We did it! On November 5, CVCHS received a unanimous five-year approval for reauthorization of our charter from the Contra Costa County Board of Education. You may remember the lengthy process the Clayton Valley community underwent to establish CVCHS in the first place. It took a partnership of parents, teachers, staff, students, civic leaders, the business community and other stakeholders to achieve the dream of becoming the first teacher-conversion comprehensive charter high school in Northern California.
And then came a lot of hard work! Since our initial three-year approval, we have seen tremendous academic achievement results and other measures of success. In our first year we achieved the largest increase in Academic Performance Index (API) of any school in the county and of any large comprehensive high school in the entire state of California, a rise of 62 points in one year. Back in my very first Voyage of the Eagle article, I talked about the value of a 62 point jump. I said that while API measures academic growth based on standardized test results, it is a symbol for much more: "This jump will have a ripple effect that will impact school spirit, college acceptance rates, community property values, attraction and retention of staff and students, etc. This data validates the charter vision; but it is not an end in itself, simply a high water mark on our journey from good to great. And there is no arguing now that we are headed for greatness!"
And that's exactly what happened. Back in March, I was invited by Representative George Miller to address the House Education and the Workforce Committee and shared our history of success. This year CVCHS earned a six year clear term of accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the highest level of praise that WASC bestows. We met all of our federal Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) goals as a whole and across all subgroups, a relatively rare accomplishment for any of our nation's schools.
Reauthorization of a charter can be granted if a school meets one of four criteria related to academic performance. We met not one, but all four. Before the charter Clayton Valley had been stuck, resulting in the lowest possible ranking in the state similar schools band. Now we have broken through the barriers. So how did we finally break through? The simple answer is an unrelenting work ethic matched with a feverish sense of urgency. There never was and still is no single magic bullet; rather our achievement is the result of a combination of programs designed to produce "first class citizens with a world class education" - a phrase that has become a shared motto at CVCHS. With the results CVCHS has earned the past three years, it is clear that Clayton Valley Charter High School is an outstanding school that is preparing all of its students for college and the careers of the 21st century. I am proud of our accomplishments and I hope you are, too!
In Your Service,