Thursday, December 31, 2009

OPA Social & Fundraiser: Wed. January 6 at 6PM

OPA has reserved the Banquet room at Marie Callender's Restaurant in Chino for our next social event next Wednesday January 6 at 6PM.

  • Sue Roche, Jason Watts and Lead Petitioners will be attending to answer your questions, provide updates on the petition status, and the 1/21 Board meeting.
  • Full menu service is available and 20% of proceeds will benefit OPA.
  • Please make plans to come join OPA next Wednesday for an informative meeting, dinner and a fundraising opportunity.

Marie Callender's is located at 5455 Philadelphia Street, Chino - (909) 613-0434

We will see you there!

Oxford Prep Update December 31, 2009

During the December 10 Board meeting The CVUSD Board of Education voted on a 30-day extension and three requirements. The Board requires that OPA:
  • Submit 350 verifiable Intent to Enroll Forms by 1/4/10
  • Submit a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding Special Education Services, and
  • Submit a MOU regarding Leaves of Absence for Educators resigning their positions to go teach at the charter
The MOUs are legal documents to be drafted by the attorneys. The Intent to Enroll Forms come from the public. From YOU. And come from you they did. On December 18, we handed 544 over to the District. Today, we are just a handful shy of 600! WOW!

This enthusiasm, proactive approach, and loud and clear message that this Charter School is wanted by this community is shown by this effort! Keep them coming!

OPA supporters have been walking communities, speaking to families and friends, organizing meetings, and really working together to get this done. YOU are making this happen! Thank you.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Come Support OPA as CVUSD votes on our charter petition Thursday December 10

Come show your support for the first K-8 public charter school in the Chino Valley on Thursday December 10 at 7 PM. The CVUSD Board of Trustees will vote to approve or deny Oxford Preparatory Academy charter status.

The Board meeting will be held at Don Lugo High School at 13400 Pipeline Avenue in Chino.

Wear Purple to show your support!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

OPA Offers Information Sessions

Two Informational Meetings are offered this week. Interested parents may drop by during these open house style sessions to learn about more about this proposed charter school.

Information regarding the educational philosophy and proposed enrollment will be provided, and Lead Petitioners will be available to answer your questions. Please join us.

Sunday December 6, from 1 PM to 3 PM – 6598 Pinon Court, Chino
Wednesday December 9, from 6:30PM to 7:30 PM at The Premier Academy 5847 Pine Avenue, Chino Hills

A charter petition for Oxford Preparatory Academy is pending before
the Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education. Lead
Petitioners expect to hear a decision on approval or denial of the
petition at the December 10th board meeting. Please plan to attend this important Board meeting to show your support for OPA.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

OPA Needs Your Intent to Enroll Forms

Needs your INTENT TO ENROLL FORMS NOW! Have you downloaded & submitted your Intent to Enroll form? Have you shared this form with family, friends & neighbors who may be interested in OPA? There is still time!

Visit & download a copy of the Intent To Enroll form (left hand margin) & follow the ...direction on the bottom to return the form to OPA. This form will help OPA secure a facility to open our school upon CVUSD Board approval.

Thank your for your help in spreading the word!

The OPA Team

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Charter School Petition Returns to District Board -- Chino Champion Saturday November 14, 2009

by Brenda Dunkle

A non-profit group that wants to open a charter school in Chino hills is petitioning to open a similar school in Mission Viejo.

Oxford Preparatory Academy is seeking to establish college themed charter kindergarten through eighth-grade schools at the former Los Serranos Elementary School site in Chino Hills and at the former O'Neil Elementary School site in Mission Viejo.

The Chino Valley school would be a public, charging no tuition and staffed by credentialed teachers. It would receive its funding from the state, as do other public schools. Charter schools traditionally have their ownschool board, allowing parents to have greater control over what happens at the school.

Both Los Serranos and O'Neil were considered low enrollment schools by their districts and were closed in June to help cut costs.

Los Serranos on Pipeline Avenue, between Valle Vista and Bayberry Drives, remains empty. It is a Chino Valley Unified School District owned facility.

O'Neil houses the adult school program for Saddleback Valley Unified School District. Both school districts held public hearings this month on the respective charters.

The Chino Valley school board is expected to vote on the charter when it meets at 7 p.m. Thursday December 10. A site for that meeting has not yet been determined.

The Saddleback school board is expected to vote on the charter when it meets at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday December 8.

Oxford is making its second attempt for a Chino Valley spot after it petitioned unsuccessfully this spring to open a charter school this fall. At the time, the school board said it has several questions about the charter that had not been addressed.

Proponents of the charter were out in force at the Nov. 15 Chino Valley school board meeting during a public hearing on the proposal.

Rhodes Elementary School Principal Sue Roche, one of the co-founders of Oxford, said the school would use the theory of Multiple Intelligences to teach children. Under that theory, students are taught in one or more of eight ways through which they seem to learn best, including musically or visually. Multiple Intelligences is used at Rhodes, which for the last two years has had the highest scores in the district in the on statewide tests and is the top scoring elementary school in San Bernaradino county.

