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1 they haven't made excuses for why they can't
2 go to college. We are not trying to cream the
3 best and brightest out of the neighborhood and
4 get them into college because, quite frankly,
5 that is not really that ambitious, I don't
6 think. We want kids that wouldn't think about
7 college. It is not on their radar screen if
8 they weren't in our school. Find those kids.
9 Recruit them. Our argument is, if you give
10 them the same opportunities and the same
11 accessibility as kids in good, suburban
12 schools and private schools, they are going to
13 do just as well. That's our argument.
14 The contract hits some things.
15 There is a student section. You can read this
16 for yourself. Things they have to commit to.
17 What we expect from the parents. What we
18 expect from the parents is just to support the
19 program. We don't expect them to be sitting
20 in the back of the classroom cutting out
21 gingerbread every day. That's not realistic
22 for our parents. But we do expect them to


1 come to meetings. If we need to talk to them,
2 we expect them to be at the school. Because
3 we are pulling from 40 zip codes, it is not
4 like they can just walk out their door. Some
5 of those parents have to sit on the Metrobus
6 for 40 minutes to an hour to come to the
7 school. So we are realistic about what
8 parental involvement for our kids means.
9 Expectations. Again, I have been
10 in a lot of education conferences. Everyone
11 says high expectations. It is kind of thrown
12 around a lot. To me what high expectations
13 means is not compromising the expectations you
14 originally started with when you really see
15 where the kids are when you get them. The
16 class that just graduated, when they came to
17 us, they came to us in tenth grade, which is
18 late in the game if you are trying to get kids
19 into college. And you can imagine, they
20 weren't doing a heck of a lot for the ten
21 years before they got to us.
22 We didn't budge. We told them,


1 look, if you are going to stay here, and you
2 are going to graduate, you are going to do the
3 work.
4 We benchmarked them on the SATs.
5 The average score was a 750. By the time they
6 graduated, the class average was a 1050.
7 That's because we made them take the SAT prep
8 classes. We found a way to pay for it so they
9 didn't have to. And we didn't compromise.
10 What I would like to see is, if
11 the local high school where kids normally go,
12 there is like maybe, I think, the senior to
13 freshman ratio is two to one. 50 percent of
14 the kids drop out before they get to their
15 senior year. Of the 50 percent that stays,
16 only 17 percent take the SATs. So right away,
17 83 percent of the kids aren't going to
18 college. That 17 percent is like the cream of
19 the crop. Those are the kids that played by
20 the rules, did what they were supposed to,
21 came to school every day, did their homework.
22 The average SAT for those guys is 750. So


1 even for the kids who want to do well and want
2 to work hard, there is just no opportunities
3 for them. So when you look at those schools,
4 the kids that make it to college, it is like
5 the kid who against all odds in this Herculean
6 effort figures out a way to get there, and it
7 is like they are the hero.
8 Where I went to high school you
9 were kind of the one kid that didn't go to
10 college. You were kind of a loser if you
11 didn't go to college. Everybody went to
12 college. The whole paradigm is different. We
13 are trying to take that institutionalized
14 success and make it part of the culture of our
15 school, where you are looked down upon if you
16 don't go to college. That is a whole lot --
17 it is easy to say but it is hard to do.
18 MR. HERNANDEZ: The screening
19 test, is that Wall Street?
20 MR. BARBIC: Wall Street is a
21 program that we have. Our kids do about two
22 hours of homework every night. If they come


1 to school without their homework, they have to
2 stay that day until it is done. We call
3 that Wall Street. I have friends who work in
4 New York. Basically, I said, look, you are
5 not going home until the work is done. That's
6 the rule on Wall Street. That's the rule
7 here.
8 Some kids stay up in school until
9 9:00 or 10:00. They bitch and moan for the
10 first couple of weeks. But when they realize
11 we are not playing around, they will get their
12 homework done. If you say turn it in tomorrow
13 or turn it in the next day, that kid is a day
14 behind. We don't want our kids to be even a
15 day behind. So we don't let them leave school
16 that day until everything is finished.
17 MR. HERNANDEZ: Chris, one of the
18 key things that you have is the commitment
19 from most kids to work hard. What is the
20 ratio that may come in with that
21 provision that --
22 MR. BARBIC: Leave?


1 MR. HERNANDEZ: -- leave?
2 MR. BARBIC: That's a good
3 question. It is better the younger we get
4 them. The class that graduated last year, we
5 started with 35 kids in that class. 17
6 graduated. But we got them in tenth grade.
7 Our sixth grade class that we started with in
8 1998 that is now freshmen, we have 90 percent
9 of those kids still in school. So what we are
10 learning is -- it is pretty common sense. The
11 younger you get them, the more impact you can
12 have.
13 You can drag a sixth grader
14 through and make them stay until 10:00,
15 working, because they are young. They really
16 don't understand why they are doing it. A kid
17 in tenth grade at 16 or 17, we can catch them
18 up but I can't make them do it. They have to
19 come to the table with some level of
20 motivation.
21 MR. HERNANDEZ: If you start them
22 with that commitment even earlier.


