The school opened in 2005 and is currently authorized by the West Contra Costa County Office of Education and located in Richmond, California. The development of the partnership between UC Berkeley and Aspire was funded primarily through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, supported by Aspire, UC Berkeley, and individual donors. The partnership is managed by UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Education and the Division of Equity and Inclusion through the Center for Educational Partnerships.

This more than 10-year partnership between Aspire and UC Berkeley nurtured the development of CAL Prep by interweaving knowledge from community-engaged scholarship and best practices in school design.

The school’s teachers and staff, students and families, together with the UC Berkeley community and Aspire Public Schools are committed to integrating practical research-based support and providing unique training opportunities while ensuring a rich college-going culture. The partnership benefits both school and university. Among many of our collaborative efforts are new courses and curriculum, vertical teams for professional development, summer programs and courses, College Week, teacher training, clinical internship placements, and research studies. 


As a public school, CAL Prep receives per student funding from the state of California, additional funds (such as Title 1 Federal Funds) for which they are eligible, and philanthropic dollars raised by Aspire and UC Berkeley to create an adult- and opportunity-rich environment.