Ms. Roche said the charter will have a culture of "teacher quality, parent involvement and the belief that all students are gifted."

"Training and staff development will be the foundation of our success," she said.

Oxford co-founder Jason Watts, Assistant Principal at Chaparral Elementary in Chino Hills and a former Assistant Principal at Rhodes said the charter's petitioners include educators with a proven success rate.

Karl Yoder from Delta Managed Solutions told the school board that his firm has been retained by Oxford to provide budgetary and other office-type services. He assured the board that the charter would have control over its funds and its budget process would be transparent.

Last spring, Mr. Yoder told the Chino Valley school board that the potential fiscal impact of a charter school on a school district is not a legal basis for denying a charter.

If Chino Valley public school parents opt to send their children to the charter, it could potentially reduce state revenue going to the Chino Valley Unified School District.

"I can tell you this is one of the strongest charter petitions I've ever seen, " attorney Jerry Simmons of Middleton, Young & Minney LLP, told the board. His firm is helping Oxford with technical and legal assistance. He maintains that Oxford has met all legal criteria required to be granted a charter.

"The administrators are some of the best and brightest in the state," Mr. Simmons said.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Oxford Preparatory Academy Public Hearing at the CVUSD Board Meeting 11/5

Come support OPA at the CVUSD Board meeting this Thursday November 5 at 7 PM at the District office located at 5130 Riverside Drive. Wear Purple! Thank you for your support!

Friday, October 23, 2009

OPA Intent to Enroll Form for the purpose of requesting facilities

Dear potential Oxford Preparatory Academy of Chino Valley Charter School parents/guardians,

Under California law (i.e., Proposition 39) the Chino Valley Unified School District must provide must provide the Oxford Preparatory Academy of Chino Chino Valley Charter School reasonably equivalent school facilities win which to operate the charter school. This form may be used to support the Charter School's request for facilities. By submitting this Form, you are indicating hat you are meaningfully interested in enrolling or re-enrolling (as applicable) your child/children in the Charter School's classroom-based program during the 2010-11 school year.

Thank you very much for your support and cooperation!

If you are interested in completing this form, please email OPA at OPACHAMPIONS@GMAIL.COM and request an electronic version and one will be emailed to you. By completing this form, you are neither obligated to enroll your child(ren) nor are you guaranteed enrollment. This form will be useful in supporting OPA's request for facilities use.


Come Support OPA at the CVUSD Public Hearing November 5 at 7 PM

Come show your support for OPA as we present our petition to the CVUSD Board of Education on Thursday November 5 at 7 PM. Wear purple!

The meeting will be held at the CVUSD Office located at
5130 Riverside Drive.

OPA has a new email address

Please make note of OPA's new email address:

Petition Update

- OPA is working closely with the District through the petition process. A date has been set for our Co-Founders, our attorney, Superintendent Joseph, and District Cabinet to meet to discuss some fine points of the Charter petition.

- OPA has retained the services of Jerry Simmons of the law firm of Middleton, Young and Minney, LLP. This firm represents more than 2/3 of all charter schools in California. He is an expert in Charter School law and he now working on our behalf to negotiate with the District.

- CVUSD and OPA have been working collaboratively and all lines of communication have been open and positive. Thank you for continuing to represent OPA in a positive light.

- OPA wishes to thank members of our Founding Group who have generously donated financial and creative resources. Because of your donations, we have been able to contribute toward the retainer for our attorney and print some materials.

- OPA wishes to express a very special Thank You to Marita Isadore of Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Marita is our Ex-Officio Board Member and she arranged for OPA's participation at the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Expo. She donated treats and smoothies and made our participation possible. Thank you Marita!

- Follow OPA on Twitter: Be sure to sign up and and start following our Tweets today!

Friday, September 18, 2009

2010-2011 Petition has been submitted to CVUSD

We are pleased to announce a petition for the 2010-2011 school year has been submitted to the CVUSD Board on Friday September 18, 2009. We anticipate a public hearing October 15 at the Board meeting. We will announce a public meeting very soon for early October. OPA looks forward to working with the CVUSD Board, staff, and public to inform and make the first k-8 charter school in the Chino Valley a reality.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thank you to all of the AWESOME OPA supporters who came out for our Next Steps meeting Tuesday night June 23. We have some great things planned. Stay tuned for some committee updates, a new web presence, some Family Fun Nights to stay connected with the OPA community and much more!

