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Opponents of new charter school give Sequoia district board earful

Original post made on Aug 26, 2008

Charter school opponents outnumbered advocates by about 15 to 1 last week at a sparsely attended public hearing on a petition for Everest, a four-year charter, closely modeled on Summit Preparatory Charter High School, that would open in the fall of 2009.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 20, 2008, 12:00 AM

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Posted by Julia Mangione
a resident of another community
on Aug 26, 2008 at 12:23 pm

My name is Julia Mangione, and I am a rising senior at Summit Preparatory Charter High School. I was not surprised to see your article on Everest's charter petition, as Summit students were informed about the forthcoming board meeting, and that we should anticipate a negative response. However, I was surprised to see the unfair criticisms and widespread misconceptions surrounding Summit's (and Everest's) mission, education, and student body.

Summit's mission is to "to prepare a diverse student population for success in four-year colleges and to be thoughtful, contributing members of society" ( In the past six years, I believe that Summit has admirably lived up to that mission and continues to strive to achieve it with each new freshman class.
I am proud to acknowledge that Everest will share that mission. I spent my first semester of high school at Menlo-Atherton High School, and found that my needs as a student were met neither by the faculty nor by the administration. I was astonished by Ms. Jackson's comment, suggesting that charter schools only "theoretically educate everyone." Although this statement may be applied to other charter schools, it cannot truthfully be applied to Summit, where every student is challenged to work and succeed at the college-prep level, regardless of his/her former coursework or test scores.

In my experience at Menlo-Atherton, which may overall be serving a more diverse student body, classrooms were notably segregated based on test scores and academic ability. I found myself in very homogeneous Advanced Standing classrooms, which clearly did not represent Menlo-Atherton's student population.

Furthermore, this meant that the majority of Menlo-Atherton students were in "standard" or "remedial" classes, entirely based on a standardized entrance exam, which eliminated for many of them the possibility of being eligible for admittance to a four-year college or university as an incoming freshman.

In contrast, I can say that each one of my classes at Summit (excepting foreign-language classes, which clearly have to be based on academic ability) has fairly represented the entire student body, which based on the statistics you provide, is very diverse. Every student at Summit is given the chance to be eligible for admission at a four-year college or university, without consideration of the amount of support s/he will need during his/her four years there.

Teachers at Summit do not hesitate to spend after-school hours supporting each individual Summit student to the greatest extent possible. Although there are other complaints about Summit and Everest included in your article, I have neither the personal experience nor adequate information to address them. However, based on my experiences in two very different high-school environments, I am extremely grateful to Summit for giving me the choice as a high school student to be part of a community whose philosophy and practices I can be proud of.

Admittance to Summit is a possibility for any Sequoia Union High School student, but for those who would choose this alternative, there are simply not enough spaces at Summit. Hopefully the district board will be able to see the merits of what Summit has to offer their students, and cease to see Everest as just one more "new charter school."

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Posted by Deborah Henken
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Sep 4, 2008 at 6:40 pm

It was with interest I read the negative comments about Everest. Both Summit and Everest are preparing students for four year colleges and this smacks of exclusivity? Sequoia has the International Baccaulareate program, and MA and Woodside have Advanced Placement tests. Are these then smacking of exclusivity? Summit and Everest are both choices and that is what a public school system should provide--choices. As to charter schools not being open to everyone, right now, Carlmont is turning away San Carlos students due to the growth in Belmont and Redwood Shores, which is also serves. Shouldn't we welcome yet another alternative to take our students? I fully support these charter schools as an alternative in this school district.

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