Caliber Schools - Progress Report 2014-2016

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Caliber Schools Progress Report 2014 - 2016

TABLE OF CONTENTS The Journey.......................2


Our Teachers......................30

Our Pillars.........................6


Our Leaders........................32


Vallejo Facilities Project......26



Student Snapshot..............28



At Caliber Schools, we are reimagining education. Our mission is to shift the experience, expectation, and outcomes for students in historically underserved communities. We will provide students with a rigorous K-12 education so that they can enter a four-year college without requiring remediation. Caliber Schools provides a free, personalized, and college preparatory education for every student. We teach critical life skills such as restorative conflict resolution and goal setting. All students participate in daily coding, robotics and engineering as well as daily writing blocks and collaborative project-based learning. We develop the whole child, integrate parents and families into the school in meaningful ways, and grow deeply into communities. In this Progress Report, you will learn about the past, present, and future of Caliber Schools. Whether you’re a parent or caregiver, supporter, educator, or community member, please join us on our journey.


THE JOURNEY In 2014, we opened Caliber: Beta Academy with 285 students from Richmond and the surrounding communities. We opened our second school, Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy in Vallejo in the Fall of 2016. We are now serving more than 1,000 students.

OUR SCHOOLS Caliber: Beta Academy K-8 (Richmond, CA) Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy TK-3, 6 (Vallejo, CA) Planned Future Openings Caliber: High Schools (Richmond + Vallejo, CA)








YEAR TWO 2015 - 2016

Year Two of Caliber: Beta Academy with 585 students in grades K-4, 6-7

2014 - 2015

YEAR ZERO 2013 - 2014

Launched summer pilot in Richmond Awarded first charter

Caliber: Beta Academy opened with nearly 300 students in grades K-3 + 6 Over 80% of students exceeded one year of growth in Reading and Math

More than doubled the percent of students on or above grade level from Fall to Spring Vallejo Charter approved; Planning year for Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy Acquired four acres in Vallejo to build permanent facility


students projected



YEAR FOUR 2017 - 2018

YEAR THREE 2016 - 2017

Year Three of Caliber: Beta Academy with more than 750 students in grades K-8

Year Four of Caliber: Beta Academy with 800+ students in grades K-8

Year Two of Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy with 500+ students in grades TK-4, 6-7

Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy opened with 300 students in grades TK-3 + 6

300+ families advocated for a permanent home for Caliber: Beta Academy at district board meetings

Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy projected to move into new permanent facility in Vallejo

Planned Future Openings Caliber: High Schools (Richmond + Vallejo)

“Jordan recently brought home a note that she wrote me at school. At the bottom of the letter, she said: ‘It's okay if it's not all perfect.’ She was letting me know that it was okay if the words weren't spelled correctly. That is the whole philosophy of Caliber. They teach the kids to keep going even if you are not perfect -- to keep pushing and practicing. The fact that Jordan knows this in kindergarten is huge. It's the growth mindset. The kids that start young at Caliber are getting the growth mindset from the beginning. Often she'll say: ‘I can do hard things.’ She is ready to take on challenges.”

- Caliber Parent


Our goal is to equip every Caliber graduate with the real world skills they need to succeed through college, career, and life. Our journey over the past two years has allowed us to experiment with our model and curriculum to better serve the needs of our students. As our organization evolves and grows to multiple cities, it is important that we have a framework that grounds us. Each campus may reflect the personal vision of the School Leader, but at the root of everything we do will be HEART, SMART, THINK, and ACT. Each pillar represents qualities we aim to instill in every Caliber Schools graduate. While all four are equally important, they are prioritized in the order in which they need to be developed. We will establish a safe and supportive environment (HEART) so that students can engage in rigorous learning (SMART) and develop the skill set to be critical thinkers (THINK) who then become agents of change in their communities (ACT). Our administrators, teachers and staff integrate this guiding framework into every layer of our work. It is the driving force behind deciions at the Charter Management Organization, administration, grade levels, and in each classroom. 6



Emotional Intelligence


Critical Thinking


Academic College Readiness


Agents of Change



First Graders at ChangeMakers Academy engage in a group mindfulness activity.

