August 20, 1999

Preuss School at UCSD To Welcome Charter Class With Weekend Orientation

Some 420 young students and their parents, representing the initial class of the public charter Preuss School, will attend orientation activities Aug. 21-22 on the campus of their future scholastic home, the University of California, San Diego.

The 150 sixth, seventh and eighth grade students, selected by lottery from among 503 San Diego County applicants, and their parents will be greeted by Doris Alvarez, principal, and her newly named 11-member faculty. The student body total includes 50 each in the three grades. The majority comes from within the San Diego city school boundaries, but other communities also are represented.

Classes begin Sept. 7 at the innovative school--the only public charter school in the state to be established on a university campus--when yellow school buses unload students for attendance in temporary quarters on the Thurgood Marshall College campus. The sleek, temporary classrooms are ringed with computers and look out on the campus eucalyptus groves.

Meanwhile, the $13.1 million Preuss School complex of buildings is under construction on UCSD's East Campus, with completion expected next fall. At steady state, in the year 2003, the school will accommodate 700 sixth through 12th graders.

The mission of The Preuss School is to prepare its students to win admission to, and succeed at, top level universities. All students in the charter class meet the criteria for Preuss School admission: they come from low income families, with no parent who holds a university degree, and they show the potential to succeed academically.

The orientation weekend activities kick off at 8 a.m. Aug. 21 in the Price Center Theatre and continue throughout the day with meetings and tours, culminating at 6 p.m. with dinner, music and dancing. Parents will join their youngsters in bedding down overnight in residence halls on the Earl Warren and Thurgood Marshall college campuses. Sunday activities from 8 to 11:30 a.m. include meeting teachers by grade levels.

UCSD students will serve as tutors, interns and mentors, and UCSD faculty will be involved in special projects.

Classes will range from 20-27 students; the school day and academic year will begin earlier and end later than in the San Diego School District, and class periods will be longer than is traditional. All students will take four years of mathematics, laboratory sciences and English, three years of a foreign language and fine arts, and two years of history. Community service in the students' home communities also will be required.

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