|The Life Learning Academy Charter High School
|Students rennovate the facility.
Founded in 1998, the Life Learning Academy (LLA) is a non-residential
San Francisco Unified School District charter school,
based on the Delancey Street Foundation principles such as “mutual restitution”: our
students make “restitution” to society through
community service and personal accountability, and society
restores to these underclass youths genuine opportunities
to enter mainstream society successfully and legitimately.
LLA serves high-school aged youths that are involved in the
juvenile justice system and/or have problems including serious
school failure, family problems, gang involvement, poverty,
abuse, and substance abuse. The key elements of LLA include:
(1) the degree to which the students are involved in school
management; and, (2)
the project-based curriculum including actual in-school entrepreneurial
and career development programs such as a mini urban farm and a bike repair shop. All of LLA's courses and activities fall within one of four environmental majors. The majors are focused around the elements, fire, air, earth and water. Within each major is a set of vocational and academic activities that become a student's area of focus.. Rather than treat
students as passive recipients of learning and discipline,
the staff teaches all students to take responsibility for
the school community. Students help cook the meals, tend
the gardens and have groups to determine school policies.
Students progress to become mentors to other students.
Learning is located on Treasure Island, a former Naval Base
that sits in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. Students under the guidance of the Delancey Street Construction Department renovated
the school facility expanding it from 8,000 square feet to 24,000
square feet. Class size is 6 - 8
students on average and extended school hours are offered for peer
and teacher tutoring. Life Learning is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
LLA has been recognized for numerous innovations in educating students that have failed in traditional education settings. In 2002, LLA was one of three schools statewide to receive a California Department of Education Dissemination Grant, which resulted in over 150 educators visiting the school to learn about the program and curriculum. LLA was a finalist in 2004 in the prestigious Innovations in American Government Award from the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. In 2010, LLA was the recipient of the Hart Vision Award as Charter School of the Year for the California Charter Schools Association.
Despite these accolades, our most significant accomplishment has been the graduation of over 100 of our "unreachable" and "unteachable" students, most of whom thought they would never finish high school. LLA maintains a graduation rate over 90%. Over 70% of our graduates have continue on to higher education. Other graduates are attending vocational programs or working full time.
LLA is a separate 501(c)(3) with its own Board of Directors.
Visit the Life Learning Acdemy website for more info.
California Charter School Hart Vision Award - Charter School of the Year (2010)
Leah Garchik (San Francisco Chronicle, 04/12/04)
Learning" (Worth, Dec/Jan 2001)
"This School Teaches Hope"
Chance for Young Thugs" (San Francisco Chronicle, 04/03/00)
Main Subject: Life" (San Francisco Examiner, 05/30/99)