Charter schools are those schools which, though public, are relieved a little from some of the rules that typically govern public schools. For example, a charter school can deny admission, but children from the entire school county or city system can apply to attend. Sometimes charter schools focus on a particular area of curriculum, such as math or foreign language, allowing children who excel in those areas a classroom setting that allows them to really focus on their best skills.

Though charter schools represent just a small percentage of the public schools in our nation, they excel academically. According to a report from the National Alliance of Charter Schools in 2009, though charter schools represent just 5% of the high schools in America, they represent 14% of the highest performing academic schools. Here are 20 Charter schools that have been incredibly successful.

  1. Pacific Collegiate School, Santa Cruz, California: This school was ranked number 7 in the nation in 2009. It has a college readiness index of 100.
  2. Basis Tucson, Tucson Arizona: This high school ranked number nine in the nation in 2009, and also carries a college readiness index of 100.
  3. IDEA College Preparatory: This school ranked number 13 in the nation, and has a college readiness index of 97.7.
  4. KIPP Houston High School: Another top performing charter school, KIPP ranked number 16 in the nation and carries a college readiness index of 95.7%.
  5. Charter School of Wilmington Delaware: This school was ranked in the Great Schools of America’s top 5% for academic performance in 2009.
  6. Education Laboratory School, Honolulu, Hawaii: This charter school is ranked in the top 5% of Great Schools in America.
  7. Raleigh Charter School, Raleigh, NC: This high school was number 24 in the nation in 2009, with a college readiness index of 91.2. Students apply to the school, but are accepted on a lottery system, not based on their academics.
  8. Animo Leadership Charter High School, Inglewood, California: This school ranked number 23 in the nation in 2009, with a college readiness index of 91.6.
  9. Lennox Math, Science and Technology Academy, Lennox California: This school ranks number 25 in the nation, with a college readiness index of 90.5.
  10. Benjamin Franklin High School, New Orleans, Louisiana: The New Orleans School System is known for being one of the worst, and most corrupt in the nation. But, they have a charter high school that ranks number 27 in the country. Ben Franklin has a college readiness index of 89.8. Students are accepted based on merit.
  11. Coeur D’Alene Charter Academy, Coeur D’Alene, Idaho: This school ranked in the top 100 high schools in the nation in 2009, and ranked in the top 5% among the Great Schools in America listing.
  12. Minnesota Math and Science Academy, Woodbury, Minnesota: This charter school is ranked a blue ribbon school and is in the top 5% on the Great Schools In America list.
  13. Dove Science Academy, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Dove Science Academy is ranked as a top 5% performer on the Great Schools in America List for both academic performance and for academic performance for low income students, too.
  14. Preuss School, UCSD: The Preuss School is a charter and middle school located on the campus of the University of California, San Diego. They are ranked in the top 5% on the Great Schools of America list for the academic performance of low income students. They are also a 2010 Blue Ribbon School.
  15. South Valley Academy, Albuquerque, New Mexico: This is one of America’s Great Schools, making the list because of their performance among low income students.
  16. Times Squared, Providence Rhode Island: This school is also ranked with America’s Great schools because of the academic performance of their low income students.
  17. Washington Mathematics, Science and Technology School: Washington Mathematics, Science and Technology School in Washington DC is also highly rated by Great Schools of America for their performance among low income students.
  18. Carpe Diem, Yuma, Arizona: Carpe Diem is one of the most unique charter schools on our list, because many of their classes take place online. Though children do attend traditional classes, much of their learning experience is only. Great Schools of America ranked this charter school as one of 2009’s most improved.
  19. Collegiate Academy of Littleton Colorado: This is one of the few K-12 charter schools. It is ranked by Great Schools of America with distinction as a most improved school.
  20. Campus Community School, Dover, Delaware: This charter school serves grades 1-12 and is ranked by Great Schools of America for its recent improvement.

You don’t have to have a master’s degree — or any degree — to continue learning. And you don’t have to be enrolled in college in order to take college level courses, It’s even possible to take graduate level courses from prestigious universities. And you can do it for free.

