2017
Top Bay Area
Public schools for
Underserved students

EXPLORE THE REPORT

Each year, Innovate Public Schools celebrates the Bay Area public schools achieving excellent results for low-income Latino and low-income African American students.

Our annual Top Schools report examines 2016-17 results in both English and math to identify schools where students from these groups have higher proficiency rates than all students combined in the state – effectively closing the achievement gap. Since our first report in 2014, few Bay Area schools have achieved this. Right now, only 1 in 20 low-income Latino and African American students in the Bay Area attend a school achieving these results. In the Bay Area, the odds are low that these students will get to attend a school that truly changes the trajectory of their life. That must change. Our list highlights the schools that are leading the way.

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Low-income Latino
There are

1,275


Bay Area schools.

729

schools
serve a significant
number of low-income
Latino students.*
Only

49

of them
are Top Schools.
*Schools were considered in this analysis if they had at least 20 low-income Latino students and this sub-group comprises 12% or more of the school's overall enrollment.
Low-income African American
There are

1,275


Bay Area schools.

239

schools
serve at least 20
low-income African
American students.
Only

4

of them
are Top Schools.
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This small group of schools is bucking the trend across the Bay Area.

For decades, achievement gaps between low-income Latino and African American students and other students have remained large. Poverty alone does not cause these gaps. Historically, systemically racist policies have made it harder for low-income Latino and African American students to get ahead. These students attend schools with lower expectations, fewer resources and less effective teachers. They are given less rigorous content and are more likely to be over-disciplined.1

These school-based inequities are reinforced by inequities outside of education. Decades of housing discrimination, unequal access to healthcare, and a generational wealth gap push these communities further and further behind.2

Unfortunately, in the Bay Area, public schools have not been the equalizing force they should be.

1Yes We Can: Telling Truths and Dispelling Myths About Race and Education in America. Washington, DC: The Education Trust, 2006. Accessed April 2, 2018. https://1k9gl1yevnfp2lpq1dhrqe17-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/YesWeCan.pdf
2 Janie Boschma and Ronald Brownstein, “The Concentration of Poverty in American Schools,” The Atlantic, February 29, ,2016, https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/02/concentration-poverty-american-schools/471414/ ; “Mind the (achievement) gap,” LA Times, November 26, 2007, http://www.latimes.com/la-op-dustup26nov26-story.html

