Aug 19, 2016
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Caliber Schools, which runs nonprofit public charter schools in Richmond and Vallejo, filed a charter petition with the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) on Thursday to open a high school serving graduates from its Beta Academy K-8 school.

If approved by the district, Caliber plans to open the new high school — which would initially enroll 90 students with full enrollment set at 360 — in August 2017.

In a statement, Caliber Schools officials said no Richmond facility under Prop. 39 has yet been chosen for the proposed high school. Prop. 39 is a law enacted in 2003 that requires school districts to provide their charter school students with facilities that are “reasonably equivalent” to those used by non-charter students.

Currently, Caliber’s Beta Academy K-8 students are housed in portable classrooms near Kennedy High. The charter school organization has reportedly expressed interest in purchasing and renovating the long-vacant Adams Middle School campus in East Richmond Heights as a more permanent location for the elementary school.

The newly proposed Richmond high school, where Beta Academy students would attend after 8th grade, is a separate venture for Caliber Schools. While it doesn’t have a campus yet, it does have a new principal.

Ernest Peterson, who has led K-8 and 9-12 schools in the U.S. and Dominican Republic, would lead the high school.

“I’m excited to be back in my home state to help service our community in Richmond,” Peterson said in a statement.

The principal is spending the next year working with 8th grade students and their teachers and families at Beta Academy.

“Students deserve to have a Caliber high school that continues Caliber’s mission of providing a personalized, rigorous, relevant education,” Peterson added.

Caliber is also planning to open its first K-8 school in Vallejo on Aug. 23 in a Prop. 39 facility at the Vallejo High School Annex, which will be a temporary site until a permanent, private facility is completed.


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.