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The Preuss School UCSD Named One of 10 ‘Breakthrough Schools’ in the Nation


  • Laura Margoni

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  • Laura Margoni

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The Preuss School is dedicated to expanded learning time through longer days and a longer school year. As a result, after completing middle and high school, Preuss students have accumulated almost an entire extra academic year.

The Preuss School UCSD is one of 10 schools in the nation being recognized for academic success through the 2012 MetLife Foundation-National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) Breakthrough Schools program. The Preuss School, a unique charter middle and high school for low income, highly motivated students from throughout San Diego County, is the only school in California to receive the award this year.

“It is an honor to be recognized as a Breakthrough School,” said Scott Barton, principal of The Preuss School UCSD. “Faculty, staff, parents, volunteers and community members all collaborate to support our students, who participate in a rigorous, single-track college preparatory curriculum. The result of this hard work and effort is that more than 90 percent of our graduates are accepted to four-year colleges and universities every year.”  

Established in 2007, the MetLife Foundation-NASSP Breakthrough Schools program awards middle level and high schools that are high achieving or dramatically improving student achievement and serve large numbers of students living in poverty. Selection criteria are based on a school’s documented success in implementing strategies that are aligned with the three core areas of NASSP’s Breaking Ranks Framework including collaborative leadership; personalization; and curriculum, instruction and assessment. These schools have demonstrated continuous growth on state assessments over at least three years and efforts toward reducing the achievement gap. Success in implementing the strategies is documented and verified through school site visits.

Students at Preuss come from more than 40 zip codes in San Diego County, but they all have one common goal—to go to college.

“The 10 MetLife Foundation-NASSP Breakthrough Schools have demonstrated significant and sustained improvement among students who are impacted by poverty and all of its associated issues,” said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. “It is important to note that steady growth and reduction of gaps are significant criteria for identifying and recognizing these schools as opposed to making AYP (adequate yearly progress), a designation not based on national standards.”

“Effective education is a collaborative venture,” added Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “We commend the principals of these Breakthrough Schools for providing the type of leadership that helps teachers, parents, students and communities work together to succeed.”

In addition to Preuss, the other 2012 MetLife Foundation-NASSP Breakthrough Schools are:

  • Bloomfield High School, Bloomfield, NJ
  • Lafayette Academy Charter School, New Orleans, LA
  • Lesher Middle School, Fort Collins, CO
  • Oscar F. Smith Middle School, Chesapeake, VA
  • Pierce County High School, Blackshear, GA
  • Vallivue Middle School, Caldwell, ID
  • Wade-Hampton High School, Greenville, SC
  • West Carter Middle School, Olive Hill, KY
  • Woodbridge Middle School, Woodbridge, VA

The schools will be honored at the 2012 NASSP Breaking Ranks K-12 Conference in Tampa, FL, March 8-10, 2012. Each school will also receive a $5,000 grant and will be featured in NASSP’s monthly magazine, Principal Leadership. For more information about the program and the selected schools, visit

The Preuss School UCSD was named the top transformative high school in the nation by Newsweek and has been consistently ranked as one of America’s best high schools by the Washington Post and U.S. News & World Report. With 816 students in grades 6-12, The Preuss School has an exemplary Academic Performance Index Score (API) of 899, one of the highest in the county. The school, located on the UC San Diego campus, is jointly chartered by UC San Diego and the San Diego Unified School District.

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