Percentage of Bay Area students meeting standards in 2016-17

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Low-income Latino Students Proficient in English
Name of school % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
  Name of school Charter % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
1 Gilroy Prep 74% -3 Gilroy Unified Yes Navigator Public Schools 49% Yes Yes
2 Mission Preparatory School 71% -2 San Francisco Unified Yes 73% No No
3 Madison Elementary 63% 26 San Leandro Unified School District No 15% No No
4 Hammer Montessori at Galarza Elementary 59% 7 San Jose Unified No 15% No No
5 Durham Elementary 52% 7 Fremont Unified No 18% No No
6 Rod Kelley Elementary 52% 5 Gilroy Unified No 61% Yes Yes
7 Richmond College Preparatory 49% 5 West Contra Costa Unified Yes 51% Yes Yes
8 Rocketship Redwood City 47% 16 Redwood City Elementary Yes Rocketship Public Schools 83% No No
9 Southgate Elementary 47% 7 Hayward Unified No 29% No No
10 Ayers Elementary 47% 8 Mt. Diablo Unified No 16% No No
11 Voices College-Bound Language Academy 47% -1 Franklin-McKinley Elementary Yes Voices College-Bound Language Academies 68% Yes No
Low-income Latino Students Proficient in Math
Name of school % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
  Name of school Charter % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
1 Gilroy Prep 66% 6 Gilroy Unified Yes Navigator Public Schools 49% Yes Yes
2 Mission Preparatory School 64% 0 San Francisco Unified Yes 73% No No
3 KIPP Excelencia Community Prepatory 59% -3 Redwood City Elementary Yes KIPP Bay Area Schools 83% Yes No
4 Rocketship Mateo Sheedy Elementary 57% 15 Santa Clara County Office of Education Yes Rocketship Public Schools 81% Yes Yes
5 Rocketship Spark Academy 57% 3 Franklin-McKinley Elementary Yes Rocketship Public Schools 54% Yes Yes
6 E. M. Grimmer Elementary 51% -5 Fremont Unified No 49% Yes Yes
7 Rod Kelley Elementary 51% 5 Gilroy Unified No 61% Yes Yes
8 Rocketship Redwood City 49% 17 Redwood City Elementary Yes Rocketship Public Schools 83% No No
9 Richmond College Preparatory 49% 5 West Contra Costa Unified No 51% Yes No
10 Monte Gardens Elementary 47% 10 Mt. Diablo Unified No 13% No No
11 Rocketship Mosaic Elementary 47% -6 Franklin-McKinley Elementary Yes Rocketship Public Schools 59% No Yes
12 Shannon Elementary 47% 13 West Contra Costa Unified No 31% No No
13 Castro Valley Elementary 45% 1 Castro Valley Unified No 20% No No
14 Rocketship Alma Academy 45% -9 Santa Clara County Office of Education Yes Rocketship Public Schools 71% Yes Yes
15 Rocketship Si Se Puede Academy 44% -4 Santa Clara County Office of Education Yes Rocketship Public Schools 79% Yes Yes
16 Rocketship Discovery Prep 44% -7 Santa Clara County Office of Education Yes Rocketship Public Schools 72% Yes Yes
17 Aspire Richmond Technology Academy 43% 9 West Contra Costa Unified Yes Aspire Public Schools 70% No No
18 Reed Elementary 42% 5 San Jose Unified No 14% No No
19 Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep 42% 7 Santa Clara County Office of Education Yes Rocketship Public Schools 67% No Yes
20 Silverwood Elementary 40% 1 Mt. Diablo Unified No 22% No No
21 Madison Elementary 40% 21 San Leandro Unified School District No 15% No No
Low-income African American in English
Name of school % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
  Name of school Charter % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
1 Rocketship Mateo Sheedy Elementary 76% 24 Santa Clara County Office of Education Yes Rocketship Public Schools 7% Yes Yes
Low-income African American in Math
Name of school % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
  Name of school Charter % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
1 John Muir Elementary 43% 30 San Francisco Unified No 25% No No
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Low-income Latino Students in English
Name of school % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
  Name of school Charter % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
1 KIPP Summit Academy 59% -17 San Lorenzo Unified Yes KIPP Bay Area Schools 13% Yes Yes
2 KIPP Heartwood Academy 57% -1 Alum Rock Union Elementary Yes KIPP Bay Area Schools 39% Yes Yes
3 Voices College-Bound Language Academy 56% -17 Franklin-McKinley Elementary Yes Voices College-Bound Language Academies 68% Yes No
4 Summit Public School K2 56% -1 Contra Costa County Office of Education Yes Summit Public Schools 21% No No
5 Downtown Charter Academy 55% 13 Oakland Unified Yes Amethod Public Schools Inc. 13% No No
