Aspire Public Schools
Gratitude Report | 2021-2022
In a year that brought many twists and turns, I am deeply grateful to Aspire’s team, families, communities, and partners for their ongoing commitment to our scholars’ success. As nearly all scholars and teammates came back together in our school buildings, the goal was never to simply survive, but to grow and thrive. And I am proud to say that we did exactly that. Please watch the video to learn more.
Mala Batra | CEO, Aspire Public SchoolsRead More
qualify for free or reduced-cost lunch
speak a language other than English at home
receive Special Education services
of our teammates report positive working relationships with parents and families
of Aspire families believe their child is getting a good education at their school
of Aspire families feel connected to their child's school
of our teachers plan to work at Aspire next year*
*compared to 77% nationwide average (Source)
of teammates report being able to be their authentic selves at work and share all aspects of their culture and identity
of teachers identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of color
average years of prior teaching experience
Click on each region to see local schools
Aspire schools were awarded High Student Academic Growth by CORE Districts* in 2019**
of charters renewed
*CORE Districts is a collaboration of California school districts focused on improving student achievement through partnership and learning.
**Student achievement data is not available for 2020 and limited in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and pause on statewide testing.
Earlier this year, we received unanimous approval on a material revision from the Stockton Unified School Board to create a TK-12 campus in the Sierra Vista housing development, which will house Aspire APEX Academy (TK-5) and Aspire Stockton Secondary Academy (6-12). This is a huge milestone to deliver on a long-held commitment to secure a safe, high-quality facility for our Aspire APEX community.
Our supporters know that the dual pandemics of health and racial justice continue to amplify the needs faced by our communities. In response, the Wend Collective generously donated additional family relief funding to our Los Angeles schools this year. Their support allowed us to purchase groceries and warm clothing for our scholars, and to send direct financial support to over 550 Aspire families.
All Aspire schools provide a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) for students to ensure we are applying an intentional, data-driven continuous improvement framework to mental health and social-emotional support. The MTSS framework proactively identifies students with academic or behavioral needs, utilizing early assessment and intervention to help them catch up with peers sooner. Key components include universal screening and tiers of interventions that allow schools to meet students where they are and respond equitably according to level of need.
As part of Aspire’s commitment to equity, one of our priorities is to lift up Black Excellence—programs that teach about, celebrate, and honor Black culture—throughout our schools. We are proud to have launched many culturally responsive programs that serve our scholars and teammates, and will continue to expand on these initiatives in the years to come.
In 2021, Aspire Public Schools began pioneering a program pairing special and general education teachers. The co-teaching model is backed by research showing all students stand to benefit socially and academically when students with disabilities are included in general education classroom and is made possible through a partnership with CHIME Institute and the Gates Foundation.
“We are hoping that keeping kids in their classroom—supporting them socially and emotionally alongside their peers—will actually foster a sense of belonging that they didn’t have during the pandemic,” said Meghann Cazale, Director of Special Education for Aspire’s Central Valley Region.Read the Article
As schools nationwide scramble to hire special education teachers after a pandemic-exacerbated shortage, Aspire Public Schools is investing in existing staff to fill classroom slots by paying for costly credential programs, boosting salaries, and providing mentors.
“I’ve seen this across systems, not just Aspire, where we have these great educators in our schools, who just need support in accessing credential programs,” said Senior Director of Special Education Lisa Freccero. “They’re invested in our schools; they want to work with our kids; they want to work in special education.”Read the Article
In February 2022, Aspire held its second annual school-based fundraising campaign, Share the Love. Through the campaign, our schools raised direct support for programs that move the needle at their specific sites. 18 of our schools raised over $1000! This funding will pay for playground improvement, hands-on science materials, elective and extracurricular programming, college scholarships for graduating seniors, and more.
Aspire Vanguard College Preparatory Academy’s partnership with Modesto Junior College has given our scholars tuition-free access to prerequisite college courses, allowing them to start college one to two years ahead and saving thousands of dollars in tuition. Through our Early College Program, many Aspire scholars earn an Associate’s degree by the time they graduate high school, and our alumni tell us the college courses they took at Aspire were the best preparation for their college experience.
The Aspire Shining Stars award recognizes outstanding seniors across our high schools in the Central Valley, Bay Area, and Los Angeles regions. Since the award’s inception in 2016, seven cohorts of exceptional college-bound scholars have been awarded a scholarship to put towards their post-secondary education. Our Shining Stars have a wide variety of lived experiences, and each is tenacious, persistent, and active in their community. This year, our 2022 Shining Stars truly exemplified the grit, effort, and spirit of College for Certain. This scholarship was made possible through the generosity of Richard and Theresa Crocker, to whom we are incredibly grateful.
Aspire proudly celebrates Black History Month, Black joy, and Black excellence! We celebrate the persistence of these elements of Black culture despite trauma and a history of oppression. While honoring Black History Month does not replace the critical work of elevating Black excellence year-round and making our curriculum culturally relevant, this month is an important opportunity to reflect on where we are and to acknowledge the many contributions of our Black teammates, scholars, and community leaders. Enjoy this video from Aspire Slauson Academy made by students celebrating Black Excellence.
Bianka's Aspire journey began in 1998, when she was just six years old, as a founding scholar of Aspire East Palo Alto Charter School (EPACS). As the daughter of immigrants, her parents knew the power of a college degree, which is why they enrolled their first-grade daughter in a brand new school focused on college. At EPACS, her teachers fostered a multifaceted love of learning -- reading chapters of Harry Potter out loud in class, playing interactive "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" science games, and utilizing arithmetic to measure and build flower beds for a community garden.
Bianka's deep sense of service and community drove her back to EPACS following college graduation, this time as a resident teacher in an Aspire classroom. Now, a kindergarten teacher at the very school she attended, she recognizes that our schools are a reflection of our community. Her greatest joy is seeing the light in her young scholars' eyes when they discover something new. And she firmly believes that if she can impact just one kid, she'll have made her mark on her community. Nine years into her Aspire career—and 24 years after she first stepped foot in an Aspire classroom—we are proud to say that Bianka's mark is so much greater than just one student.