College Acceptance Rates Rise in Unlikely School Setting

By Guest Columnist Feb 20, 2009

By Jamilah King This post originally appeared on WireTap. Excellent news in San Francisco. June Jordan High School for Equity, a relatively new alternative public school in the city’s Excelsior district, has one of the highest college acceptance rates in the city. From New America Media:

June Jordan is a bold experiment that is six years old, with the kids that most people think don’t have a chance. In a state where fewer than half of low-income students graduate from high school, this school is taking the mantra of "high expectations" to another plane. In an era where accountability through test scores is seen as the pathway to success, June Jordan is focusing on curriculum and an alternative method of assessment that looks at students’ ability to write well, think deeply, and present their thoughts in front of adults.

The school made headlines earlier in the year after two students, Jorge Hurtado and Josh Cameron, were murdered within weeks of one another. Classmates turned their grief into action when they held a march and rally to bring attention to homicides in the city, urging public officials to think of community-based alternatives — instead of controversial gang injunctions. The school’s success also comes on the heels of massive underenrollment in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). The district has traditionally enrolled predominately working and middle class students of color. In recent years, increasing numbers of those students and their families have fled the city (PDF) in search of more affordable housing and better performing schools. The low numbers have led to several school closures and teacher layoffs.