CALIBER GRADUATES WILL... • productively manage internal and external conflicts • articulate personal areas of strength and growth • develop strategies to cope with emotions and challenges • be collaborative and empathetic team members


Emotional Intelligence Education is more than just academics. We integrate mindfulness, goal setting, conflict

resolution, teamwork, and other skill-building activities into our curriculum and daily schedule. Building a strong foundation of interpersonal skills will equip our students to succeed through college, career, and life.


SEL Instruction: Each grade level has social and emotional learning classes (SEL) at least twice per week. In K-6, we use a framework called Toolbox that teaches our students how to articulate feelings and emotions, build relationships, show

Restorative Justice Circles: Each morning starts with a 30-minute community building dialogue session that gives space for students to express themselves, build relationships with teammates, and work through interpersonal conflicts.

Mental Health Support: Our program is led by our mental health and SEL staff. It integrates mindfulness, meditation, and yoga throughout the school week for both students and staff.


CALIBER SPOTLIGHT: NENJI Q&A with Nenji Yilpet, Assistant Principal at Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy

“At Caliber, our job is to serve the community first and foremost.”

Tell us a little about yourself. My parents were both educators -- they’re my inspiration. I have been in education for seven years. Before teaching, I lived in Los Angeles for 10 years where I advocated for, mentored, and tutored 12-18 year old youth that were going through life transitions. This work opened my eyes to society’s inequities in access to education. I saw first-hand how students of color were disproportionately impacted: higher dropout rates, lower graduation rates, among other things. It made me wonder: what change can I create as an educator? I became motivated to undertake the responsibility of helping my students see, believe, and actualize their potential.

Why Caliber Schools? I felt such an openness when I first visited the school. Ron and Jen’s [Caliber Co-founders] relentless pursuit of reimagining education for kids is what most inspired me to join the Caliber team.

What wakes you up in the morning? This is the first school I’ve worked in where we prioritize social and emotional learning (SEL) on the same level as we do academics. We use a framework called Toolbox to teach our

kids intentional strategies on how to process and self-regulate their emotions and manage their behavior in and outside of the classroom. Our teachers implement strategies for highquality SEL through professional development where we model Restorative Justice circles and effective dialogue. We also partake in mindfulness breaks and other holistic wellness tactics. SEL seeks to serve the whole child, and also serves teachers, staff, and leaders.

What makes Caliber different? Our job is to serve the community -- first and foremost. We invite the community to the table; we want their voices to be heard. This is a partnership. The voices of parents and caregivers have to be present in everything that we do. I love the fact that our families live within blocks from the school - maximum 10 minutes away. We also invest in the community by hiring teachers and staff members from Vallejo. During one of our staff identity circles, one of the teachers looked around the room and in gratitude, thanked the team for coming to her city. She then starts laughing and asks, “Where have you been my whole life?” Together, we’re creating positive change for the community.


SMART Academic College Readiness We prepare our students to succeed. Ninety percent of students who enter college in need of

substantial remediation fail to graduate. At Caliber, many of our students begin several grade levels behind. We work to get students on or above grade level as quickly as possible in order for them to be academically college-ready. Students are grouped by specific learning needs in English and Math for targeted, personalized instruction. We regularly evaluate, monitor, and communicate student growth through Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs). Our daily curriculum prioritizes the essential skills of writing, coding, and engineering; we believe these skills will be increasingly essential in the future job market.

• critical readers, persuasive writers, mathematicians, scientists, and researchers


• prepared to attend selective or highly-selective universities • owners of their own goal setting and progress tracking on Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs) • savvy computer programmers and engineers


2x Our middle school students are scoring at proficient or above at twice the rate of the District schools they came from.

“I think Caliber is leading me to college... Because I am getting the qualifications I will need to succeed.�

CALIBER SPOTLIGHT: DORIAN Reflections from a 7th grader entering his second year at Caliber: Beta Academy

Hi, my name is Dorian! I live in Richmond, CA. I’m almost 13 years old. Last year was my first year at Caliber.