6 Renaissance Academy 54% -3 Alum Rock Union Elementary No 72% No No
7 KIPP Heritage Academy 53% -1 Franklin-McKinley Elementary Yes KIPP Bay Area Schools 19% Yes Yes
8 River Glen 52% -7 San Jose Unified No 42% No No
9 Renaissance at Mathson 52% 2 Alum Rock Union Elementary No 68% No No
10 KIPP Prize Preparatory Academy 50% 1 Alum Rock Union Elementary Yes KIPP Bay Area Schools 41% Yes No
Low-income Latino Students in Math
Name of school % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
  Name of school Charter % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
1 KIPP Heartwood Academy 59% 1 Alum Rock Union Elementary Yes KIPP Bay Area Schools 39% Yes Yes
2 Downtown Charter Academy 59% 1 Oakland Unified Yes Amethod Public Schools Inc. 13% No No
3 KIPP Summit Academy 48% -13 San Lorenzo Unified Yes KIPP Bay Area Schools 13% Yes Yes
4 Renaissance Academy 44% 0 Alum Rock Union Elementary No 72% No No
5 Edison Charter Academy 43% 7 San Francisco Unified Yes 68% Yes No
6 Adelante Dual Language Academy 42% 4 Alum Rock Union Elementary No 63% No No
7 Renaissance at Mathson 42% 8 Alum Rock Union Elementary No 68% No No
8 Richmond Charter Academy 39% -1 West Contra Costa Unified Yes Amethod Public Schools Inc. 87% Yes Yes
Low-income African American in English
Name of school % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
  Name of school Charter % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
1 American Indian Public Charter II 53% 12 Oakland Unified Yes The American Indian Model (AIM) 14% Yes Yes
Low-income African American in Math
Name of school % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
  Name of school Charter % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
1 American Indian Public Charter II 59% 2 Oakland Unified Yes The American Indian Model (AIM) 14% Yes Yes
2 American Indian Public Charter I 54% 15 Oakland Unified Yes The American Indian Model (AIM) 18% Yes No
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Low-income Latino Students in English
Name of school % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
  Name of school Charter % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
1 Summit Preparatory Charter High 83% 0 Sequoia Union High Yes Summit Public Schools 41% Yes Yes
2 KIPP San Francisco College Preparatory 80% 3 San Francisco Unified Yes KIPP Bay Area Schools 50% Yes No
3 Leadership Public Schools - Hayward 79% -1 Hayward Unified Yes Leadership Public Schools 61% Yes Yes
4 Leadership Public Schools - Richmond 73% -3 West Contra Costa Unified Yes Leadership Public Schools 82% Yes Yes
5 Aspire Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy 71% 13 Oakland Unified Yes Aspire Public Schools 91% Yes Yes
6 Dozier-Libbey Medical High 70% -12 Antioch Unified No 26% No No
7 ARISE High 69% 17 Oakland Unified Yes 84% No No
8 Everest Public High 68% -14 Sequoia Union High Yes Summit Public Schools 56% Yes No
9 Oakland Charter High 68% -17 Oakland Unified Yes Amethod Public Schools Inc. 36% Yes Yes
10 Gateway High 65% 21 San Francisco Unified Yes Gateway Public Charter Schools 19% No No
11 Del Mar High 65% 14 Campbell Union High No 46% No No
Low-income Latino Students in Math
Name of school % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
  Name of school Charter % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
1 Aspire Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy 55% 18 Oakland Unified Yes Aspire Public Schools 91% Yes Yes
2 Leadership Public Schools - Hayward 52% 15 Hayward Unified Yes Leadership Public Schools 61% Yes Yes
3 Gateway High 48% 42 San Francisco Unified Yes Gateway Public Charter Schools 19% No No
4 Oakland Charter High 45% -17 Oakland Unified Yes Amethod Public Schools Inc. 36% Yes Yes
5 KIPP San Francisco College Preparatory 41% -10 San Francisco Unified Yes KIPP Bay Area Schools 50% Yes No
Low-income African American Students in English
Name of school % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
  Name of school Charter % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
1 No schools qualified in this category % No % No No
Low-income African American Students in Math
Name of school % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
  Name of school Charter % proficient for subgroup Change from last year District/Authorizer Charter school network Subgroup % in school In 2015-16 Report In 2014-15 Report
1 No schools qualified in this category % No % No No
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The 52 Top Schools span across Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties.

