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School Year in Review


Letter from Our CEO and Board Chair Dear Friends, The 2013-2014 fiscal year was a banner year for Aspire Public Schools! We marked our 15th anniversary by celebrating the accomplishments of our students, our history and our established reputation as a national leader in education reform.

Aspire serves more students in more schools than ever before and remains one of the largest public charter school systems in the nation. Today, we operate 38 schools, serving 14,600 students throughout California and in Memphis, Tennessee. For the fifth year in a row, 100% of our graduating seniors received admissions to four-year colleges and universities. We continue to make College for Certain a reality for our students. College readiness drives everything we do. This remains our north star as we strive to increase the number of college-ready Aspire graduates year after year. Achieving this goal requires strong commitment and investment in developing highly effective educators in every classroom. We’ve created a robust model of observations, professional development resources and career opportunities and rewards for teachers and non-teaching staff.

Our mission calls us to go even further than the students we serve directly to share our successful practices with others to help catalyze change broadly. This includes opening Aspire schools in cities where broad ripple-effect is greatest, and supporting scalable opportunities to share. In the fall of 2013, we opened our first Aspire schools in Memphis, Tennessee, a city poised to redefine public education. We continue to help aspiring charter school organizations replicate and grow while maintaining quality student outcomes. We maintain our partnership with Schoolzilla, an Ed Tech data analysis company created at Aspire and spun out as an independent entity. Today, Schoolzilla serves over one million students nationwide, and is an example of our work creating national catalytic impact well beyond the students we directly serve.

Aspire has always operated within a highly efficient model, and strong financial stewardship remains a top priority. We weathered the California budget crisis incredibly well because our disciplined approach to managing resources served us well, and our philanthropic supporters continue to respect this key piece of our success. We’ve learned a lot over the last 15 years, and have so much more learning to do. We embrace our role as a national leader and colleague for reform-minded educators. We remain committed to staying on the cutting edge of innovative practices in education to improve results for students. We cannot do this work alone. We owe a deep debt of gratitude to our supporters, educational partners, staff, students and their families. Together we can truly change the odds stacked against far too many students across our country. Thank you for your support.

James Willcox Chief Executive Officer

Beth Hunkapiller Chair, Aspire Board of Directors

Aspire Public Schools 2013-2014



Aspire Public Schools 2013-2014

Celebrating 15 Years of College for Certain In 1998, longtime public school educator Don Shalvey joined forces with Silicon Valley entrepreneur Reed Hastings to launch Aspire Public Schools, one of the nation’s first charter management organizations.

Aspire is now one of the nation’s highest performing and well respected school systems, serving over 14,600 students in 38 schools throughout California and in Memphis, Tennessee. Aspire provides a rigorous college readiness education from grades K to 12. For the past five years, 100% of Aspire graduates have received admission to four-year colleges.

Our Mission:

To open and operate small, high-quality charter schools in low income neighborhoods, in order to:

Our Vision: Every student is prepared to earn a college degree.

• Increase the academic performance of underserved students • Develop effective educators • Share successful practices with other forward-thinking educators, and • Catalyze change in public schools.

Aspire Public Schools 2013-2014


Changing the Odds for Underserved Students Who We Serve: Over two-thirds of Aspire schools serve more than



Beginning in kindergarten, our students know they are heading to college. From their first day, our students are immersed in a collegegoing culture with rigorous instruction. They master critical skills to succeed, in school and beyond.

Studies show that by the 4th grade, a student’s academic achievement is a key indicator to their future college success. We are proud that our students, by their 4th grade and beyond, are on the path to college.

economically disadvantaged students




of Aspire students are or were English Learners

How We Compare: National Average (Reading)


more Aspire students read on or above grade level than the national average

National Average (Reading) of Low-Income Students

Aspire schools serve



students of color


more Aspire students read on or above grade level compared to their lowincome peers nationally

National Average (Math)


more Aspire students are at or above math proficiency than the national average

National Average (Math) of Low-Income Students

200% 4

Aspire Public Schools 2013-2014

more Aspire students are at or above math proficiency compared to their low-income peers nationally

Comparison of 2013 NAEP results and Aspire results for 4th grade.

Preparing Students K-12 for College 100% of graduates were admitted to fouryear colleges and universities for the fifth consecutive year Aspire’s four-year graduation rate is over 90% (as calculated by the National Governor’s Association)

On average, our students graduate with over 15 college credits already complete, giving them a huge leg up in their first year

“I have been in Aspire for eight years. It has only made me a better person. Aspire has shown me that there is unlimited potential no matter what background you come from.” –Aspire Graduate 2014

Aspire students are more prepared to succeed in college than their peers: California Local Districts Aspire 0%






Based on completion rate of required courses for admittance to California State or University schools.


