Oprah's Angel Network Donates $1 Million to Aspire Public Schools

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Donation to Aspire Follows Record Academic Achievement and Today’s Appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”

"Our success with the nearly 10,000 students Aspire serves across California is a tribute to our teachers and our team—and a reason to be incredibly optimistic about what we can achieve in every public school." James Willcox, Aspire CEO

Aspire Public Schools, California’s top-performing large public school system serving predominately low-income students, today announced that Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network awarded them $1 million in recognition of Aspire’s high-quality schools. Winfrey gave the donation to Aspire CEO James Willcox before her studio audience during a taping featuring Aspire, which will air this afternoon.

Aspire is one of six successful public school organizations nationwide to receive the award from Oprah during today’s show dedicated to “Waiting for ‘Superman,’” a documentary film premiering this Friday, September 24. The award-winning documentary is gaining prominent attention for raising awareness of the crisis in our national public school system. Aspire was featured on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” along with Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and philanthropist; Davis Guggenheim, director of “Waiting for ‘Superman’” as well as environmental documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” among others.

Aspire, the largest operator of public charter schools in California, runs 30 open-enrollment public charter schools serving nearly 10,000 public school students throughout the state of California, including five new charter schools which opened this fall. The charter management organization posted record achievement on California’s Academic Performance Index released last week with an overall score of 824.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by Oprah’s Angel Network as part of her call to the country to make sure every student has a chance to attend a high-quality public school,” said Aspire Public Schools CEO James Willcox. “The upcoming movie “Waiting for ‘Superman’” will challenge our country to do just that. Our success with the nearly 10,000 students Aspire serves across California is a tribute to our teachers and our team—and a reason to be incredibly optimistic about what we can achieve in every public school across the state and across the country.”

Aspire will use the grant money to help alleviate some of the massive financial pressure put on its schools due to the state budget crisis. State funding cuts have resulted in a loss of over $10 million in state funding for the current school year. State funding cuts and deferrals continue to disproportionately affect charter school organizations across the state.

Aspire’s success in serving students in grades K-12 has resulted in 100 percent of last year’s graduating seniors getting accepted to four-year colleges or universities, with many being the first in their families to attend.

About Aspire Public Schools
Aspire Public Schools is a nonprofit organization that currently operates 30 high-performing open-enrollment public charter schools throughout California with an emphasis on serving low-income communities. Aspire is also one of the highest-performing public school systems in California, operating public charter schools across the state with one specific goal – preparing urban students for college – encapsulated by its motto of “College for Certain”. Aspire offers a dependable, high-quality education in six communities throughout California, including East Palo Alto, Modesto, Oakland, Stockton, Sacramento, and Los Angeles. After opening five new schools this fall, Aspire now serves a total of 9,845 students in grades K-12. Aspire plans to open three to four new schools each year to provide the opportunity of “College for Certain” to even more children. Visit Aspire Public Schools at http://www.aspirepublicschools.org


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