In a high-crime neighborhood in the Bay Area, children are attending a new charter school. Richmond College Preparatory provides high expectations, small classes and a longer school day and year. From the SF Chronicle:
The sounds of gunshots often send children fleeing for cover in Richmond’s Iron Triangle neighborhood. But a charter school, founded by a lawyer using some of a multimillion-dollar settlement from a chemical disaster, is nurturing hope for a brighter future in one of the Bay Area’s poorest and toughest neighborhoods.
Richmond College Preparatory school is applying such extra resources as an in-house licensed psychologist to counsel families touched by gun violence and operates with an extended school day and year.
The area was exposed to sulfuric acid from a chemical plant in 1993. Some of the settlement money went to a Children’s Foundation, which is helping fund the school in its start-up years.
Critics say the school and other charters don’t help the entire community, just a handful of high-performing students with motivated parents.
The school started with a preschool in 2005 and now has kindergarten and first-grade classes. Students, chosen by lottery, weren’t “high-performing” before they enrolled. In this Chronicle slideshow, all the students are black or Hispanic.