%of our graduates were admitted to college

“Aspire has helped me by continuously pushing me to do better in my school assignments. At Aspire, I learned that I can achieve greater things by continuously aiming for more.” –Aspire Graduate 2014

Aspire Public Schools 2013-2014


Developing highly-effective teachers & school leaders “There’s a passion that everyone shares to educate and ensure that their students receive the best education and environment that can be provided.” –Aspire Teacher

Aspire believes one of the most important keys to preparing students for college is a highly-effective teacher in every classroom. Aspire is leading the nation in providing tools and resources to train and develop teachers. Our teachers have the tools they need to succeed.

100% of teachers receive a rubric-based observation Over half of our teachers serve in leadership roles, supporting peers Every teacher is provided an individual professional development plan

“The commitment to serve students by building strong teachers is powerful.” –Aspire Teacher

“The administration, teachers, support staff, and students give it their all every single day.” –Aspire Teacher


Aspire Public Schools 2013-2014

Teachers collaborate with grade and contentalike colleagues to share best practices Compensation and rewards are based on years of effective practice

With a focus on meeting the needs of new teachers, Aspire Teacher Residency (ATR) provides hands-on classroom experience, one-onone mentorship from a highly-effective teacher, a Master’s degree and teaching credential.

“ATR stands out for the way that it looks at the training of urban educators as a quality long-term investment, giving us incredible training and offering us significant support in the classroom.” –ATR Graduate

Aspire understands strong school leaders are at the core of every successful school. We empower our school leaders, and have developed our in-house Aspire Principal Residency (APR) to develop new school leaders.



of ATR graduates are effective or highly effective in their first year



of our residents represent the communities we serve



“The training I receive surpasses all of the training I have received in my tenure as an educator.” —APR Graduate

of graduates are still teaching at Aspire

Aspire Public Schools 2013-2014


Catalyzing Change in Public Schools National Expansion into Memphis “What we like best about Aspire is the care they give to make each student be successful at school and in life.” –Aspire Memphis parent

In school year 2013-14, Aspire opened schools outside California for the first time with our national expansion to Memphis. With a commitment to help catalyze change in public schools, Aspire is part of Tennessee’s state-wide efforts to turnaround the lowest performing schools.

2013-14: 2 schools serving 600 students 2014-15: 3 schools serving 1,100 students …growing to 10 schools serving 5,600 students Increased grade-level reading from 3% to 25% 89% of parents rated our schools an “A” or “B” 90% teacher retention

in the news Aspire teachers at center of fierce national debate

As Apprentices in Classroom, Teachers Learn What Works

Let public charter schools succeed

How One LA School is Becoming a “Titan” of Blended Learning 8

Aspire Public Schools 2013-2014

A Win for Los Angeles Kids

Editorial: Aspire Public Schools is doing neighborhood homework

Innovating and Sharing What We Learn Data Analysis Ed Tech Schoolzilla Aspire’s launch of Schoolzilla marked the first time a public school system developed and shared an innovative student performance tool with all other school systems. Schoolzilla is considered an innovative ed tech company, providing crucial student information to teachers and school leaders in school districts across the country.

Over 1 Million Students Served

Schoolzilla already serves hundreds of schools, district and charter alike, across the country, making data tools that originated at Aspire available to teachers and school leaders nationwide.

Blended Learning Innovations Sharing successful practices with other forwardthinking educators is part of Aspire’s mission.

Aspire has expanded our blended learning model into more schools, allowing students to work with online tools at their level and pace, while teachers collect real-time data to inform their instruction. Aspire has launched 12 blended learning schools since 2011. Aspire continues to share our blended learning model with others, and currently has a book in production to further share our learnings and practices.

Aspire Public Schools 2013-2014


2013-2014 Financials FY2014 Revenue Government Revenue $135,018,427 Local Revenue $1,283,703 Private Funding (grants, donations, and in-kind) $14,597,444


FY2014 Expenses Program Expenses $111,360,574




15% 1%

Admin Support $20,102,269 Fundraising $1,235,517

Statement of Financial Position

Aspire Alumna Rena Stone speaks at Aspire’s Inaugural College For Certain Fundraising Dinner


Aspire Public Schools 2013-2014

Current assets Non-current assets Total assets

$73,838,072 $149,549,485 $223,387,557

Current Liabilities Long-term Liabilities Net Assets Total Liabilities and Net Assets

$17,328,282 $150,759,319 $72,628,238 $223,387,557

2013-2014 Supporters $1,000,000+


Anonymous Charter School Growth Fund The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Patty Quillin and Reed Hastings Helen and Charles Schwab Tipping Point Community U.S. Department of Education

The Clayton Christensen Institute Susan and Peter Colby Warren Felson and Lucy Sun Marci Glazer and Jonathan Kaplan The Peery Family Fund Sally and Jeff Snipes TPG Capital


Achievement School District The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation


Anonymous EDUCause The Green Foundation Beth and Michael Hunkapiller J.R. Hyde Senior Family Foundation Steven L. Merrill NewSchools Venture Fund The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation Stuart Foundation


