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Accelerated Charter Elementary School (ACES)

Render of exterior of The Accelerated Charter Elementary School (ACES)

Address: 3914 S. Main Street, Los Angeles, CA  90011


ACES School Construction Updates

About ACES

Responding to the growing demand in the local community for high quality educational opportunities, the Accelerated Charter Elementary School (ACES) was established by The Accelerated Schools in 2004 as its first off-campus charter school. ACES currently provides a quality dual language (English/Spanish) immersion program to 230 pre-K-6 students drawn by lottery from the local community.

ACES uses the Gomez & Gomez Dual Language Enrichment model, the only one of its kind in Los Angeles, which allows students to develop English and Spanish literacy skills simultaneously, along with valuable self-expression and multicultural skills. ACES boasts a unique, academically challenging environment that enables students to learn from each other in a project-based setting.

Two-way language immersion programs, like ACES, were developed with the following goals in mind: students will develop high levels of proficiency in their first language; all students will develop high levels of proficiency in a second language; academic performance for both groups of students will be at or above grade level and all students will demonstrate positive cross-cultural attitudes and behavior.

The student population at ACES reflects the demographics of the South Central Los Angeles community that it serves: 90% Latino, 5% African-American, 1% White and 4% other. The 2012-13 ACES applications indicate that 100% of ACES students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals, a generally accepted  indicator of financial need. With the proposed new facility, ACES will enroll 468 students in K-6th grades and 96 students in a new Pre-K.

In addition, ACES teachers attend specialized workshops at Inner City Arts to provide them with meaningful strategies for incorporating the visual and performing arts into the classroom curriculum.

The Accelerated Schools, including ACES, are guided by the principles of the Accelerated Schools model, developed by Professor Henry Levin of Stanford University. The educational results for all The Accelerated Schools far exceed those of the surrounding public schools.

Through the specialized ACES curriculum, students are being thoroughly prepared not only for entry into The Accelerated School (TAS K-8) at the 7th grade level, but also to be productive members of the global society, with the advantage of a wider range of options in the bilingual, bi-cultural workforce of the future.

The Need

The demand for The Accelerated Schools’ programs and services is greater than the schools’ ability to meet it. There currently are more than 2,500 students on the waiting list for 160 annual admissions. In particular, ACES has a compelling need for a new, larger facility to serve more students, as well as to serve its current students more effectively.
ACES classes are currently held in meeting rooms of two different Catholic churches (including the rooms where The Accelerated Schools were founded 20 years ago), more than a mile apart. These halls do not have the infrastructure to support today’s technology and have virtually no play space. In addition, they are not within walking distance and therefore are disconnected from the main campus, nor were they designed or constructed as public school facilities. As a result, the rooms must be taken apart each evening for church usage and then turned back into classrooms each morning.

The New ACES Building

Render of exterior of The Accelerated Charter Elementary School (ACES)

The new ACES campus anchors the corner of Martin Luther King Blvd. and Main St., and serves as a beacon of educational excellence in this underserved  South Central Los Angeles community. The ACES expansion extends the reach of The Accelerated Schools to over 2,000 students in grades Pre-K through 12.
The ACES new school construction project is a state-of-the-art Pre-K through 6th grade public school facility, located directly across the street from The Accelerated Schools and Wallis Annenberg High School. The new facility more than doubled ACES’ capacity, providing 468 permanent seats for local students.

The ACES project represents an innovative and sustainable approach to school design and construction on a small urban site. Building on the success of The Accelerated Schools’ original campus, design for a multi-story, multi-grade facility, the ACES campus was designed from the ground up as a “green” school and is scheduled or LEED Silver certification, making it an environmentally friendly elementary school.  The newly constructed campus leads the way in reducing energy consumption, material efficiency… creating a healthy, sustainable facility that has a much lower environmental impact and cost to operate over its lifetime, compared to the typical public school.

The ACES project was also designed to meet the standards of a “High Performance Public School,” which provides not only operational energy efficiency, but a robust information technology infrastructure as well. This allows implementation of blended learning strategies and ensures that the school has the ability to utilize a technologically advanced educational program throughout the school’s service life. The project also includes 19,000 sq. ft. of play and outdoor teaching space, organized around a central courtyard configuration, buffering the busy public streets that sit adjacent to the campus, while creating a sense of place and community among its students. The new ACES campus comprises approximately 100,000 square feet of new school improvements, which consist of three Pre-K classrooms, three Kindergarten classrooms, three first, second and third grade classrooms, and two classrooms each for grades four, five and six (totaling 23,282 sq. ft.) including several working areas for teachers and students. Classrooms for grades 4-6 will feature desks that can be reconfigured daily to fit the mode of instruction and desired interactions among students. Additionally, staff  members have a large workroom that serves as an area for professional development and collaborative meetings.

The new school buildings include 12,000 sq. ft. of covered circulation space,  connecting the classrooms with each other—and the classrooms with the rest of the school. The ACES campus also includes a library with doors that can be opened for additional class and reading space, or to accommodate parent/community gatherings. Also included: a multipurpose room, cafeteria and lunch shelter space (totaling 11,569 sq. ft.), as well as administrative support space (4,776 sq. ft.), 210 parking spaces in a subterranean  structure (59,000 sq. ft.), and 13,700 sq. ft. of surface parking and student drop-off area.


ACES Capital Campaign Cabinet

  • Leonard Rabinowitz  – President and CEO, Studio CL
  • Wendy Wachtell – President, Joseph Drown Foundation
  • John Ward – Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank
  • Wendy Garen, President, Parsons Foundation
  • Eric Johnson, Chair, Crail Johnson Foundation
  • Sherry Lansing, Chair, Lansing Foundation
  • Carole Little, Chairwoman, Studio CL
  • Peter Morrison, Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
  • Barry Munitz, Trustee Professor, California State University, LA
  • Harlyne Norris, Trustee Norris Family Foundation
  • Wendy Wachtell, President, Joseph Drown Foundation
  • John Ward, Vice President, Wells Fargo Bank
  • Jonathan Weedman, Senior, Vice President Wells Fargo Foundation

ACES Capital Campaign Budget

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