Mission: ACE Charter Schools works with families and communities in the highest-need neighborhoods to create and sustain middle and high schools where students who have been left behind by the traditional school system grow to be ready, by the time they leave high school, to choose to ...
Check out this post honoring Rene Silva, 6th grade math teacher at ACE Empower Academy.
The ACE Public School Network was started by a group of community organizers and parent leaders from the organization PACT (People Acting in Community Together). PACT had started an organizing movement in East San Jose around quality public schools that eventually led to the opening of several small District schools where principals and families were given the power to design their own schools from the ground up.
However, political considerations threatened the success of those schools, and Greg Lippman, along with Susan Hammer (former mayor of San Jose), founded ACE Charter Schools to build on the community movement that the first ACE had started, and to create charter schools specifically designed for the most marginalized students and families in San Jose.
In 2008, the first ACE school opened with 95 5th and 6th graders. In 2017, the first class of ACE high school alumni headed off to college.
ACE Charter Schools has grown by leaps and bounds since opening in 2008, and now numbers four schools (three middle schools and one high school) with over 1,200 students and over 100 alumni in college.
Our teachers, leaders and staff are wholeheartedly committed to the ACE mission: to serve the most marginalized students and families and support them on the path to college.
"If you want to obtain that "rewarding" feeling of being a teacher, work here!" - ACE Teacher
ACE staff believe in a community-driven school model of consistent support and inclusion for all students and families. After 10 years, we finally have data to show that the ACE model works.
I have been working at ACE Charter Schools full-time
True mission-alignment: ACE was founded as a grassroots organization committed to serving students and families that could benefit most from an alternative to their current education system. ACE has stayed true to a model of student recruitment that challenges a main criticism of the charter movement that charter schools do not serve all students. Our student demographics are striking compared to our public, charter, and private schools in the area - 98% FRL, 20% SpED, 50-60% ELs.
Honest, reflective and empathetic staff - our teachers, admin, CMO and support staff are transparent about their strengths and areas for growth. We lean on each other for support like a family, and we grow together from our mistakes.
Professional growth: ACE is working to build strong internal leadership pipelines with roles like a School-Leader-in-Training for middle-leader teachers - 1/2 day teaching, 1/2 the day as a school admin role. 4 out of 6 of our leadership hires for the 2018-19 school year were promoted internally. The talent team offers support for teachers navigating the CA Teacher Credentialing process, and ACE offers a $2,000 tuition reimbursement for higher education.
Diversity and Inclusion: we are a family and accept all people - students, families, teachers, leaders and support staff - as they are. 48% of our new hires identify as a person of color, 3/4 of our principals are leaders of color, and 1/3 of our new teachers identify as LatinX.
The work is not easy - in any role at any level of the organization. You must be truly dedicated to achieving the ACE mission to thrive here. You also must be collaborative, especially at the central office level. You approach every interaction with all staff members from a place of curiosity and compassion.
Hours: Like other charter organizations, the hours can be longer than a traditional district. We seek to offset this with a competitive salary scale.
Resources: we are very much a publicly funded school. We are working to grow our development team, but we are 'lean and mean' and often have to think creatively about how/where to spend resources.
Advice to Management
- More fundraising.
- Improved comms to get the word out about our awesome and unique school model!
I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at ACE Charter Schools (San Jose, CA) in May 2015.
The interview process was with management from different departments. The first round was with the hiring management from finance on the phone. Next step was face to face. The final interview process was with two different directors from different departments.
The offer was given and there is room for negotiation. I suggest in any offer, to look at the entire benefit package (vacation, medical coverage, insurances, etc).
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