Celebrating 20 Years Making a Difference in Education
The Leona Group is celebrating 20 years in improving life chances for urban students through school choice.

We are proud of our Leona Group schools and all the amazing things we are collectively doing for children every single day. Each and every Leona Group academy provides a beacon of hope in its community and as such, families choose Leona Group schools. Students and parents are our focus and their reviews are positive and plentiful, which is why we have more than 60 charter school campuses in five states. It is why we continue to work every day to improve life chances for children. It is why we've been in operation for 20 years and why we plan to continue operating for decades to come.

We thank those of you who have worked with us, supported and advocated for us and who continue alongside us on our journey. 

William Coats, Ph.D.
15 Leona Group Schools in Arizona Awarded 20 Year Charter Renewal
The Leona Group manages 27 schools in the state of Arizona; of these, 15 have been in operation for 20 years and were up for charter renewal this year. The schools went before the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools on March 14 and all were approved and awarded 20 year charter extensions. The remaining 12 Leona AZ schools will be up for charter renewal at a later date.

This accomplishment is the direct result of years of hard work, passion and a steadfast commitment to our mission. It is the direct result of every member of our TLG family rowing in the same direction to achieve great things for kids.

Congratulations and thank you to all of the leaders and school-based leadership teams who scored 20 year charter extensions for Team Leona!
  • Crestview College Preparatory High School, Kristin Schaefer
  • Desert Hills High School, Greg Garland
  • Estrella High School, J.D. Corey
  • Peoria Accelerated High School, Amanda Bachler & Marcus Englund
  • West Phoenix High School, Alex Horton
  • Skyview High School, Danielle Calderon
  • Vista Grove Preparatory Academy -- Elementary & Middle School, Abelardo Batista
  • Apache Trail High School, Terra Kasapo
  • Sun Valley High School, Joe Procopio
  • Maya High School, John Anderson
  • Summit High School, Jim Sigman
  • Quest High School, Melissa Barnett
  • Gilbert Arts Academy, Lauren Arnold & Lisa Figueroa
  • Liberty Arts Academy, Julia Angel
Thank you also to our academic support team who worked tirelessly to guide our schools through the renewal process successfully.

Again, it is because of the commitment that we all share, evidenced daily through our intentional focus on serving kids and communities in the greatest need, that today was a success. In the words of Georgia Rodgers, we have another 20 years "to give hope and to inspire, to show love and demonstrate compassion, to educate and build futures, to make a difference and save lives. What an opportunity!"

South Ridge High School Top 10 School in Phoenix
South Ridge High School, Phoenix, AZ
South Ridge High School in Phoenix was recognized on Tuesday, March 22 as one of the city's top 10 schools with the smallest achievement gap. South Ridge High School educates more than 440 students, nearly all of whom are from low-income families.  

The report finds that South Ridge is among the most equitable schools in Phoenix. Serving a population where the majority of students are from low-income families, South Ridge High School has effectively closed the achievement gap. 

The Education Equality Index is the first national comparative measure of the achievement gap at the school, city and state levels, and identifies the regions where children from low-income communities are most likely to attend schools usually only available to their more advantaged peers. Funded by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and developed in partnership by the foundation, Education Cities and GreatSchools, the EEI features school, city and state-level data covering the nation's 101 biggest cities in 36 states.

"Every child deserves an equal chance at success in school and life," said South Ridge School Leader Dr. Melissa Rivers. "We're proud of the work being done here at South Ridge by faculty, staff, students, and their families. Our goal is to give all of our students an opportunity to achieve, and we hope other schools can learn from our success."
Mackinac Center for Public Policy Names Two TLG Schools in Top 100
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy released its 2015 Michigan Public Elementary and Middle School Context and Performance Report card, naming two Leona Group schools in the top 100 and in the top 10% of schools in the state of Michigan.

The report card's "CAP Score" adjusts the most recent three years of MEAP Grade 3 through 8 assessment scores based on expected performance according to a school's free (not reduced) lunch student population. Cesar Chavez Academy Middle School has a 97.1% free lunch rate and was awarded a CAP grade of an A with a state rank percentage of 96.5%; Northridge Academy has a 97.6% free lunch rate and was awarded a CAP grade of an A at 95.8%.

Congratulations to Cesar Chavez Academy Middle School and Northridge Academy!
Hope of Detroit Academy Breaks Ground on Middle/High School Campus
Dr. Bill Coats, left, with Hope of Detroit School Leader,
Mr. Ali Abdel.
Hope of Detroit Academy hosted a groundbreaking celebration on Wednesday, Feb. 10 for its new middle and high school campus.

Hundreds were present to cheer on the academy expansion. Board President Tom Rys, who has been with the academy board since its inception and has been an integral visionary for academy growth, was in attendance along with fellow board members, students, staff, Ferris State University representative Ron Rizzo, Leona Group support staff and CEO Dr. William Coats, and representatives from Taktix Solutions.

The new state-of-the-art facility will be completed in time for the 2016-17 school year, and will feature state-of-the-art technology throughout in support of the school's focus on STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The new building will initially house grades 5-9, adding an additional grade each subsequent year to ultimately serve grades K-12. Students in grades K-4 will continue to attend classes at Hope of Detroit Academy's existing campus located at 4443 N. Campbell.