The Joseph Drown Foundation The Sidney E. Frank Foundation


Jean-Pierre Conte Kimberly and Jonathan Garfinkel Louise Muhlfeld Patterson and Arthur Patterson Helen and Richard Spalding Joyce and Robert Wisner


CharterSafe Leslie and George Hume Lynzi Ziegenhagen and Lindsey Lack Schoolzilla Anna Utgoff and Nicolas Spicer


Stephanie and Philip Alvelda Nicole DeLorne Barker and Michael Barker Connie and Barry Baron Gretchen and John Berggruen Bingham McCutchen, LLP Leslie and Walter Burlock Charter Property Group John Chino Nancy and Ed Conner Sayed and Elise Darwish Sarah and Jason DiLullo Susan and Robert Finnochio Courtney Benoist and Jason Fish Randi and Bob Fisher Coley and Steve Florance Cara and Scott France Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Gilbert Associates, LLP Chi Kim Gary Larson Victoria and Edward Leonard

Includes funds received during the fiscal year from 7/1/2013-6/30/14.

Debbie and Peter Magowan Tracy Leeds and Evan Marwell Scott Mauvis Eileen and Peter Michael Julie and Will Parish Tom Periac Mary and Jeff Pickard Debra and Andrew Rachleff Karen and George Rathman RBC Capital Markets, LLC Reasoning Mind Kristin and David Ritterbush Betsy Blumenthal and Jonathan Root Nancy and Jason Rosenthal Don Shalvey Sonitrol Stifel, Nicolas, and Company Angie and Richard Thieriot Lauren Dutton and Glen Tripp Ultimate Software Group, Inc. Wells Fargo David Whorton Lisa and Ted Williams Diane and Alfred Wilsey Carey Wintroub

Aspire Public Schools 2013-2014


Our Schools

Central Valley

Bay Area

Sacramento Aspire Alexander Twilight College Preparatory Academy, K-5 Aspire Alexander Twilight Secondary Academy, 6-12 Aspire Capitol Heights Academy, K-5

Berkeley Aspire California College Preparatory Academy, 9-12 East Palo Alto

Aspire East Palo Alto Charter School, K-6 Aspire East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy, 7-12


Aspire APEX Academy, K-5 Aspire Benjamin Holt College Preparatory Academy, 6-12 Aspire Langston Hughes Academy, 6-12 Aspire Port City Academy, K-5 Aspire River Oaks Charter School, K-5 Aspire Rosa Parks Academy, K-5 Aspire Vincent Shalvey Academy, K-5


Aspire Berkley Maynard Academy, K-8 Aspire College Academy, K-5 Aspire ERES Academy, K-8 Aspire Golden State College Preparatory Academy, 6-12 Aspire Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy, 6-12 Aspire Monarch Academy, K-5 Aspire Triumph Technology Academy, K-5



Los Angeles Huntington Park Aspire Antonio Maria Lugo Academy, K-5 Aspire Centennial College Preparatory Academy, 6-8 Aspire Huntington Park Charter School, K-5 Aspire Junior Collegiate Academy, K-5 Aspire Ollin University Preparatory Academy, 7-10 Aspire Pacific Academy, 6-7 &11-12 Aspire Titan Academy, K-5

Los Angeles

Aspire Inskeep Academy, K-6 Aspire Slauson Academy, K-6 Aspire Tate Academy, K-6


Aspire Public Schools 2013-2014


Aspire Vanguard College Preparatory Academy, 6-12


South Gate

Aspire Firestone Academy, K-5 Aspire Gateway Academy, K-5

Aspire Summit Charter Academy, K-5 Aspire University Charter School, K-5

Tennessee Memphis Aspire Coleman Elementary School, Pre K-5 Aspire Hanley Elementary School #1, Pre K-6 Aspire Hanley Elementary School #2, Pre K-6

Board of Directors Board of Directors

Advisory Board

Warren Felson, Private Investor Jonathan Garfinkel, TPG Capital Beth Hunkapiller, Board Chair, Educator & Administrator Steven L. Merrill, Venture Capitalist Richard C. Spalding, Kearny Venture Partners

Greg Jones, President & CEO (Retired) of State Farm General insurance Louise Muhlfeld Patterson, Human Resources Executive Melvin J. Kaplan, Chief Executive Officer, Wellington Financial Group Richard Yanowitch, Start-up Executive and Board Director

Sponsoring Districts Achievement School District Alameda County Office of Education Ceres Unified School District Lodi Unified School District Los Angeles County Office of Education Los Angeles Unified School District Modesto City Schools Oakland Unified School District Ravenswood City School District Sacramento City Unified School District San Juan Unified School District Stockton Unified School District Sylvan Union Elementary School District

Aspire Public Schools 2013-2014


Aspire Public Schools 1001 22nd Avenue, Suite 100 Oakland, CA 94606 510-434-5000

Aspire Public Schools 2013-2014 School Year in Review