officer of External Relations

A veteran philanthropic executive and community leader, Ms. Kelley-Ariwoolajoined the Harvest Network of Schools as Chief Officer of Strategic Alliances in July, 2013. The Harvest Network of Schools serves 1,200 primarily African American K-8 scholars in three schools. She was the vice president of community philanthropy at The Minneapolis Foundation where she served for 18 years prior to her departure in 2012. Ms. Kelley-Ariwoola is a sought-after advisor on community issues affecting children and families, including serving as an appointed member of mayoral task forces on youth.

The Harvest Network of Schools serves 1,200 primarily African American K-8 scholars in three schools, with a plan to grow to 3,800 scholars by 2025.

In 2014, all three Harvest Network schools outperformed the Minneapolis district and Minnesota statewide averages in math. Male students at Harvest Network schools also outperformed the statewide average for white students All Harvest Network schools use a unique gap-closing framework focused on student achievement at the core, supported by quality teaching, a positive school culture, a longer school day and longer school year that results in 35% more class time for students.

Alisha Morgan: Ivy Preparatory Academy-Atlanta, Ga.
Executive Director

A former state representative and strong advocate for high quality charter schools, Ms. Morgan is the executive director of Ivy Preparatory Academies, a network of single gender college prep public charter schools in the metro area.During her time in the state legislature Ms. Morgan was a co-sponsor of the 2012 Constitutional Amendment, which allowed for an alternate state authorizer to open charter schools denied by local school districts. Ms. Morgan is a Broad Fellow and is among an elite group of individuals who lead some of the nations largest urban districts and charter school networks.

CSP grant recipient, in 2011, Ivy Preparatory Academy expanded from its Gwinnett campus to open two new single-gender schools in DeKalb County. Ivy Preparatory Academy at Kirkwood for Girls serves all-girls in grades K-9. Kirkwood for Girls has established itself as a public charter school of excellence, outperforming the DeKalb County School District across multiple subject areas and grade levels. Since its opening year, Ivy Preparatory Young Mens Leadership Academy has seen consistent performance gains across multiple grade levels and subject areas.

Dr. Emilio Pack: STEM Prep- Los Angeles, Calif.
Founder and Executive Director

Dr. Emilio Pack, has an extensive seventeen-year career in education, first as a school counselor and eventually as a school principal. In 2006, Dr. Pack opened what eventually became one of the highest performing high schools in all of Los Angeles, Alliance Dr. Olga Mohan High School.

Dr. Pack now directs Math and Science College Preparatory and Crown Preparatory Academy, two charter schools whose minority students focus on science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. MSCP is part of the STEM Prep family of schools, which is committed to disrupting the status quo of inequitable access to high quality STEM pathways for women and minorities by cultivating a family of students and staff who solve problems through collaboration, innovation, passion, and perseverance.

In 2015, Emilio Pack was profiled by L.A. Weekly Magazine as one of its People of the Year for his work in running high-performing charter public schools that provide low-income, minority students with access to a world-class STEM education. In May 2015, both STEM Prep schools were awarded the distinguished Gold Ribbon School Award by the CaliforniaDepartment of Education.Only 18 schools in the entire Los Angeles Unified School Districts system received such recognition.This same year, the Los Angeles Business Journal also awarded the Latino Nonprofit of the Year to STEM Prep Schools.

Ana Ponce: Camino Nuevo Charter Academy- Los Angeles, Calif.
Chief Executive Officer

Ana Ponce is the Chief Executive Officer of Camino Nuevo Charter Academy (CNCA), a network of high performing charter schools serving more than 3200 Pre-K through 12th grade students in the greater MacArthur Park neighborhood near downtown Los Angeles. An alumnus of Teach for America, she spent 3 years in the classroom before becoming one of the founding teachers and administrators at The Accelerated School, the first independent charter school in South Los Angeles. Under her instructional leadership, The Accelerated School was named elementary school of the year by Time Magazine in 2001. Born in Mexico, Ms. Ponce is committed to providing high quality educational options for immigrant families in the neighborhood where she grew up.

CSP grant recipient, CNCA schools are recognized as models for serving predominantly Latino English Language Learners and have won various awards and distinctions including the Title 1 Academic Achievement Award, the California Association of Bilingual Education Seal of Excellence, the California Distinguished Schools award, and the Effective Practice Incentive Community (EPIC) award. In 2015, Camino Nuevo Charter Academy was named a Bright Spot in Hispanic Education by The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.