In 1988, at age 21, Mike Piscal began his teaching career in a public school in his native New Jersey. He moved to California in 1989 seeking the opportunity to become a better teacher and took a job teaching English at the prestigious independent Harvard School, later the Harvard-Westlake School. In 1994, troubled by the inequities he saw in the public schools in Los Angeles, he left Harvard-Westlake to found the Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF).
In 1996, ICEF opened a summer camp, an after school program, and a childcare program, and in 1999, its first charter school, the View Park Prep Elementary School. In 2001, View Park Prep Middle School opened its doors, and in 2003 the View Park Prep High School was born. There are now 570 students in the three schools, and their track record places them among the highest performing schools in the nation.
• In 2002, according to the School Wise Press and the California Department of Education, View Park Prep Middle School had the highest math scores in the city of Los Angeles - besting wealthy magnet schools in Pacific Palisades and in Sherman Oaks.
• View Park Prep has twice won the Los Angeles County Science Fair beating out schools in San Marino, Palos Verdes, Beverly Hills, and all of LAUSD.
• The View Park Prep Elementary has over an 800 API Score.
• The Middle School has the 3rd Highest Test Scores in Los Angeles and the High School has the 7th Highest test scores.
• The schools offer art, music, drama, and sports programs, all funded with public school dollars. In fact, View Park Prep gets 28% less public funding than non-charter public schools.
• ICEF and View Park Prep Charter Schools have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, on Good Morning America, and on local PBS affiliate, KCET's, news magazine, "Life & Times."
In January of 2005, Michael Piscal was named Charter School Leader of the Year for the state of California by the California Charter Schools Association. In May 2005, he will receive an honorary degree from his alma mater Wake Forest University. You can visit his website at www.icefla.org.