Our long term vision is to assist in the conceptualization, planning, launch and operation of innovative charter shools. The El Sol Santa Ana Science and Arts Academy -- or El Sol for short. Because it is the first school CDA helped found, we call it Opus 1.
El Sol will serve K-8 when fully developed; at present it serves K-1 and will be expanding to 5th grade in the 2002-2003 school year. Already, El Sol is making a difference to it's students and the community. Many things set El Sol apart:
- Parental Involvement. From the begining of enrollment for it's inaugural year (2001-2002) in the spring 2001, parents have proven to be the cornerstone of the school. Immediately after the site was purchasedrents began contributing time, services and materials to remodel the administrative building and clean-up and make the habitable the playground in preparation for the schools opening eight weeks later. During that eight week period, parents contributed more than 2,000 hours. And their support continues. Since opening, parents have built a lunch shelter, won a grant for an educational garden, built a tricycle track, helped with fundraising and lent their skills, resources and hearts in countless other ways across the campus.
- Dual Language Immersion. Census Bureau data shows that 74% of Santa Ana's residents speak Spanish, highest percentage in the nation. El Sol serves this community with a dual immersion program where students are taught in both English and Spanish so thay they become bi-lingual. El Sol recruits 50% of its students from Spanish-speaking households and 50% from English-speaking households.
- School District Support. Since it's inception, El Sol has worked closely with the local school district, the Santa Ana Unified School District, in a number of arenas includng recruiting and financing.
- Local University Support. El Sol enjoys great support from the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Through the Make It New program, UCI helps train El Sol parents to support children academically by coaching the parents on ways to motivate their childrens' learning.