Hover over the map to explore their outcomes for low-income African American and Latino students.

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Filter by

TitleAddress
Adelante Dual Language Academy 37.345478,-121.812712
American Indian Model Schools 37.800123,-122.265429
American Indian Public Charter 37.793426,-122.19953
ARISE High 37.7761,-122.2251
Aspire Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy 37.729507,-122.179891
Aspire Richmond Technology Academy 37.978216,-122.327027
Ayers Elementary 37.965676,-121.960897
Castro Valley Elementary 37.69833,-122.0821
Del Mar High 37.303695,-121.927225
Downtown Charter Academy 37.80143,-122.269261
Dozier-Libbey Medical High 37.94807,-121.76817
E. M. Grimmer Elementary 37.520092,-121.951117
Edison Charter Academy 37.75483,-122.426071
Everest Public High 37.47377,-122.203861
Gateway High 37.78326,-122.437524
Gilroy Prep (a Navigator School) 37.013811,-121.568704
Hammer Montessori at Galarza Elementary 37.302876,-121.885124
J. Haley Durham Elementary 37.542932,-121.965684
KIPP Excelencia Community Preparatory 37.46009,-122.239065
KIPP Heartwood Academy 37.337856,-121.839923
KIPP Heritage Academy 37.309627,-121.837454
Kipp Prize Preparatory Academy 37.33797, -121.840501
KIPP San Francisco College Preparatory 37.73232,-122.381671
KIPP Summit Academy 37.674465,-122.150454
Leadership Public Schools - Hayward 37.6239,-122.087591
Leadership Public Schools: Richmond 37.934055,-122.361151
Madison Elementary 37.6954,-122.1603
Mission Preparatory 37.72705,-122.435311
Monte Gardens Elementary 37.987177,-122.004559
Muir (John) Elementary 37.773795,-122.428733
Oakland Charter High 37.800162,-122.265654
Reed Elementary 37.263202,-121.894096
Renaissance Academy 37.336307,-121.829637
Renaissance at Mathson 37.350532,-121.841054
Richmond Charter Academy 37.93665,-122.337761
Richmond College Preparatory 37.929175,-122.359409
River Glen 37.310709,-121.901514
Rocketship Alma Academy 37.31342,-121.877671
Rocketship Discovery Prep 37.35482,-121.870401
Rocketship Fuerza Community Prep 37.357617,-121.8446001
Rocketship Mateo Sheedy Elementary 37.32168,-121.886541
Rocketship Mosaic Elementary 37.329615,-121.855646
Rocketship Redwood City 37.48301,-122.215131
Rocketship Si Se Puede Academy 37.35247,-121.838871
Rocketship Spark Academy 37.287861,-121.82395
Rod Kelley Elementary 37.020721,-121.59246
Shannon Elementary 37.999485,-122.312084
Silverwood Elementary 37.963497,-121.972614
Southgate Elementary 37.638286,-122.094441
Summit Preparatory Charter High 37.486478,-122.210366
Summit Public School K2 37.925246,-122.313656
Voices College-Bound Language Academy 37.284451,-121.820342
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What do these schools do differently?

There isn’t one single program or model that leads to the remarkable results these schools have accomplished. Innovate Public Schools has studied high-performing schools across the country and found that they are as diverse as the communities they serve. However, we found that many of them do share certain core school-wide practices and beliefs that distinguish them from other schools in the Bay Area.

Our World-class Schools Framework outlines these practices. Below we highlight four schools from this year’s Top Schools list that show what these practices look like in action:

+

Rod Kelley Elementary

Using data to drive student growth

+

Rocketship Mateo Sheedy Elementary

Engaging parents as co-educators and leaders

+

Del Mar High School

Building and developing a great team

+

Leadership Public Schools Hayward

Creating a culture of joyful learning

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How we identify Top Schools

Each year, we aim to describe educational opportunity in the Bay Area in the most accurate and up-to-date way possible. We have made several improvements to our methodology.

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What changed this year?