  • Continue to check this blog and our Facebook Page for updates
  • If you participate in public forums (such as the Daily Bulletin blog) keep things positive and collaborative
  • If you are unsure about any facts charter schools or the petition process, please ask! We are here to help!
  • Please continue to contact your CVUSD Board members and let them why this charter school is important to you.
  • Come to OPA meetings, Family Fun Nights, and events to create awareness and build the community--OPA IS coming--we just have the benefit of more time to build the momentum and stronger foundation.
  • If you missed the meeting and would like to get involved, please contact OPA through the "Contact Us" button to the right.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Next Steps...Meeting Tuesday June 23 6:30 PM

The Founding Group of Oxford Preparatory Academy wishes to thank the public for their overwhelming support, both Thursday night and as we move forward with bring the BEST learning environment in the state to Chino Valley for our kids!

Thursday night, the CVUSD Board denied Oxford Prep's charter petition 3:1 with Trustee James Na showing vision and voice as he stood up to the status quo. While we are disappointed that the other board members and the CVUSD cabinet simply lacked the understanding and knowledge of ed code requirements as related to charter schools, we also understand that Oxford Prep is the first of our kind in the Chino Valley and therefore we have the burden of having an approval process that is unlikely to be put before any other applicant. The county and state have familiarity with charter petitions. They understand the nuances of the contents, what ed code requires, what must be in place prior to enrollment, and what are realistic expectations prior to approval. It is obvious, particularly after Thursday, that the CVUSD board does not have this same level of knowledge (which can be understandable to a point). Mrs. Orozco made it quite clear from her comments that she has not taken the time to read and understand the petition despite our repeated efforts to reach out and spend time to facilitate her understanding. Her comments about the notes she took and the concerns she has make it evident that she has little knowledge of charter applications, ed code requirements, or what an independent charter application must present. It was discouraging to hear Mr. Youngblood exclaim that OPA teachers, who need jobs like anyone else in this economy, were "holding this district hostage" before slapping his microphone away . Oxford Prep's hesitation to agree to the 30 Day extension was based on that timeline exceeding the June 30th Intent to Return Form.

A community meeting will be held next Tuesday June 23 at 6:30 PM at the Premiere Academy/Chino Hills Chinese School at 5847 Pine Avenue Chino Hills to announce our strategy as move toward the next level.

Oxford Preparatory Academy V2.0 will allow for a stronger foundation, a true start up financial grant base, and a much larger community momentum. Keep checking the website and Facebook page as details emerge.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

CVUSD Board Meeting Thursday June 18, 7 PM

Tonight is the night!
Come show your support for OPA at the district Board meeting. Wear AQUA! Arrive early. Speakers will be able to address the board for 3 minutes each prior to Board discussion on Oxford Prep. The CVUSD Board will vote on approval or denial of the OPA petition to open our charter school this fall.
Come show your support!

The Board meeting will be held at the CVUSD office at 5130 Riverside Drive in Chino. The agenda may be downloaded from the district website.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Alternative Uses for Closes School Facilities Forum Monday June 15 6 PM - Come Support OPA and speak for a future school site

Monday June 15 at 6 PM at Don Lugo is the CVUSD Community Forum to discuss Alternative Uses for the Closed School Facilities.

The community is invited to share suggestions, concerns or needs for three facilities scheduled to close. OPA supporters are encouraged to speak to suggeste a partnership with OPA & an existing school site. Interested? Email

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Charter school proponents offer information session

Chino Champion Article, Saturday June 13, 2009

An information meeting on the proposed Oxford Preparatory Academy charter school will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday June 14, at the Premiere Academy/Chino Hills Chinese School, 5847, Chino Hills.

Two 30-minute sessions will be presented on the proposed school's program, a parent learning agreement and possible locations for the school. Lead petitioners will answer questions from 5 to 5:30 p.m.

A previous information session was held Tuesday at the same location and attended by approximately 100 people, according to founding charter member Carrie Birchler. She said parents from the Ontario-Montclair School District were among those attending that meeting, as were parents from private schools.

"We got some really positive feedback," Ms. Birchler said.

The school board is expected to vote on the charter school petition when it meets at 7 p.m. Thursday June 18, at the district office, 5130 Riverside Drive, Chino.

Ms. Birchler said that if the school board denies the charter, the founding charter members will petition the county schools office for the school on June 19.

The proposed kindergarten through eighth grade charter school is designed to prepare students for university level academics, will offer elective-type courses and will be community service-oriented, according to its petitioners.

California charter schools must have credentialed teachers and cannot charge tuition because they receive state and local funding that is based on student enrollment, just as public schools do. The schools are generally exempt from most laws that apply to public schools, so administrators, faculty and parents have considerable freedom in designing their educational programs, according to the Charter Schools Development Center.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

ENCORE Parent Information Meeting Sunday June 14 4:00 PM



Parent Information Meeting on Sunday June 14 at 4 PM
location: 5847 Pine Avenue Chino Hills
(in the Premier Academy/Chino Hills Chinese School building)

Two 30-minute sessions will be presented to answer general questions on:
- OPA's Educational Program
- Parent Learning Agreement
- Possible Locations for the School

Following the Sessions, Lead Petitioners will be available to answer questions

The general information presentations will end at 5 PM.
The Q & A session will run from 5 to 5:30 PM. We hope to see you Sunday June 14 at 4PM.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Approve A Charter- Daily Bulletin Letter to the Editor June 3, 2009

Approve A Charter

Charter schools may be the answer to California's educational woes. In the Chino Valley Unified School District, a group of parents and teachers are going out on a limb to make a necessary change to current educational options for parents and families of the community by starting a charter school. Oxford Preparatory Academy, the name chosen by the founding members of the charter, looks to be a beacon of student success in the Chino Valley.