1 MR. BARBIC: Right. And that's
2 what we are talking about, maybe reaching down
3 into elementary school.
4 MS. MAZZUCA: You start in sixth
5 grade?
6 MR. BARBIC: We start in sixth
7 grade.
8 MS. SANCHEZ: Can you talk about
9 the family? How you build --
10 MR. PARET: Can I follow up --
11 sorry. Can I follow up his question?
12 Of the ones who don't make it
13 through the program, do you track why?
14 MR. BARBIC: Most of them we talk
15 to -- we sit down with the families. When a
16 kid says, "I don't want to be here anymore,"
17 we don't just say, "Okay, good-bye." We sit
18 down with the family and we find out why. In
19 most cases it is too much work. They are in
20 school until 5:00. They are doing two hours
21 of homework a night. They don't want to do
22 it. It is a long day. Some of our kids are


1 on a bus an hour each way. They are getting
2 up at 5:00, getting home at 6:30, doing two
3 hours of homework. I wouldn't have done that
4 when I was 12. Some kids, it is just not for
5 them.
6 That's the beauty of being a
7 charter school. It is a choice. No one has
8 to be there. People can unchoose as much as
9 they choose to be there. We are just one
10 example of a solution. There are other
11 things. For some kids it is just not a good
12 fit.
13 The expectation we talked about,
14 one of the things Leslie mentioned, what we do
15 with this contract is, before a kid comes to
16 the school in sixth grade, we do a home visit
17 for every kid. I think it is actually the
18 next slide. "Knowing our constituents." We
19 feel it is real important to know where the
20 kids live, what their home life is like. Do
21 they have a place to study? Are they sharing
22 a bedroom with a brother or sister? If so,


1 how many? Where are they doing their
2 homework? What are their chores like at the
3 end of the day?
4 When a kid starts in sixth grade,
5 that summer before they begin, we do a home
6 visit for every kid. We go to the house, sit
7 down with the parents in their living room,
8 explain the program, explain what we are
9 doing, and explain why it is important. And I
10 think what it does is it is sort of
11 reconnaissance for us. You can tell a lot
12 after an hour of conversation with their
13 family, what the dynamics are.
14 It is good for us but I think it
15 also shows the parents, look, we are serious
16 about what we are doing, we care about you, we
17 have taken the time to sit down with you in
18 your living room in a place you are
19 comfortable with. Because many of our parents
20 are afraid to come up to the school, because
21 they are either undocumented or worried
22 something is going to happen. We go to them,


1 you know, kind of put the olive branch out.
2 Say, we are excited to work with your kid. I
3 think it makes a big difference. We then, in
4 turn, go back and ask them to come up to the
5 school.
6 MR. HERNANDEZ: One question
7 there. Who goes, a teacher?
8 MR. BARBIC: A teacher. We take
9 the list, divide it up. Every teacher is
10 expected to go. And we take a student with
11 us, a student at the school.
12 MR. HERNANDEZ: Those students are
13 committed to work hard and word long hours.
14 How about the teachers?
15 MR. BARBIC: Teachers, same thing.
16 They sign a contract, too, that says they are
17 going to be there. We issue cell phones that
18 the school pays for to every teacher in the
19 school. The reason that we do that is, if a
20 kid is taking AP calculus, their parents can't
21 help them with their homework. They need to
22 be able to get the teacher on the phone, call


1 them up, say, "Help me." We make sure that
2 our teachers are as accessible as possible.
3 The teachers are required to give out their
4 cell phone number to all the kids. That is
5 part of the expectation when they sign the
6 contract.
7 MR. HERNANDEZ: Do you have
8 problems with that, versus pay?
9 MR. BARBIC: What do you mean?
10 MR. HERNANDEZ: How much do you
11 pay them to be able to stay?
12 MR. BARBIC: We pay them more than
13 they would make at HIC, but they are also
14 working longer. We pay the same base salary.
15 We pay them $20 an hour for their extra time
16 during the day, Monday through Friday. An
17 extra $20 an hour for their Saturday time. I
18 give them a much better deal than the teachers
19 are in terms of what I am paying them.
20 Starting salary for a first year
21 teacher is 33, 000 plus they get about an extra
22 $4,000 with the extra money we give them for


1 their extra time.
2 MR. GARCIA: So about 37,000.
3 MR. BARBIC: Yes.
4 MR. VISIEDO: Benefits, also?
5 MR. BARBIC: Yes. We cover all
6 their --
7 MR. GARCIA: What is their
8 experience? How old are the teachers?
9 MR. BARBIC: It is a young staff.
10 Average age is about 25. There are pros and
11 cons to that. I would say average teaching
12 experience is about three or four years.
13 MR. GARCIA: Any have a masters
14 degree?
15 MR. BARBIC: A couple do. One of
16 Mr. Escalante's former students teaches
17 algebra. She has the letter of recommendation
18 he wrote for her to go to college.
19 MR. VISIEDO: Chris, do you have
20 aides in the classroom?
21 MR. BARBIC: No.
22 MR. CANCHOLA: Chris, I am dating

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President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans
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