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May 30, 2007
CONTACT: Ward Mullens

EMU charter school designated one of best in the nation

YPSILANTI - The Ann Arbor Learning Community, an authorized charter school of Eastern Michigan University, has been designated as one of the 53 best charter schools in the United States by the Center for Education Reform (CER).

The Ann Arbor Learning Community is one of only two schools in Michigan to receive the honor and one of 53 charter schools nationwide to earn the designation. There are 3,940 charter schools in the United States and all were eligible for the honor.

“It’s a recognition of continuous outstanding performance,” said Joseph Pollack, director of EMU’s Charter School Program.

“We are proud to be recognized as one of the Charter Schools of the Year,” said Jennifer Taylor, dean of the school.  “At Ann Arbor Learning Community, we focus on the development of the whole child.  Through core academics, environmental education, arts and our community agreements, we strive to promote in students a lifelong love of learning. Staff, parents and community members are dedicated to providing support and encouragement in helping students to become self-confident, intrinsically motivated, contributing members of their school, local and global communities."

The Ann Arbor Learning Community was established in 1998 as a K-6 school with an emphasis on the environment and fine arts. It is now a K-8 school with approximately 180 students from various socioeconomic backgrounds. The school serves Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and surrounding communities, Pollack said.

“From the beginning they have been a successful school,” Pollack said. “Their test scores (MEAP) always exceed the state average.”

“We commend all of the honorees for their achievement,” said CER President Jeanne Allen. “They are among the vanguard of a school choice movement that provides more than one million children an educational opportunity that might otherwise be unavailable.”

Evaluation of the schools proceeded along four themes: achievement, planning and execution; satisfaction; and policies and programs. Each theme included additional criteria (12 in total), such as improvement over time; percentage of at-risk students served; meeting mission and goals; and parental involvement.

Charter schools serve more than one million students in 40 states and Washington D.C.

EMU’s charter school program consists of eights schools.

The Center for Education Reform creates opportunities for, and challenges obstacles to, better education for America’s communities. Founded in 1993, CER combines education policy with grassroots advocacy to foster positive and bold education reforms.


Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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