From their unique collegiate theme, where every classroom is a university, to the belief that all students are gifted, this school has the roots of student success firmly planted and ready to bloom.

As a parent interested in this charter endeavor, I am hopeful that the school board and governing body of CVUSD will cultivate student success by allowing this educational option for families of the community. It is the board's duty to make decisions that are right for children.

That is why the community voted for the board members in the first place. I would hope that is why they chose to represent our community.

This call for change embodies far more than a parent's option for their child's education. It is an opportunity to change the treacherous course CVUSD has been on for the public's observation and scrutiny. There is a saying about a train wreck ... you don't want to look, but it is difficult to pull your eyes away.

All eyes are on you. Make the most of it, accept change, and enable our community to see that CVUSD is truly innovative, willing to permit Oxford Preparatory Academy to serve as an educational "option" to the children of our community.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

May 29: Duncan: "Anti-Charter States Will Lose Stimulus Dollars"

Duncan: Anti-Charter States Will Lose Stimulus Dollars
According to the Associated Press, Education Secretary Duncan said yesterday states that do not embrace charter schools will hurt their chances to compete for millions of federal stimulus dollars. Responding to a question about Tennessee, whose Democratic lawmakers have blocked an effort to make more kids eligible to attend charters, Duncan said: "There are a number of states that are leading this effort, and we want to invest a huge amount of money into them, a minimum of $100 million, probably north of that. And the states that don't have the stomach or the political will, unfortunately, they're going to lose out." Tennessee has one of the most restrictive charter school laws in the country, with the number of charters capped at 50, and only failing students or students at failing schools eligible to attend. Gotham Schools reported that last week Duncan told Congress that he will give preference to states without caps on the number of charter schools. This could put the next round of stimulus funding out of reach for New York, which caps charters at 200 schools statewide.

Sources: Associated Press:, Gotham Schools,

Why Go Charter?


  • Provide a more structured learning environment, more student discipline and increase parental involvement.
  • Holds students, teachers, and parents accountable for improving student achievement.
  • Give schools' leaders more flexibility when managing their school, allowing them to respond to parents and students needs.
  • Reward high quality teachers for their excellent services.
  • Enable schools to focus their primary mission on improving student achievement.
  • Give schools more flexibility and control to design their curriculum.
  • Increases parental options for where to send their child to school.

From the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Parent Petition--ask for your copy today

Oxford Preparatory Academy continues to gather parent/guardian signatures of those "meaningfully interested" in enrolling their students when the charter is approved. Please contact us at to get your copy of the Parent Petition today!

It is time to let your voice be heard!

If you support the vision of Oxford Preparatory Academy, it is time to let your voice be heard.

Contact our local newspapers and CVUSD Board Members and let them know why you support this petition.

Letters to the Forum
Champion Newspapers
PO Box 607
Chino, CA 91710
Fax 909-590-1217
Phone 909-628-5501

The Mail
Daily Bulletin
2041 E. 4th Street
Ontario, CA 91764
Fax 909-948-9038
Phone- 909-483-9354

It is vital that the school board hear a strong and consistent message from the public that a charter school is both wanted and necessary.

Please use the following information to contact our CVUSD school board members and express your support for bringing the first K-8 charter school to the students in the Chino Valley.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Oxford Prep to CVUSD Special Hearing May 18, 2009

Oxford Preparatory Academy presentation to the CVUSD board of education on May 18, 2009 during a Special Hearing. Due to limited space in the CVUSD meeting room and the absence of the district audio visual recording (and local cable access playback), OPA would like to ensure that all interested parties have an opportunity to be informed of the petition process and learn more about this exciting and innovative addition to the educational community in the Chino Valley.

There are 11 three minute videos in this series. Please click on the the YouTube link to find Oxford Prep's Channel to view them all

Chino Champion- Charter Backers Plead Their Case by Brenda Dunkle

Proposed school would avoid bureaucratic pitfalls, they say

Support for Chino Valley's first charter school was voiced by proponents Monday when they spoke to the school board in support of a 300-page petition, which is scheduled by the board for action June 18.

The board did not discuss the petition Monday.

Rhodes Elementary School teacher Toni Santoro implored the board to let her group "go out on limb and put students first."

More than a dozen speakers supported the Oxford Preparatory Academy.

