The journey to Gompers Preparatory Academy .... a lot of hard work went into getting the doors of GCMS open in 2005.


The primary reason Gompers Preparatory Academy converted from a failed district union school (under the SDEA) was to sever ties with the union therby escaping the failed bureaucracies that made Gompers one of the most dangerous and low performing schools in the city. Escaping the union was the best option, and it worked!

One voice made all the difference!



In the Beginning -Before the Charter

Points below came from "Gompers Takes a Bow"

  • There were four principals in the two years that preceded Director Riveroll.
  • Violence reigned supreme at Gompers. The school sits in a neighborhood that is home to more than 50 known gangs, and gang culture wasn’t suspended at school. If anything, it was exacerbated by kids from rival gangs being thrown together on one campus.
  • Because of the gang violence this school used to have, these corridors were all lined with chain-link fencing, and there were gates so that when fights broke out these gates could be closed to isolate the behavior. The teachers and students would then lock themselves in classrooms. And we would have SWAT teams on campus.
  • Besides posing a physical danger to students, the nearly daily fights made Gompers an undesirable post for teachers. “We had a 75 percent attrition rate,” Strom says, “meaning three-quarters of our teachers were leaving every year. It was a scary environment for teachers as well as students. They didn’t want to be here.” (currently at GPA 85%-90% of teachers stay)
  • "Before, kids would come out, congregate, and fight. No one was on supervision,” Riveroll says. “The transitions were a madhouse: kids running, breaking windows, dipping in and out of classrooms, fighting, very loud. There were huge tardy rates for classes. Even if their class was five seconds away, they would be ten minutes late. Now look, this is the transition. Supervision is all around — everybody is on supervision. These are our students. They are our kids."
  • The transition to charter school was not easy, because San Diego Unified School District and the teachers’ union were against the change.
  • One attempt to solve the teacher turnover and vacancy problem involved dialogue with the teachers’ union, the San Diego Education Association, “to ask for waivers on the hiring process with Gompers so that we could hire teachers that wanted to be here and maybe do some incentive pay to come to this particular school. And the parents and the community were denied by the teachers’ union at that time.”
  • Several reasons were cited by the union representative. “It was against the union contract,” Riveroll says, “and the bargaining agreement. They were adamant that they couldn’t do something for one school and not do it for all schools. It broke parents’ hearts. I sat in that room and heard the parents pleading with a union rep from SDEA, ‘Please help us.’ And the union representative said, ‘I know this may sound hard, but my responsibility is to the teachers, not to the students.’ And parents just started to weep."
  • “One of the major roadblocks at this particular school was vacancies that weren’t being filled. So we went to the superintendent, we went to the district, and we went to the union to really find a way within the system to make these changes. And to have it be denied at every level broke the parents’ hearts. They saw the bureaucracy firsthand.” That was when the charter idea moved to the fore.
  • “The resistance was never at a community level,” Steppe says. “We were weary of our kids catching a bus to go somewhere else to get an education. It was at the district level and union level.”
  • “As soon as the work groups started moving toward charter,” Riveroll says, “that is when the district’s and the union’s full opposition emerged."
  • “There were three major issues that the community and parents decided were the main problems of the school,” Riveroll recalls, “the safety issue, the ability to recruit and retain teachers, and increasing parental involvement.” 


According to Gompers Preparatory Academy current teacher retention rate is 85%-90% each year.  

Eight teachers didn't expect this to happen........

The documents that the Gompers Teachers' Association want you to see...

The documents that the Gompers Teachers' Association want you to see...


Eight teachers didn't expect this to happen when they spoke to the board of directors at the San Diego Unified School District........

The documents that the Gompers Teachers' Association want you to see...

The documents that the Gompers Teachers' Association want you to see...

The documents that the Gompers Teachers' Association want you to see...

Unionization papers

What happened when the SDEA got involved at a charter....

The documents that the Gompers Teachers' Association want you to see...

What happened when the SDEA got involved at a charter....


“Imagine how much more our little, little tiny charter school could accomplish if we weren’t under constant and vicious attacks from SDEA,” Scinski said.

Learn the History about GCMS/GPA

PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer - Featuring Gompers Charter Middle School

Week before the first day of school

Learning about the Charter


First Day of School 

KPBS Special on Gompers Charter Middle School

Gompers Preparatory Academy Success

Gompers Preparatory Academy, a UCSD Partnership School

Gompers Preparatory Academy Graduates First Senior Class 2012

2013 Gompers Preparatory Academy Graduation Highlight

The Gompers Preparatory Academy Story

College Readiness Press Conference at Gompers Preparatory Academy