Elementary Schools Of The Year: Like A Free Private Academy

WINNER The Accelerated School/Los Angeles A charter school challenges inner-city kids with tough coursework--and engages them with art and yoga

Zachary Johnson has a familiar complaint about his school: the cafeteria food stinks. In most places, such gripes fall upon deaf ears. But Zachary, 13, attends the Accelerated School in South Central Los Angeles, where the teachers are determined to make school both challenging and attractive. Says Zachary, who helped persuade administrators to add a salad bar: "The teachers actually listen to you, and you don't find that in other schools around here."

Nor do you find many inner-city schools with the academic results produced at Accelerated, which serves Grades K through 8--and, as a charter school, is free of much...

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