The petition was submitted April 30 by parents and teachers primarily Rhodes Elementary. Their school is designed to be a public charter, charging no tuition and staffed by credentialed teachers. It would receive its funding from the state, as do other public schools.

Charter schools are generally exempt from most laws that apply to regular public schools, so administrators, faculty and parents have considerable freedom in designing their educational programs.

"This district has become so big it's like a business, " Ms, Santoro said. "This charter will never, ever be run like a business."

Another speaker, Rebecca Watson, said Oxford will offer a racial balance similar to that in the district now. She said the charter will open its doors to all comers, including home schooled, private school students, and the students from Gird, El Rancho, and Los Serranos elementary schools, which are currently slated for closure.

Rhodes teacher Nancy Taylor, one of the lead petitioners, said Oxford would allow teachers and administrators to choose the best day for teacher preparation. The Chino Valley district recently decided to designate teacher work days, usually held as minimum at elementary schools, to correspond with the minimum days of the high schools they feed into.

Ms. Taylor state that the charter school will be freed from the bureaucracy of having to purchase items from approved vendors, as the Chino Valley district requires.

Renay Prescott, president of a Rhodes parent group, said this is her fifth yearin that group and she still doesn't understand how the district wants it to operate. She said the group was told this year that a traditional jog-a-thon could no longer be held. Later, she learned that jog-a-thons were again OK.

"We're quick to be denied and slow to be approved (by the district)," she said.

She said the charter would allow the use of the most inexpensive vendors, as well as make it easier for parents to donate more items to the school.

Denise Hobbensiefken, president of Magnolia Junior High's Parent Faculty Association, said she was shocked by the "significant difference" of academic rigor between elementary schools and junior high in Chino. She said that many "hardworking teachers in the district are handcuffed by bureaucracy."

She and her family believe so strongly in Oxford that are willing to give up their summer vacation to help the charter school get prepared for classes this fall, she said.

Rhodes teacher Amy Valenzuela, a founding member of the charter, said Oxford will operate on the principle that "all students are not only unique, but gifted." She said enrichment classes, such as music, choir, band and foreign language will be offered.

Rhodes teacher Marci Herrera said Oxford will be community service oriented and may have an academic partnership with Grand Canyon University.

Karl Yoder, Chief Financial Officer for Delta Managed Solutions LLC, which provides assistance to California charter schools, said he believes Oxford's charter cannot be denied by the district because it has met all of the requirements for acceptance.

Mr. Yoder said the potential fiscal impact of a charter school on a school district is not a legal basis for denying a charter. He said Oxford would like to lesson the impact on the Chino Valley district by possibly renting a facility or contracting services from the district.

Daily Bulletin Friday, May 22, 2009 by Neil Nisperos Staff Writer

CHINO - Supporters for the creation of a new charter school have made their case to school district officials.

The supporters - including 50 Edwin Rhodes Elementary School parents and teachers - recently submitted a petition to the Chino Valley Unified School District to request the authorization.

The school district is expected to provide a response by June 18.

If the school board decides to reject the request, the supporters will file an appeal to San Bernardino County.

Supporters have said they would like to establish a charter school, which would be called the Oxford Preparatory Academy, because of:

- The school district's shrinking budget,

- The need for more school community autonomy over program decision-making,

- The desire to keep effective, but recently laid off, teachers, and

- Continuing familiar programs beyond the sixth grade.

"Charter education can be an extremely efficient tool for local management of resources and improving the rigor and performance of academic programs," said Carrie Birchler, who is coordinating efforts to open the charter school and is a parent of a Rhodes Elementary student.

"Our charter petition is truly a grassroots-community effort, supported by an emerging trend in both high-level political and corporate support as America's public education system clearly needs a departure from broken systems and should embrace new systems. We owe our children

a better way."

Charter schools are elementary or secondary schools that receive public funds, but don't have to follow all the rules, regulations and statutes that apply to other public schools. The charter school would be expected to achieve certain results laid out in its charter.

Organizers said they hope to create a K-8 charter school and anticipate open enrollment for about 500 students.

Locations, including along Fairfield Ranch Road, are being scouted in the Chino Valley area for the charter school, Birchler said.

If district students attend the charter school, it could lead to the loss of daily attendance funds for Chino Valley Unified.

The issue is of concern, "especially in these economic times, Board of Education member Michael Calta said.

"You do lose (daily attendance) money, but you also lose expenses associated with it. At the end of the day, I still don't know what the net loss would be."

The school board won't know the net loss until staff members conduct an analysis.

Board president Sylvia Orozco said the loss of state attendance money is a concern, but "at the same token, it's not something we're going to focus on and make it the rush now, as to why to deny something like that."

Rhodes Elementary, located at 6655 Schaefer Ave. in Chino, has the top Academic Performance Index scores in the district as well as the county.

District officials have expressed concern over the loss of top-scoring students, which could impact test scores and school accountability standings.

Some school board members have voiced concern that policy would lead to the recruitment of high-achieving students from district schools and that a public lottery would be better.