Hope of Detroit Academy has been a Michigan Reward School for three years running, offering individualized attention with a focus on mastery of core academics, second language learning opportunities for both students and parents, computer lab, library, dress code and full-day kindergarten.
Arizona State Senate Declares March 9, 2016 "Larry McGill, Jr. Day"
Mr. Larry McGill, school leader at South Pointe High School
March 9, 2016 was designated by the Arizona State Senate as "Larry McGill, Jr. Day."

Larry McGill, school leader at South Pointe High School in Phoenix and a Leona employee for 16 years, was recognized in front of the Arizona State Senate with a proclamation signed by Senate President Andy Biggs and Senator Catherine Miranda. 

The Arizona State Senate recognized Mr. McGill for his career successes, including creating a risk-free learning environment and opening the lines of communication between families and staff at South Pointe. They also acknowledged him for his Unsung Hero Award for his service to education as a pillar of his community by the Commission on African American Affairs and named him an admirable role model in South-Central Phoenix.

Congratulations, Mr. McGill for this outstanding honor!
Cesar Chavez Academy High School Named Academic State Champ
Juan Alberto Nieves, grade 11 student, CCA High School
Cesar Chavez Academy High School in Detroit returned to the prestigious list of Bridge's Academic State Champions this year, ranking sixth in its division.

44 high schools were named 2015 Academic State Champs, based on an analysis of three years of test scores and factoring student family income. They were grouped by county size and student family poverty/income levels. They represent the top five percent of nearly 770 public high schools statewide.

In the absence of new state standardized test data, the schools were awarded State Champ designations using proficiency scores from the ACT, ranking schools by the percent of students considered career or college ready (i.e., proficient) in the four ACT subject areas: math, English, reading and science, adjusted for income.

Congratulations, CCA HS!
Cesar Chavez Academy Upper & Highland Park Renaissance Win 2016 6th Annual Midwest Leona Group Spelling Bee
On Friday, March 11, 83 Michigan and Ohio students from 14 Leona Group schools competed in the Sixth Annual Leona Group Midwest Spelling Bee at Discovery Academy in Toledo. All Midwest Leona schools were eligible to participate and contestants range from grades 3 through 8. Students qualify to participate in the Bee by winning their school-level spelling bees. The school team who collectively spells the most words correctly wins the team award. Individuals who come in first and second place received prizes.

The 3rd-5th grade division champions:
1st place school: Cesar Chavez Academy Upper Elementary
Cesar Chavez Academy Upper Elementary winning team: Daniel Ortega, Mirando Alonso, Ingrid Hernandez and second place winner from Hope of Detroit: Diego Hernandez
Top 10 finalists in grades 3-5:
  1. Ingrid Hernandez, Cesar Chavez Academy Upper Elementary
  2. Diego Hernandez, Hope of Detroit Academy
  3. Peyton Williams, George Crockett Academy
  4. Jessyman Pontius, REACH Academy
  5. Terreonna Robinson, Francis Reh Public School Academy
  6. Daniel Ortega, Cesar Chavez Academy Upper Elementary
  7. Emiliano Galarza, Academy for Business & Technology Elementary
  8. Taylor Sims, Joy Preparatory Academy
  9. Anayra Branch, Academy for Business & Technology Elementary
  10. Brandon Naylor, Highland Park Renaissance Academy
The 6-8th grade division champions:
1st place school: Highland Park Renaissance Academy
Highland Park Renaissance Academy winning team: Taylor Carter, Madison Craft, Chyra Parker and Khrystian Irvin
Top 10 finalists in grades 6-8:
  1. Madison Craft, Highland Park Renaissance Academy
  2. Oluwaseyi Akiintoroye, Joy Preparatory Academy
  3. Niah Lee, Discovery Academy
  4. Maria Sanchez, Cesar Chavez Academy Middle School
  5. Ivar Arias, Hope of Detroit Academy
  6. Martin Lozano, Hope of Detroit Academy
  7. Taylor Carter, Highland Park Renaissance Academy
  8. Chyra Parker, Highland Park Renaissance Academy
  9. Jenny Flores, Cesar Chavez Academy Middle School
  10. Angel Scott, George Crockett Academy
Congratulations to our 2016 Leona Group Midwest Spelling Bee champions! Thank you to all of our spellers, coordinators, guests, volunteers, sponsors and hosts for making this event so wonderful.
Wildwood Environmental Academy Is Going Solar
Wildwood Environmental Academy is focused on developing "environmentally responsible citizens who work and volunteer in their community to make a difference." The school places an emphasis on environmental sciences to foster a stewardship of the earth. In its efforts, the school will seek to provide for its own energy needs through solar power.

Solar panes will be installed and maintained on campus. Given Ohio's huge reliance on fossil fuel generated electricity, the school will serve as a demonstration of how renewable energy sources can successfully provide electricity. The solar panels will convert all of the buildings on campus to run on solar-generated electricity. This will yield a $15,000 savings annually.

In addition, wind turbines will be installed on school grounds to charge iPads. Each classroom will have its own programmable thermostat, which will yield even more savings.
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