What makes Caliber special? Caliber has helped me a lot with academics. At my other schools, we would learn one topic for one or two days and then forget about it. Here at Caliber, they help us fully understand our subjects. We even have a computing class where I’m learning how to code with javascript! We practiced it for a long time by building many different websites. I think Caliber is leading me to college -- but to a better college - like Harvard. Because I am getting the qualifications I will need to succeed. I remember one time when I was struggling to understand decimal points in Ms. Fotouhi’s math class. I was getting frustrated. I felt like I didn't even know what notes to write during class. Ms. Fotouhi came and saw that I was frustrated. She helped me. Thanks to her help, I got it little by little. And then when it came time to take the test I finally understood how decimal points work. And I didn't get mad at myself anymore for not knowing.

What do you look forward to every day when you come to school? Every morning, we participate in morning circles. One day we will discuss stereotypes, and then the next day we will talk about how words can affect other people’s feelings and even make someone feel worthless. I enjoy these conversations with my classmates. On Mondays, we share what we did over the weekend to get to know each other a bit better. And then on Fridays, we reflect on our week and thank someone specific for helping us during the week. It makes us feel better to know that people appreciate the help you give them.

What’s your favorite part about going to Caliber? The school involves my parents a lot. One time, they visited our house to talk about my progress. Parents get really involved with our community. Parents help out with field trips and meetings and they also throw fun events. This year, a few moms came together and threw a surprise baby shower for our teacher!



In coding class, students use circuit board kits to build music-playing Banana Pianos.

CALIBER GRADUATES WILL... • be critical thinkers and problem solvers • regularly utilize creativity and applied skills • engage in peer to peer learning, collaboration, and evaluation • be fluent in programming languages


Critical Thinking We want our students to be critical thinkers and problem solvers both in and outside of the classroom. Tests are important to measure progress and understanding in students, but

over-emphasis on test taking skills can limit critical thinking and creativity. Our students have frequent opportunities to apply what they have learned not only on tests, but also through hands-on projects. With a strong academic foundation, Caliber students have the potential to use their talents, skills, and knowledge to tackle challenges in their classrooms, communities, and beyond.

ONE DAY IN THE LIFE of a Caliber student 7:30 - 7:55am

Students Arrive




Restorative Justice Circle


Writing Class


Math or English Language Arts


Recess & Snack


Computing, Crossfit, or SEL


Math or English Language Arts


Lunch & Recess


Science or Social Studies


Enrichment Block


School day ends

Hands-On Learning Opportunities Coding Classes • Passion Projects • Project-based Learning


CALIBER SPOTLIGHT: ANDY Q&A with Andy Grossman, Assistant Principal at Caliber: Beta Academy

“Education should be an interactive and engaging process.”

Tell us a little about yourself.

opportunities for new jobs will be hard to come by.

I started in education in 2001 as a Teach For America Corps Member in Oakland Unified School District.

We are pushing every teacher to get students fully engaged. Whether it be through textual analysis in a literature circle, group science experiments, building in the makerspace, or coding a new website, students should be problem solving and grappling with rigorous content in every subject.

From 2003-2015 I was in San Leandro Unified School District teaching elementary school. I found myself feeling like a salmon; always swimming upstream. Although I often found allies at my previous schools, I was in a system where momentum was moving against change.

What is your favorite pillar: Heart, Smart, Think, or Act?

I came to Caliber because I realized how important it was to be in a place that was mission-aligned and that was ready for change.

Education should be an interactive and engaging process. There is a great quote by Benjamin Franklin: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.”

I started at Caliber last year as a 2nd grade teacher and the dean of K-2. I learned our model from the inside. Last year’s experience gave me the opportunity to lead and use my experience to guide teachers and students through this critical shift in education.

THINK is central to our model because it takes knowledge off of paper and into experiences that are real and relevant. I want our students to go home and talk about what they’ve learned. I want them to lie in bed at night thinking about their classes and the problems they solved that day.