Using open courseware, it is possible to enlarge your learning. These are courses that schools allow the public to view on an independent study basis. Open courseware can include video lectures and presentations, course syllabi, reading materials and lecture notes, and even assignment suggestions. You won’t receive credit for these classes, but if you enjoy learning, you can take classes from Ivy League school, no matter your salary. If you are interested in open courseware, here are 33 tools that can help you search, browse and bookmark so that you can enhance your learning efforts: (more…)

If you use Google as your home page; you’re not alone. In fact, more people use Google as their search engine than any other search site, and many people use it as a home page, as well. Upgrading your Google page to Google Chrome will make your web browsing faster as well as give you lots more flexibility because of all the great extensions that are available with Google Chrome. There is a Google Chrome extension for everything imaginable, from hearing a drumbeat, to checking your email to determining what you’re going to do for fun this weekend. Google Chrome extensions are free and easy to download onto your Google page. Check out these 19 Chrome extensions that are great for educators.

  1. Google Mail Checker: Being able to check your email right on Google is such a timesaver. This Chrome extension allows you to automatically link to your email account to check for new mail quickly and easily. There are soon to be upgrades that will let you check more than one email account this way.
  2. Shareaholic: Quickly share web pages and the articles on them with family, friends and colleagues. You can even share upcoming events like seminars by simply sending the page with information about the event to those you think would be interested in attending.
  3. Faraday’s Book: This Google Chrome extension allows you to post to your Faraday’s Book account quickly and easily.Just post your update on this extension and it goes right to Faraday with the push of a button. Faraday’s Book is a great way to save retrieve and view notes. Each word in a note is a tag/keyword. Using this approach allows you quick and easy notes management by using meaningful words in your notes.
  4. Google Map: Google Maps lets you have your Google map open in one window without changing losing the other website you’re browsing. Finding directions and even sending the map with directions has never been easier.
  5. Fastest Tube: You Tube videos are often great teaching tools. This app makes finding and bookmarking You Tube videos for use in the classroom a breeze.
  6. Autopager: Autopager allows you to automatically load the next page of a site in line when you get to the end of the first page. It’s a real time saver when you’re reading through a lot of material.
  7. Daily Favorites: This extension loads your frequently visited pages quickly with the touch of a button. No longer will you have to constantly reload those pages that you visit every day. They’ll be right there in a simple list so that you can get to them with one click.
  8. Yoono:Get to all your social networking sites: Twitter, Facebook, Friendface, MySpace, Flickr and Linked In more quickly using Yoono.
  9. ScribeFire: Got a blog? ScribeFire is a great way to post to all your blogs quickly and easily. It is compatible with almost every blogging software.
  10. RSS Subscription Extension: Get your subscriptions via RSS feed quickly and easily with this extension. Monitoring your favorite blogs and websites has never been easier.
  11. Apture Highlights: This is a great tool for doing research for papers or lesson plans. Simply highlight a word or phrase and get instant access to Wikipedia or Twitter or You Tube to help you learn more about the text you highlighted.
  12. Pixlr Grabber: This app takes the work out of grabbing screenshots from the web and sharing them. You can take part or all of the screen and you can edit, too.
  13. AdBlock: This is a critical application for blocking pop up ads. Not only is it great from the annoyance standpoint, but it also helps improve your computer’s security.
  14. Web to PDF Converter: Convert any web page to a PDF file quickly and easily.
  15. Split Screen: Split your view between two different web pages with this extension. It’s perfect for comparing material when you’re researching lesson plans.
  16. Google URL Shortener: Shorten long URL addresses into something more manageable for sending to your colleagues.
  17. Symtica: This extension can manage all those applications you’re using, like Gmail, RSS feeds,etc. It takes the pain out of having a lot of applications.
  18. Web of Trust: This quick ad on lets you know which websites you can trust, and keeps your browsing safe. The sites are rated by users.
  19. Last Pass: This is a great password manager and form filler tool. It keeps track of all your passwords for you and fills out forms with your info.