Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Emerging Leader

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Emerging Leader

Article excerpt

Meg Palisoc wanted to make a difference in people's lives. She and her husband, Randy, decided the best way to do that was to open a charter school in the inner city of Los Angeles. Before opening Synergy Charter Academy, Palisoc, a member of PDK's 2006-07 Class of Emerging Leaders, worked in student affairs for the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California. Part of her job was to help retain students in the engineering major. She found that the K-12 experience of some students was affecting their academic performance in college.

"I was seeing that even when students make it and get into college, there was still a large gap between students' skills, knowledge, and abilities," Palisoc said.

So five years ago, she and Randy founded Synergy Charter Academy, a K-5 elementary charter school in Los Angeles. It has 155 students and seven teachers. This year, they added Synergy Kinetic Academy with 6th grade (90 students and three teachers), and they plan to add 7th and 8th grades in the coming years. The high school, Synergy Quantum Academy, will open in 2011.

"We picked one of the highest need communities in the city of Los Angeles, where most of the schools are really struggling," Palisoc said. "In a short amount of time, we've seen huge success."

The school's awards, including being named the 2007 National Charter School of the Year by the Center for Education Reform, are listed at its web site, http://wearesynergy. …

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