"What ends up happening, is that when you recruit, you go out and find the highest performing students and help get applications set up ahead of time, and the bell rings, you already have an enrollment of 500 students, instead of taking applications randomly, and choosing specific students to be first in line," Calta said.

"A public lottery would be the fair approach to enrollment. Everybody would have a fair chance."

If established as a charter school, Oxford Preparatory Academy will have a first-come, first-serve enrollment policy.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Contact Your CVUSD Board Members--Tell them You Want Your OPA!

OPA wishes to thank the public for your overwhelming support at the CVUSD special hearing held at the district office on Monday May 18. The standing-room only crowd gave a strong public show of support to this very important new vision in public education that we intend to share with all of Chino Valley.

The next CVUSD order of business concerning Oxford Preparatory Academy's Charter School Petition will be held on June 18, 2009 at the regular school board meeting. The school board is expected to vote on approval or denial of Oxford Preparatory Academy's Charter School Petition at this June 18th Meeting.

It is vital that the school board hear a strong and consistent message from the public that a charter school is both wanted and necessary.

Please use the following information to contact our CVUSD school board members and express your support for bringing the first K-8 charter school to the students in the Chino Valley.

  • Email your CVUSD board members.
  • Call the District Office at 628-1201.
  • Send letters to 5130 Riverside Drive Chino, CA 91710.
Tell them you want your OPA and why!

Your school board needs to hear from you NOW!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

CVUSD Special Hearing Monday May 18th 6 PM - Come show your support!

Oxford Preparatory Academy is proud to announce that a public hearing is scheduled for Monday, May 18th, 2009 at 6:00PM at the CVUSD District Office at 5130 Riverside Drive in Chino.

Please join us to learn more and show your support as we present our innovative and exciting petition to the School Board.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Our Educational Program


Oxford Preparatory Academy’s vision is to create a center for higher learning in the Chino Valley where students from kindergarten to eighth grade are prepared to pursue university level academic studies, as well as to gain skills to be successful in the global community of the 21st century. Our students will not just meet, but exceed grade level expectations and become critical thinkers, as they
are engaged with dynamic teaching that will make them self-motivated, competent, and lifelong learners.

The preparatory academy is named after Oxford University, regarded as one of the world's leading
academic institutions. The staff of Oxford Preparatory Academy will create a collegiate atmosphere that will support our school vision, where all students are introduced to the comprehensive benefits of attending a higher-learning institution. The ideals of Rhodes Scholars, the utmost scholarship at Oxford University, will serve as the inspiration behind our collegiate theme and student goals:

• High academic achievement;
• Respect for others;
• Integrity of character;
• A spirit of unselfishness;
• Physical vigor; and
• Potential for leadership.

Creating long-term academic success will take place through a school-wide, data driven model of
reform that shapes the culture of high expectations for every student on campus. This will be accomplished by promoting college readiness for all students the moment they step foot in Oxford Preparatory Academy, and will establish and create a sense of urgency for reform that will promote change.

Oxford Preparatory Academy staff members will merge their collective experience to formulate
consistent language, policies, and programs to establish our school-wide goals. Adherence to
rigorous California State Standards and a focus on student learning will be the pillars of our
philosophy. To emphasize high academic standards, our core instructional strategy will be based on Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (MI) and how it directly affects student learning. MI will be the key philosophy embraced by all stakeholders, enabling students to believe that they are gifted in a multitude of ways. Providing instructional strategies that address all eight of the intelligences will ensure that differing needs are met and student retention of information is maximized.

Mission and Goals

The Oxford Preparatory Academy believes that all students are unique and gifted individuals. We are committed to working collaboratively to develop life-long learners in a safe and caring educational environment where students are challenged, scholarship is expected, and differences are valued.

The Degrees of Learning, shown above, provides a visual summary of how Oxford Preparatory
Academy will achieve its mission leading to Student Academic Success.

• Each year, STAR testing data will be
utilized to create a plan for improving our
academic program.
• After goals are identified, the staff will
articulate strategies for target improvement
areas, including professional development,
instructional methods, and curricular
• Planning will be accomplished using State
Curricular Standards.
• To implement this plan of action, we will
use the Degrees of Learning to visualize
the key elements of a strong academic
• The focus will be “STUDENT ACADEMIC
SUCCESS”, and the scrolls (Homework,
Evaluation, Student Involvement, Student
and Staff Involvement, Attendance,
Student Recognition, Behavior, Theory of
Multiple Intelligences, Special Programs,
and Staff Development), which are
grounded in consistent and clear
“communication” (see graphic), represent
all vital components that make this
• Decision-making and program
development by stakeholders tie into this
belief on how all students will be

We will fulfill our mission by:

1. Emphasizing high academic standards, respect, patriotism, and courtesy:
• Students develop a deep understanding, mastery, and application of important concepts that
propel inquisitive life-long learning and reach high levels of academic achievement;
• Provide a school model where students acquire and practice a range of essential skills that
are California standards based;
• Use the best instructional practices that meet the varied needs of all students;
• Align instruction to the rigor of the content standards;
• Teach reading comprehension through expository text, such as social studies and science;
• Utilize and monitor a program of character education that emphasizes respect, responsibility,
and citizenship; and
• Provide a program where patriotism is fostered and students are encouraged to develop
positive attitudes towards learning, the environment, and other people.

2. Providing a structured environment conducive to learning:
• Use classroom management techniques and student study skills that lead to student success;
• Utilize Student Study Team to identify and intervene early for at-risk students;
• Provide immediate response to intervention; and
• Maximize student academic learning time, bell-to-bell instruction, by actively engaging
students in standards based instruction.

3. Expecting active parent participation and support of school policies and programs:
• Maintain a shared decision-making approach through the use of various groups of staff,
parents, and community members, which addresses identified needs of both students and the
overall educational program of Oxford Preparatory Academy;
• As a requirement of enrollment, parents, students, and staff will enter into the Learning
Partnership Agreement (see Appendix C) at the beginning of each school year.

4. Implementing the Theory of Multiple Intelligences as part of instruction to:
• Address the learning styles and modalities of all students;
• Teach the content of the State Standards through all eight intelligences, allowing students to
learn, comprehend, and retain information; and
• Empower students to create, classify, imagine, infer, select, and appraise and/or evaluate in
learning situations.

5. Offering on-going teacher and parent training to:
• Discuss information on current research, planning guides, sample lessons, and curricular
objectives as part of ongoing staff development;
• Provide the parental community with the information needed to support and understand the
benefits of utilizing the Theory of Multiple Intelligences as part of the instructional process; and
• Use of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to plan, assess materials and techniques,
and develop new strategies for engaging students in the curriculum.

6. Maintaining consistent communication between home, school, and community:
• Provide many opportunities for parents to become involved with, and informed of, student
progress; and
• Keep parents current through the use of technology (including web sites and e-mail) and daily
student agendas.

7. Engaging in community service-based (Service Learning) activities embedded throughout grade
level standards instruction:
• Provide multiple opportunities for students to participate in community service-based projects;
• Foster students’ civic responsibility and understand their role in the global community; and
• Connect curricular concepts with service-centered activities.

8. Ensuring all students are performing at grade level, based on California State Standards:
• All students must read and comprehend at grade level before entering the next grade;
• All students must demonstrate grade-level numeracy skills before entering into the next grade;
• Attendance must be 98% or greater to provide the greatest opportunity for student academic

9. Including a second language as part of the curriculum:
• Allow children to compete in the global marketplace;
• Enable students to be prepared for the international dimension that reflects the changed world
environment and increasingly diverse U.S. population; and
• Provide a good foundation for future careers.

10. Developing and revising, on a yearly basis, the Game Plan for Success
• Centered on school-wide academic goals, including the percentage of students scoring
Advanced/Proficient in core subject areas on the California Standards Test and Academic
Performance Index (API) scores;
• Utilization of quality instruction (effective, data-driven, and based on California Teaching
• Address barriers preventing students from being successful; and
• Provides quality, standards-based intervention opportunities for students before, during, and
after the school day.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Who Are We?

Founding Group

Oxford Preparatory Academy will be founded as a center for higher learning in the Chino Valley where students from kindergarten to eighth grade are prepared to pursue university level academic studies. Our students will gain skills to be successful in the global community of the 21st century. Students will not just meet, but will exceed grade level expectations and become critical thinkers, as they are engaged with dynamic teaching that will make them self-motivated, competent, and lifelong learners. Staff collaboration, continual reassessment of practices based upon on-going performance measures, and recognition of the special learning needs of every child, make Oxford Preparatory Academy a place where achievement is the norm, challenges are viewed as temporary obstacles, and success will be applauded.

Our Founding Group recognized that we share a common vision for our students to engage in a wide variety of academic experiences based on the Theory of Multiple Intelligences in a collegiate atmosphere, where diversity is valued and scholarship is expected. The freedom, independence, and efficiency of our charter school will allow for maximum use of our resources for student achievement.

Below are the profiles of the individuals who comprise our Founding Group. Each person brings valuable input to various aspects of the charter. Our school community reflects a diversity of individuals who contribute a broad base of professional, volunteer, community involvement, talents, and backgrounds. These individuals have been active in the community and school system, and are familiar with the various details of operating a school.

