2012-10-19 / Schools
CAPE charter school awarded 5 more years
School’s success credited to individualized student attention
The audience seated in the board room erupted in applause when the Camarillo Academy of Progressive Education charter school received a five-year extension on its charter.
The board of trustees for Oxnard Union High School District voted unanimously in favor of the extension at its bimonthly meeting on Oct. 10. More than a dozen CAPE teachers, students and board members were present to hear the news.
Chris Parker, president of the board of directors for the K-8 charter school, said the decision was a dream fulfilled.
“We were here exactly five years ago,” said Parker to the board. “Five years later, I am happy to report we built a better school than promised.”
CAPE opened in September 2007 and was initially located on the campus of First Lutheran Church of Camarillo on Arneill Road.
The school’s opening came less than three months after the district granted the charter in June 2007, a month after the Pleasant Valley School District board denied the charter’s application.
The school’s inception was driven by parents and teachers from Los Senderos Open School—one of two campuses closed in 2007 by PVSD.
Parker, who has a daughter in sixth grade at the school, said the charter extension is proof of the school’s success.
“I’m thrilled that the board of trustees recognizes what we’ve accomplished in the last five years,” Parker said. “CAPE has given teachers more one-on-one time with students. We wanted out-of-the-box thinking when it came to education, and we got it, and it works.”
Teachers use an open philosophy at the charter school to gear teaching to each student’s individual learning style rather than using rewards or encouraging competition in the classroom.
Doreen Learned, the codirector of the school, said the Oxnard district has been supportive of the charter school from the start, and the relationship between CAPE and the district is strong.
“They get our students,” Learned said. “It’s beneficial to them. We’re sending students prepared to do well when they join the Oxnard Union High School District.”
Learned said she considers the first five years of CAPE a success. Though the school is now at capacity with 576 students, it won’t stop looking to improve, she said.
“We will continue to strive and have high expectations,” Learned said.
School board member Socorro Lopez Hanson became emotional before the vote.
“When we did this,” said Lopez Hanson with her grandson beside her, “I didn’t realize the impact it would have on my family.”
Her grandson, Kenneth, is a fifth-grader at CAPE. Lopez Hanson said she’s very pleased with the education her grandson is receiving.
“They provide a very caring and nurturing environment for the kids,” she said. “It was a smart move on the part of our board to extend the charter. They’ve definitely exceeded our expectations.”
The charter extension approved at the meeting is effective from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2018.
Lopez Hanson said the school should have no problem receiving another extension then.
“In education it’s about the students,” Lopez Hanson said. “I want them to get the best education possible. And that’s what CAPE is. It’s the best education for the student at this point.”