As the Assistant Principal, what are your priorities for Year Three?

THINK is critical to the success of our students and is also critical to the joy that we find on the Caliber campus. At Caliber Schools, we are reimagining education.

Closing the opportunity gap means more than just giving children academic skills and knowledge. The workplace of the 21st century involves collaboration, problem-solving, and comprehension. Without critical thinking skills,

Critical thinking is the skill that allows our bright students to participate in the reimagination themselves.


“Schools like Caliber are desperately needed to provide a great and challenging education for our children. Education is the greatest gift we can offer as parents and as a community.� - Caliber Parent

ACT We understand the power an individual can have in shaping the world around them; that’s why we empower our students to spark change

in their communities.

Agents of Change

All students engage in multiple community service events and projects throughout the year. We infuse our academic projects with cultural context and relevance that activates our students’ inner agent of change. We hope our students will use their experiences, initiative, and passion for justice to make a difference. Whether disrupting industries or fighting the injustices of society, our students will have the tools to make a positive impact.





plants purchased to beautify campus as a result of a kindergarten class protest

letters were sent to the Board of Education in support of a permanent facility

students, family, and staff attended the end of the year stepping up ceremony


Our students wrote letters and bravely spoke at the podium during Board of Education meetings, asking for a better campus in Richmond.

• politically informed and active citizens


• determined to drive change within themselves and their communities • passionate about broader issues within their school, community, and the world • actively engaged in student government


Fitness classes are led by a licensed Crossfit, kickboxing, or yoga coach and take place 2-3x a week to focus on mobility, strength, and conditioning.


We are thrilled to be building a new school in Vallejo, CA. Caliber has purchased four acres of land in central Vallejo and has been working with Pacific Charter School Development to develop an affordable and innovative building design. Our new school will be 52,000 square feet and feature flexible classrooms to support our Personalized Learning Program.

$9 million debt committed


$6.15 million equity and debt subsidized $1.35 million remaining to raise 26

83% of parents think Caliber has had a strong influence on their child’s character

STUDENT SNAPSHOT Caliber: Beta Academy (Grades K-8)

West Contra Costa Unified School District

Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy (Grades TK-3, 6) Vallejo City Unified School District

4% 3% 8%

5% 11%






Hispanic or Latino


Hispanic or Latino

African American

African American

Asian or Pacific Islander


Asian or Pacific Islander




Special Education



English Language Learner



Free or Reduced Lunch

75% 28

Fourth graders at Beta Academy compare mass in a science lab project.

SBAC RESULTS The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) is the Common Core-aligned test taken by every public school in California. Each year, we have more than doubled the number of students scoring proficient or above on SBAC Math from fall to spring.

14% 36% 18% 34% Fall1



2015 - 2016 10% 27% 15%




2014 - 2015

34% Spring

Fall scores based on NWEA MAP’s RIT cut scores


OUR TEACHERS Dedicated teachers change lives. They drive student learning, well-being, and growth every

single day.

Caliber teachers use data to drive instruction. They monitor and assess student learning to ensure that each student’s Personalized Learning Plan addresses his or her needs and goals. Our teachers also evaluate student groupings across their classes and make adjustments as necessary. This way, students are in groups that maximize learning. Caliber teachers also support students’ holistic development through social and emotional-based programming including Restorative Justice, mindfulness, and Positive Behavior Intervention Supports.



hours of high quality professional development per teacher every year


of Caliber: Beta Academy staff returned from end of Year Two to Year Three


of incoming staff for the 2016-2017 school year identifies as an ethnic or racial minority


Sixth Graders at ChangeMakers Academy conference with Mr. Bellamy during a challenge problem in math class

“We are constantly shifting, experimenting, and taking risks for the sake of our students’ learning.” - Ms. Michelle Cardenas, 7th and 8th grade history teacher at Caliber: Beta Academy

COMPONENTS OF THE TEACHER EXPERIENCE • Five full weeks of Professional Development (PD) • Teachers teach 1 - 2 subjects to specialize and develop content expertise throughout the school year • Two hours of differentiated PD every Friday to refine teacher craft and provide space for collaboration • Release time to observe other teachers in the building

• One-on-one coaching through frequent classroom observation and feedback • Weekly grade level team meetings with the support of a veteran grade level lead


OUR LEADERS MEET OUR SCHOOL LEADERS We are lucky to work with some of the brightest and most passionate educators. Caliber School Leaders are dedicated innovators who care deeply about students’ emotional and academic growth. School Leaders oversee academic programming, teacher professional development, parent groups and education, and community events.

