2018
TOP BAY AREA
PUBLIC SCHOOLS
FOR UNDERSERVED STUDENTS

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.

There are very few schools in the Bay Area that are closing the gap for low-income African American and Latino students.

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.

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

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS: Here are the schools that are closing the gap

These schools show us what’s possible. They raise the bar for schools serving low-income African American and Latino students across the Bay Area. We’re far from delivering on the promise of an excellent education for all students. These schools are showing the way.

MIDDLE SCHOOLS: Here are the schools that are closing the gap

These schools show us what’s possible. They raise the bar for schools serving low-income African American and Latino students across the Bay Area. We’re far from delivering on the promise of an excellent education for all students. These schools are showing the way.

HIGH SCHOOLS: Here are the schools that are closing the gap

These schools show us what’s possible. They raise the bar for schools serving low-income African American and Latino students across the Bay Area. We’re far from delivering on the promise of an excellent education for all students. These schools are showing the way.

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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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: