College Achieve Public Schools
Mike has co-founded and/or has led the following innovative organizations: College Achieve Public Schools (CAPS) in New Jersey; co-founded SOAL U at Princeton University; led Andre Agassi Prep in Las Vegas; co-founded Families That Can (FTC - now part of the California Charter School Association); and co-founded Schools That Can (STC) - a national network of 147 urban schools in 15 cities. Mike Piscal is the Founder & CEO of College Achieve Public Schools (CAPS) serving nearly 3,500 students in Paterson, Plainfield, North Plainfield, Neptune, and Asbury Park, NJ. CAPS Asbury has closed the achievement gap for Hispanic students in 5 out 7 grade levels tested in ELA on the state assessment NJSLA, and closed the achievement gap for Black students in 2 out 7 grade levels tested in ELA. CAPS Central (Plainfield) has outperformed the state of New Jersey in AP participation rate, exams taken, and percentage of students passing one AP exam. CAPS Paterson nearly matched or outperformed the state in 8th and 9th grade ELA scores. All three CAPS regions saw student growth on the NJSLA soar with each school scoring in the 94th to the 100th percentile in reading and over 90th percentile in math. CAPS also has developed innovative approaches to developing student social capital with internships, summer jobs, and summer of a lifetime (SOAL) experiences. This summer ('23) over 600 students will attend Oxford, University of Paris, University of SIena, and stateside - Stanford, Rutgers, Columbia, NJIT, Georgetown, Harvard and Princeton Universities. Piscal previously founded and led ICEF Public Schools in Los Angeles from 1994 to 2010. ICEF is the first CMO founded in Los Angeles and tied for first in California with University Public Schools. Under Piscal's leadership ICEF was the highest performing charter school network in California serving 70% or more low-income students. When Piscal left ICEF in 2010, Caitlin Flanagan wrote in the Daily News, "Consisting of 15 schools in the once academically blighted area of South Los Angeles and with an 88% African-American enrollment, ICEF has done what we are always told is impossible...eliminated the achievement gap in reading for its African-American students at the (elementary level). Eliminated it. ... To add some sizzle to the steak: one of his (Piscal's) elementary campuses - View Park Prep, which has a 100% African-American student body - just beat the reading scores of Beverly Hills Unified. Of his five graduating classes of high school seniors, 99% have been accepted to college, and an astounding 91% are still enrolled in college full time. Operating on the tiniest budget imaginable - about $1,700 less per student than (other) L.A. public schools, in a state that ranks 46th in the nation in education funding - [Piscal] has created a 15 campus testament to the maxim of Theodore Sizer: 'The highest compliment you can pay a child is to be demanding." Articles about Mike's work have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, TIME Magazine, and numerous other publications. In 2005, Mike's first charter school - View Park Preparatory was named "Charter School of the Year" by the California Charter School Association. Also in 2005, Piscal was named "Charter School Leader of the Year" by the California Charter School Association and was awarded an honorary Doctorate by Wake Forest University.