The Orange County Board of Education recently approved a petition to open a new charter school in Santa Ana, called the Vista Heritage Charter Middle School (VHCMS ). The details are pending negotiations with the OCBE but this looks like a done deal, according to the O.C. Register.
The board’s decision came after a petition from VHCMS was turned down by the Santa Ana Unified School District on a 4-1 vote in November. The O.C. board members overturned that decision by a 5-0 vote.
The OCBE is comprised of five Republicans. The SAUSD School Board has two Republicans but only one of them, Ceci Iglesias, supports charter schools.
Here is VHCMS’ Mission Statement:
The mission of VISTA is to create a learning environment that allows students to have power
in developing their identity within personal, interpersonal and educational realms. We provide a quality education for all students, by creating a learning community that involves students in their development of the knowledge, skills, attitude, behaviors, aspirations, and beliefs needed to be successful academically and possess life long learning skills.
Student success in the middle grades is critical to success in high school, college, and future careers. Unfortunately, many characteristics of our current system of middle school education are an ill fit to the academic, psychological and social needs of adolescent students. Many of our middle schools, being overcrowded and impersonal, are not conducive to the development of the whole child during this critical phase of identity development. Depending on what happens during the middle grades, students may become discouraged and give up, or they may be inspired to become adaptable and confident lifelong learners. With the latter being our goal, we believe that in order to produce such individuals, we must rouse students to view themselves as having the power to influence their own growth and achieve their desired futures. Nurturing students’ ability to influence their own development requires an environment that, not only provides academic rigor, but also specifically promotes personal and social skills, such as, effective communication, conflict resolution, metacognition, decision-making, and reflection.
We believe that children have the power to control their learning and surmount challenges due to poverty and second language learning, by providing a learning environment that focuses on developing deeper understandings through problem solving, real life applications and prompt interventions. VISTA students will practice, reflect and learn by setting short-term and long-term personal learning goals, building metacognition of their own development, and making decisions as to what steps they need to take in order to achieve those goals.
The school’s structures and processes (e.g. classrooms, guidance conferences, focus periods) will promote rigorous study with individualized support for all students. Through this individualized focus, VISTA will provide all students, (whether gifted, learning disabled, English Language Learner, minority, etc.) a differentiated learning environment which allows for a spectrum of practices, ranging from remedial to accelerated learning opportunities.
Click here to check out this charter schools’ online school accountability report.