Steve Chamberlin & the New Summit School in El Cerrito (Host Don Farquharson / Sub Karen Nierlich)

Mira Vista Country Club

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[Excerpt from Richmond Confidential.org]

When philanthropist Steve Chamberlin purchased the Windrush School property at 1800 Elm St., he didn’t know who he would invite to occupy the space. He reached out to a number of high performing charter schools including Aspire, KIPP and Summit. When he told people about the possibility of Summit coming to the area, they reacted with amazement. “They said, ‘Wow, here?’” he said. The high demand for schools in places like Albany shows that there is high demand for great schools to come to the area, Chamberlin said.

Chamberlin said Summit would be responsible neighbor in the community. He’s hoping that leasing the property to Summit will contribute another valued option to local students.

Many of them are looking for better teaching quality, smaller class sizes, and safe environments for their kids, said Scottie Smith­, an educational advocate for families in the West Contra Costa Unified School District. “I get calls from parents trying to figure out where to send their kids,” she said. “Parents in this district are looking for alternatives to what they have.”

Smith is pleased with Summit’s track record, including with kids with special needs.

Summit operates six schools on the peninsula, from Daly City to San Jose.

Garcia was previously Dean of Students at Summit’s Everest Public High School in Redwood City. Summit’s schools boast a 100 percent graduation rate, with each student meeting the minimum requirements to attend a California public four-year university, according to Heather Vega, Summit spokesperson.

Many of the students who would attend Summit K2 through high school would otherwise go to Kennedy. Forty percent of students did not graduate in the school year 2011 to 2012, according to the California Department of Education.

Smith said the public charter could become an asset for the rest of the public schools. “The district can learn from people who are getting it right,” she said.

 

7901 Cutting Boulevard, El Cerrito, CA 94530, USA