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An Academic Dynasty

This is blog #1 in a weeklong series of blogs featuring charter schools during Charter Schools Week 2015. Sign the pledge to show your support for public charter schools!

When people hear the word “decathlon,” images of the Olympics and athletic prowess irunningn track and field come to mind.

For the parents, students, and teachers at Granada Hills Charter School, intellectual expertise and academic success are instead what shine through

In 2011, 2012, and 2013, Granada Hills Charter High School won the national title at the National Academic Decathlon Championships. The school persevered and repeated the win this year – prompting CBS News to call it an “academic dynasty”.

GranadaHills awardOn paper, some might be surprised that the school has reached such great heights. The school serves thousands of students that participate in the free and reduced lunch program, serves other traditionally underserved student populations, and is located in the challenging Los Angeles area.

But the school has always been a leader, and a pioneer in the education reform movement. When it was founded 12 years ago, teachers put in hard work to convert the 4,500 student traditional Los Angeles public school into a charter school. Today, Granada Hills is multicultural, multifaceted, and multitalented. How does it do it all?

Board member and co-founder Sonja Eddings Brown says the success of the school is supported by its diversity, by ensuring money stays closest to the kids, and by treating educators like true professionals.

Everyone is looking for a good school, and wants to know how to build one, says Brown. She says that children everywhere would have a greater chance to be academic superstars if more schools had the autonomy and freedom that Granada Hills enjoys as a public charter school.


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