Nearly 400 local students who used to travel to Oakland or Berkeley to attend Aspire Public Schools enjoyed their first day of class Monday at a new state-of-the-art campus in Richmond.
The campus at 3040 Hilltop Mall Rd. houses two public charter schools serving low-income families: Aspire Richmond Technology Academy, which is an elementary school, and Aspire Richmond California College Preparatory High School.
The technology-focused schools received over 1,300 applications for just 500 spots, school officials said.
The elementary school is a brand new school serving K-5 grades this year, with plans to add grades 6 and 7 next year. In the future, the campus will offer a K-5 elementary school serving 312 students, and a grades 6-12 middle and high school serving 420 students.
“For years, families traveled out of West Contra Costa to attend an Aspire school. We’re excited to expand opportunities in Richmond to allow students to get the same college-going, K-12 education in their local community,” said Kimi Kean, Aspire Public Schools Bay Area superintendent.
As part of their curriculum, elementary school students take part in a coding program aimed at developing logical reasoning, creativity and tech fluency. Meanwhile, high school students benefit from one-to-one Chromebooks program as well as a decade-long partnership with the University of California, Berkeley, which includes mentoring, faculty support and exposure to college life and classes.
One hundred percent of Aspire high school graduates were accepted to a four-year college, school officials said.