Alameda school district officials have renewed the charter for the Bay Area School of Enterprise, the campus in the city's West End that was the first student-launched charter high school in the nation.

But while trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to renew BASE's charter, district officials said school administrators must do more to help teachers with professional development, especially for supporting students with serious skill or learning problems.

About 115 students are now enrolled at BASE, which mixes college-prepatory classes with community projects in a program aimed at young people who have struggled within a traditional classroom setting.

The school is a model for helping students succeed, parent Brian McNamara said.

"Not all kids fit into a standard program," said McNamara, a San Leandro resident whose son has attended the school on Third Street for the past four years.

Student Paul Natale, who was recently accepted into California State University East Bay, said BASE offered "a culture of respect, pride and community ties."

Founded in February 2001, the school is run under the nonprofit Alternatives in Action, which also oversees the Home Sweet Home preschool at the same location, plus other programs at McClymonds High School and Life Academy in Oakland.

Last spring, 52 percent of BASE seniors were accepted into four-year colleges and universities and 95 percent of graduates went on to higher education, according to school officials.


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As a charter school, BASE offers parents and students choices and a flexible learning environment, Trustee Mike McMahon said.

But he noted that parents would have fewer choices if voters reject Measure A, the proposed parcel tax to benefit local schools that is on the March 8 ballot. District leaders say deep cuts are inevitable if the measure fails.

"That's really to me the bigger lesson from tonight's meeting," McMahon said Tuesday.

Trustees Niel Tam and Trish Spencer said the 50 students, parents and others who turned out for the renewal vote underscored the school's success.

The law requires that trustees approve a charter as long as the school meets a basic threshold of requirements, and last month district officials recommended renewal after reviewing BASE's application.

But district officials also pointed to "ongoing concerns," including a March accreditation report from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges that said BASE staff should use more student performance data to improve teaching methods, especially in math.

The renewal will be in effect for five years.

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