We lowered the enrollment threshold: Given the displacement of low-income families from the Bay Area and declining enrollment numbers for African Americans in particular, changing our enrollment criteria allowed us to consider more schools for this year’s list, while still maintaining a high bar for performance. Just ten years ago, the median number of African American students enrolled in Bay Area schools was 23. This year, this number dipped down to just 13. Since we can only reliably report data for schools with over 20 students tested in a particular group (like “low-income African American”), over 80% of schools were excluded. As enrollment numbers continue to decline, fewer and fewer schools are even considered for the Top Schools list for African Americans.

We used both the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) data and the California School Dashboard accountability system: This year, the California Department of Education released the California School Dashboard accountability system (“Dashboard”), a new online tool that replaces the Academic Performance Index (API) for how the state of California evaluates all public schools. We used this newly-available data to include other measures of school quality beyond just proficiency rates on state tests and ensure that the Top Schools are more holistically impacting student learning. That criteria is explained below:

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What changed this year?
(Continued)

  • Academic Performance: We eliminated from consideration schools that performed poorly on the Dashboard’s Academic Performance indicator for the African American or Latino subgroup. Like proficiency rates, this new indicator is based on student results on state exams. However, it also measures how a school improved from one year to the next overall, and it measures how far every single student is from mastering the standards. We wanted to recognize schools that not only met the bar for proficiency rates, but also supported students of all levels to reach or exceed mastery. This new measure better captures how a school is serving all of its students – from those who are far behind to those who are advanced.
  • Suspension rates: We eliminated schools that had high suspension rates for either all students or for the given group of students. Though test scores are an important metric for evaluating schools, we also wanted to make sure the schools on our list created positive learning environments that nurture all students. While we don’t have access to a holistic measure of school culture, we do know that high suspension rates can serve as an important indicator that a school has more work to do in order to build a strong, welcoming culture. We also know that students of color are suspended at higher rates than their White peers. Research has shown that these high suspension rates can ultimately track these students into a school-to-prison pipeline. We wanted to celebrate high-performing schools for African American and Latino students 

that did not overly rely on harsh discipline policies in order to achieve their results. While the Dashboard provides new and useful data on school performance, it does not allow us to analyze data for the subgroups our report focuses on low-income African American and low-income Latino students (the Dashboard does show data for African American and Latino students but not for low-income African American and low-income Latino students). These two subgroups have been historically left behind and are still the lowest-performing subgroups in almost every school and district in California and across the country. We believe it is important to truly focus our attention on these severely underserved subgroups and show that it is possible for schools to support low-income Black and Latino students to achieve at a high level. This is why, ultimately, we decided not to use the Dashboard as our only measure in our methodology.

3“State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Fifth Year in a Row of Declining Student Suspensions and Expulsions,” California Department of Education, November 1, 2017, https://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr17/yr17rel80.asp ; “Civil Rights Data Collection. Data Snapshot: School Discipline,” US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, March, 2014, https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/crdc-discipline-snapshot.pdf

4 Libby Nelson and Dara Lind, “The school to prison pipeline, explained,” Justice Policy Institute, February 24, 2015, http://www.justicepolicy.org/news/8775

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What stayed the same?

Schools had to successfully close the achievement gap for underserved students: The school’s proficiency rates in English and/or math for these two student groups had to be at or above the statewide proficiency rate for all students in English and/or math in a given school type (elementary, middle, or high).

Schools with selective admission criteria excluded in the pool of eligible schools: Schools that are selective in choosing which students to admit were not eligible for inclusion in this report. Public schools should be expected to serve all children, especially the schools we lift up as examples of what’s possible in public education.

Schools had to test at least 95% of their students to be considered: This is key to ensuring their data paints a true picture of their performance and how well they’re serving all of their students. Schools with low participation rates on tests can have over-inflated scores, for example, if students who are absent often and have lost 

out on a lot of learning don’t take the test, or if certain student groups that don’t perform well are left out on testing day. High participation rates ensure that all student groups in the school are being included in the test.  

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