School Named for Nikkei Educator

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William Ouchi speaks with student Dayana Amaya at the William and Carol Ouchi High School, Alliance College-Ready Public Schools Jan. 14. Photo by Mark Savage

Veteran education reformer William Ouchi, known for his innovative management theory and tireless efforts to improve Los Angeles public schools, today added a significant new title to his resume: charter school namesake.

Dr. Ouchi and his wife Carol, a lifelong advocate for young people, are the inspiration behind the naming of the “William and Carol Ouchi High School.” Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, which operates the high-performing high school, made the announcement today at a celebration in the Crenshaw District attended by local leaders in education, elected officials, students and community leaders. The Alliance also highlighted its extraordinary successes since its first school opened in 2004, and its goals for moving forward during a time of great opportunity.

Ouchi High School, which opened at a temporary site in 2006, continues the Alliance’s commitment to bringing high-quality education to underserved areas of Los Angeles. Located in the Crenshaw District, a historically low-income and underachieving community, Ouchi High School achieved a 2009 Academic Performance Index (API) score of 799, making it one of the highest performing public high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

“The Alliance is the most successful charter school operator in the area, integrating decades of experience running successful public schools with the best instructional practices, and creating a system that works extremely well for the students,” said Dr. Ouchi. “I am honored to be a part of the organization, and to have my name on this great community school.”

The Alliance has created a critical mass of schools in the neediest neighborhoods of Los Angeles. The 16 existing Alliance schools, including 11 high schools and five middle schools, serve over 5,000 students in areas such as South Los Angeles, Watts, Downtown and East Los Angeles. The organization plans to grow by at least five additional schools in 2010, bringing its total student body to nearly 9,000 students.

“Alliance schools are producing among the highest achievement scores in LAUSD, outperforming neighborhood schools by an average of 200 API points, and we’re getting 100 percent of our graduates accepted to college,” said Judy Burton, president and CEO of the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools.

“Working with experts like William Ouchi, we are on the forefront of education reform, and look forward to continuing to grow and meet our ultimate goal of improving the quality of education for all students in Los Angeles. The Ouchi High School will continue this leadership.”

In 2009, the Alliance was part of a coalition of five California charter management organizations that were granted an unprecedented $60 million by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to increase teacher effectiveness as a way of elevating graduation and college-going rates.

The success of Alliance schools is unique even among charter schools. Five Alliance high schools are in the top 16 highest-performing high schools in the LAUSD, and in 2009 four Alliance high schools were named California Distinguished Schools, an award that recognizes the state’s most exemplary, inspiring and well-rounded community public schools. Of the Alliance’s three graduating classes in 2009, 99% of the students passed the California High School Exit Exam and 100 percent were accepted to college.

“Student achievement and school performance are the top priorities for the Alliance and we are tremendously proud of our exceptional progress and results to date,” said Tony Ressler, Chair of the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools Board of Directors. “We intend to work hard in 2010 to grow the number of schools, and make our leading-edge instructional practices available to even more students.”
Ouchi High School serves almost 500 students in grades nine through 12. The student body is 83 percent Hispanic and 16 percent African American with 19 percent English Language Learners and 88 percent participation in the free or reduced-price meal program.

Professor Ouchi has been involved with the Alliance school that now bears his name since it was founded in 2006. He helped establish a Saturday business academy at the school, offering tutoring and enrichment classes to introduce students to career opportunities in business. He has also made presentations to both staff and students, and last year coordinated a day for students at UCLA’s Anderson school, with a tour, presentations by admissions staff and other activities.

Ouchi speaks at the dedication of the school on Jan. 14.

Ouchi is a member of the Alliance Board of Directors and has been on the UCLA Anderson School faculty since 1979, teaching courses in management and organizational design. He is author of the New York Times bestseller “Theory Z: How American Management Can Meet the Japanese Challenge.” He has also written a book detailing research conducted on K-12 public education, “Making Schools Work: A Revolutionary Plan to Get Your Children the Education They Need.” His most recent book “The Secret of TSL” was published in September 2009.

The mission of the Alliance, a nonprofit charter management organization, is to create a network of small, innovative schools that establish the foundation for college success in students who live in high poverty communities in the Los Angeles area. The Alliance currently operates 11 high school and five middle school campuses. The Alliance is committed to continuing to expand its network of high performing schools in the poorest and lowest achieving communities of Los Angeles, guided by the Alliance principles of educational excellence.

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