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How Did Sacramento High Become a Charter School?

The first article in this series discussed the mixed reactions from community members regarding the decision to turn Sacramento High School into a charter school. You can read this story by clicking here or by clicking on the green storyline tab to the right.

For those of you who don’t know, Sacramento High School became a charter school in 2003.

This surprised me, because I had always thought, "Once a charter, always a charter.” But, in learning more about the current Sacramento High School, there is a unique story. 

The current school is a collaborative project put together by Kevin Johnson and St. Hope. Concerned with low academic performance, Johnson returned to his former Oak Park neighborhood and wanted to make a change.

The school was at risk for state takeover, or maybe even foreclosure, so the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) superintendent Jim Sweeney offered to transform the high school into a charter.  

California’s charter law allows for a school to run as a charter school and be governed by a specific contract, which is known as a "charter." This contract serves as the school’s mission.

In the case of Sacramento High, this means that instead of being bound by the school district’s rules, Sacramento High is operated by St. Hope. 

This allowed for drastic changes to Sacramento High. For one, the school was divided into four separate entities.

To find out more about each, you can visit their Web sites:

School of the Arts 
School of Business & Communications  
School of Law & Public Service  
School of Math Engineering & Health Sciences 

Other changes included more focus on college and student achievement, tutoring, encouraging more student and parent participation, community service and an overall focus on scholastic achievement.

They also require students to wear uniforms and have more stringent rules while on campus in regard to things like wearing hats or using cell phones. 

To find out more about Sac High, you can visit the school Web site here, or visit them at 2315 34th St
You can also call (916) 277-6200

Many parents, students and community members have expressed dissatisfaction about Sac High’s transformation into a charter school. What are your feelings about Charter Schools in general? Do you know students who attend Sac High? Are they satisfied with the education they are receiving? Have you noticed improvements, overall, since this decision was made? Is there a better solution?

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