Build It Yourself

The University of California at San Diego doesn't just help a local school. It owns one. The Preuss School, on the university's eucalyptus-scented campus, is the nation's first charter school created by a university and dedicated to serving poor, minority students.

What's special about Preuss can be seen in a visit to a ninth-grade geometry class. While teacher Jerry Lederman leads the class from the blackboard, Rachel Ismerio, a 20-year-old psychology major at UCSD, serves as tutor, floating from desk to desk to make sure no one falls behind. And if plotting axis points begins to get dry, the class can...

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