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CA Charter Schools Association Research Spotlights Latino Achievement and Path to Scholastic Success

October 15, 2021

Two Charter Public Schools, One Mission: Latino Academic Excellence Examines Best Practices at Two High Performing Charter Schools

SACRAMENTO, CA  As Latino Heritage Month comes to a close, the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) remains focused on ways in which California’s K-12 system can do more to support the academic needs of Latino students who now represent the largest ethnic group in public schools. 

To that end, CCSA today released a new research brief Two Charter Public Schools, One Mission: Latino Academic Excellence which focuses on the methods that two charter public schools have used to better engage their Latino students and strengthen educational outcomes – South Los Angeles’ Libertas College Preparatory Charter and Menifee’s Santa Rosa Academy.

The results of their approaches are exceptional: both schools are in the 85th percentile or higher on the annual state assessment (CAASPP) and are handily outperforming neighboring district schools in serving Latino students. 

The brief also looks at the overall performance of Latino students in the state and finds that a higher proportion of charter public schools are accelerating the closing of opportunity gaps for Latino students. 

The 2017-2019 CAASPP academic growth data – which was just recently released by the California Department of Public Education – shows that proportionally more independent charter schools had very high average growth with Latino students than traditional public schools

While Latino students attending California’s charter public schools are performing better than traditional public schools on statewide test scores overall, an opportunity gap exists when compared to all students and public schools need to do a better job in delivering a quality education to a growing and underserved community of students

“It is important to look at how California’s public schools serve Latino students and aspire to provide greater opportunities for our future leaders and innovators. While Two Charter Public Schools, One Mission: Latino Academic Excellence demonstrates how charter public schools are working to close the opportunity gap for Latino students, there is more work to be done,” said CCSA President and CEO Myrna Castrejón, . “This brief underscores how charter public schools are able to utilize their flexibility and autonomy to develop effective programs that help students thrive academically.”

CCSA’s research brief Two Charter Public Schools, One Mission: Latino Academic Excellence, outlines the fundamental “building blocks” at Libertas and Santa Rosa Academy leading to strong academic gains in hopes that public schools across the state can build their capacity in boosting the academic performance of their Latino students.

Some of those building blocks include character education, monitoring the development of academic skills, recruiting more educators of color, and increasing community service and engagement.

Other key data points about the education landscape for Latino students in our state, include:

  • Latino students make up 55.3 percent of the public school student population in California, the single largest ethnic group in the state’s K-12 education system.
  • Within charter public schools, 52.4 percent of charter public school students are Latino. That’s a five percent increase over the past seven years.
  • Latino charter public school students are a diverse group: 26 percent are English Language Learners, 13 percent are on specialized learning plans, four percent are homeless, and 77 percent live in poverty.

 CCSA is committed to advancing educational opportunities for all students, through our support of exceptional public schools like the two charter schools highlighted in Two Charter Public Schools, One Mission: Latino Academic Excellence. Schools like Libertas College Preparatory Charter and Santa Rosa Academy are leading the way in the effort to close opportunity gaps for Latino students. There are many lessons to be learned and shared from the successes of their students. 

The brief is available for download in English here and in Spanish here

For more information or for interview requests, contact CCSA Director of Media Relations and Research Ana Tintocalis at