AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’The California Department of Education, which distributes the money on behalf of the federal government, awarded grants to 66 charter schools statewide. Sixteen schools in Los Angeles Unified received start-up grants ranging from $180,000 to $405,000 and nine others received implementation grants of about $360,000 each. Ivy Academia, an entrepreneurial school that incorporates business lessons in its classes, opened in 2004. It has achieved a score of 854 for two years on the state’s standardized achievement test – surpassing the state’s goal of 800 points. “Receiving the grant says they’ve written an application that meets the criteria in the rubric for being a high-quality charter school,” said Carol Barkley, consultant for the charter schools division at the California Department of Education. Each grade level in the middle school starts up a business with students creating a business plan and taking out loans from the school or by finding investors. Businesses have included stands that sell pancakes or ice cream on campus. Classes use profits for educational field trips at the end of the year. WOODLAND HILLS – Ivy Academia – which overcame growing pains to become Los Angeles Unified’s highest-performing independent charter – received an $810,000 federal grant on Monday to open other campuses. Tatyana Berkovich, founder of Ivy Academia Entrepreneurial Charter School, said the grant will be used to help open a high school in 2007. The money will also help create a separate middle school – the 540-student campus is now kindergarten to eighth grade – and buy textbooks, library books and laptop computers. The grant is both a validation and a vindication after founders experienced early problems with city officials, parents and neighbors, Berkovich said. “When you’re successful, people are trying to see what you’re doing wrong. I’m very glad that we’re validated by all the things we’re doing for our students,” Berkovich said. “Things like this grant are telling us, `You guys are on the right track.”‘ “I think we’re pinpointing exactly what students need for the future – the need to be educated in 21st-century skills,” Berkovich said. The award comes after two years of attacks endured by the school. The district’s Inspector General Office opened an inquiry earlier this year amid allegations that Ivy had padded its attendance to boost state funding. Berkovich said the problem stemmed from several disgruntled parents who have since left the school. She also said Ivy’s attorney contacted the district and was told Ivy was no longer being investigated. District officials did not return phone calls. The school has also been under fire by the city for noise, attendance and other violations of its conditional-use permit at its Fallbrook Avenue campus. The City Council voted in September to allow Ivy to remain open for at least nine months despite violating enrollment limits. The school, which operates separate campuses on Fallbrook and De Soto avenues, is negotiating with Los Angeles Unified to move into a vacant school site. Berkovich said her plans include opening other Ivy Academia schools, but there are no plans identified as of yet. Barkley said because there was no finding from the investigation, it didn’t impact the state’s decision, and the school has been in compliance with provisions of previous grants. Caprice Young, head of the California Charter Schools Association, said Ivy attracts a great deal of attention because of its high profile. “They’re very controversial because they’re aggressive in creating a high-quality school, but they’re doing a great job with the kids and the state recognized that,” Young said. [email protected] (818) 713-3722160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!