Ernest Peterson Chief Schools Officer

Ashlee Gutierrez Beta Academy

Rachael Weingarten ChangeMakers Academy

COMPONENTS OF THE LEADER EXPERIENCE ONE. Founding school leaders spend a year on planning and design before the school opens. Caliber sends leaders to visit schools across the country to see best practices and examples of innovation and excellence. TWO. School leaders participate in cohorts with Relay, Next Generation Learning Challenge, New Schools Venture Fund, Catapult, Charter School Growth Fund, and internal networks to collaborate with other leaders, share ideas, and refine their leadership skills. THREE. Each leader receives one-on-one weekly coaching from our Chief Schools Officer. The School Administration team includes a senior operations coordinator to allow school leaders to focus on academics.


“I opened this school because I truly believe all of our students will become ChangeMakers, think critically, go to college, and find solutions to issues in our community.� -Rachael Weingarten

FINANCIALS Caliber Schools is a 501(c)(3) registered not-for-profit. As a public charter school, our operational costs are largely funded by federal, state, and local governments. Our philosophy is to be sustainable by operating on government funding once we reach full enrollment.

Statement of Financial Position Current Assets Non-Current Assets

$2,190,368 $15,689

Total Assets


Current Liabilities Non-Current Liabilities


Total Liabilities Net Assets

$197,088 $2,008,969


Our Revenue

Our Expenses 2% 2%




School Staff & Benefits Other School Expenses Instructional Supplies & Services CMO Staff & Benefits School Facilities Other CMO Expenses

$ millions


12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Year Zero

Year One

Recurring Public Revenues Please visit for audited financials.

Year Two

Year Three

Year Four

Philanthropy & Grants 34

SUPPORT Caliber is committed to operating its schools solely on government funding once they are fully enrolled. Caliber raises philanthropic funds for facilities projects, school startup costs, and Charter Management Organization (CMO) costs.

OUR MAJOR SUPPORTERS $500,000+ The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Silicon Schools Fund The Tipping Point Community Next Generation Learning Community

Peter & Devon Briger Foundation Public Charter School Grant Program Russ & Beth Siegelman Family Foundation

$250,000+ Beller Moses Family Foundation Walton Family Foundation

Susan and Bill Oberndorf

$100,000+ After School Education and Safety Program Charter School Growth Fund DivcoWest Greg & Julie Flynn

Kowitz Family Foundation John Atwater & Diana Nelson New Schools Venture Fund Zierk Family Foundation

$25,000+ EGG Foundation

Matt & AK L’heureux

$10,000+ Brian and Randye Kwait Paul & Sara Recktenwald

Stephen & Jill Davis

DONORS Adam Berman Chamberlain Foundation Doug Mandell Eduardo Ledesma Eva & Sam Beller Full Circle Fund Jodi Jahic John Haas Joseph Gaybrick Kevin Ryan & Pascaline Servan-Schreiber Henrik Jones Karla Valenzuela Majida Brice

Marlene Quintana Nate & Susan Saal Odyssey Investment Partners Paul Viera Shelby Notkin Strauss Zelnick Terry Mann The Saal Family T’Jae Gibson Todd Fisher Wade Davis Wendy Yanowitch





Please send checks or money orders to the address below and make payable to Caliber Schools.

Phone (510) 680-0254

ATTN: Chayla Gibson Caliber Schools P.O. Box 5282 Richmond, CA 94805


You can also donate online at

Follow us @caliberschools