Board of Directors:

Richard Hall, Ed.S. (R) (President) is employed by the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools as Director of Service Learning. He has held numerous offices within this department and has been given a multitude of awards including the CREEC Award of Excellence. Jack O’ Connell awarded him a Certificate of Recognition in 2005, and he was nominated for the Golden Bell Award in 1989. Mr. Hall has a Bachelor of Arts from Whittier College, a Masters of Education from Azusa Pacific University, and an Education Specialist degree from Loma Linda University. He has a Standard Secondary Credential with authorizations in biology, mathematics, physical education, psychology, and recreation. Additionally, he holds a California Administrative Credential, Tiers I and II. He has won “Teacher of the Year” for the Redlands Unified School District and the San Bernardino Unified School District, and was the “California State Teacher of the Year”, as well. His lists of publications include topics on such subjects as, mathematics, science, environmental education, service learning, and literacy. He is an adjunct professor for California State University, San Bernardino, and the University of California, Riverside. He is an Educational Consultant and has developed many professional development programs including; Thinking Maps, Grant Writing, Technology, and Professional Learning Groups. Mr. Hall is also responsible for SATTOS (Science and Technology To Our Students) and has raised over $200,000, along with ongoing capital of approximately $50,000 a year, to build a 40 foot motor home that delivers science and technology to all of the elementary schools in the Redlands Unified School District. He organized English Language Learner Science Strategies and wrote a grant that provided $10,000 for curriculum development.

Mary Chladni (R) (Secretary) has been the recipient of many well deserved awards: “Teacher of the Year” for San Bernardino County and Chino Valley Unified School District (CVUSD); Outstanding College Woman of the Year, Country Springs Elementary “Hall of Fame” Service Award, Edwin Rhodes “Honorary Doctorate,” and Business and Professional Women’s Career Woman Award. Mary Chladni began her teaching career in 1969 in the Ontario/Montclair School District. In 1979 Ms. Chladni came to work for the Chino Valley Unified School District at Anna Borba Fundamental Elementary School. She next assisted in opening Rolling Ridge Elementary, Country Springs Elementary, and Edwin Rhodes Elementary, all top performing elementary schools. She became a BTSA (Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment) Support Provider, a CVUSD Trainer in Towards Equity Trainer of Trainers, Peer Assistance and Review (PAR), Teacher Expectation and Student Achievement (TESA) and a Teacher Expectation and Student Achievement Trainer. Ms. Chladni received her Bachelor of Science in Education from Northern Arizona University and a Masters of Arts in Education from Arizona State University. Ms. Chaldni is trained in and certified as a Multiple Intelligences Specialist, and has conducted numerous workshops and staff developments in this area. Moreover, she has received her Preliminary Administrative Services Credential from California State University, San Bernardino. She has also donated her time to Cub Scouts and the Special Olympics.

Janet Yang (R) (Treasurer) is the Founder and Director of Chino Hills Chinese School, as well as the Founder and Principal of Premier Academy of Chino Hills, where her upper level math and science programs are highly regarded. She has taught the Chinese language, culture, and history, as well as AP Chinese, to hundreds of students, ages five (5) to adult at the Chinese School. Additionally, Ms. Yang has been responsible for educating several youth in our community in AP physics, Statistics, Biology, and AP Chemistry, just to name a few of the various science classes she has taught. Many of her students have been accepted to UCLA, Duke, and Berkeley. Ms. Yang received her Bachelor of Arts in Biomedical Engineering at Shanghai Jiaotong University in China, where she was also the editor of the campus magazine. She is presently a Doctoral Candidate in Biochemistry at Loma Linda University. Ms. Yang has worked for several years as a Research Assistant in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California, where she was instrumental in analyzing data for the USC Medical School. She has taught a computer language—Pascal, and has received the School Leadership Award, at Shanghai Jiaotong University, China. She has also participated as a coach for the American Mathematics Contest.

Robert Apodaca (R) is Co-Director of Education for the Board of Directors for the Chino Community Theatre. Mr. Apodaca coordinates educational classes for the community at a reasonable cost, so anyone could benefit from being part of this wonderful experience. He is a graduate of DeVry Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Operations Management. He currently works with the Packaging Corporation of America as Design Department Co-Manager. Past employment that has furthered developed his current skills while acquiring new talents. These have included: Quality Control Internal Auditor; Senor Designer; and Sales Manager. During the past ten years, Mr. Apodaca has had extensive training in design and management, as well as PCA Integrity Courses.

Bob Kuhnert (R) spent nearly thirty years as a highly regarded Deputy District Attorney in the County District Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, California. He was a supervisor in major litigation and was responsible for overseeing 250 attorneys and their supervisors. During this time, he was Director of Special Operations involving supervision of major units such as: Domestic Violence, Major Crimes, Special Investigations, Sex Crimes, Major Narcotics, Consumer and Environmental Protection and Welfare Fraud. Mr. Kuhnert received a prestigious award from the L.A. County Marshall Service, as well as being awarded for recognition of gang activity prosecution from the City of Norwalk. Earlier in his career, he was a Case Brief Writer and Editor, reviewing all Appellate and California Supreme Court criminal case decisions and the author of briefs on the rulings. He was also an extremely successful Attorney in the Anti-Trust Division, investigating and prosecuting Sherman Anti Trust Act violations. He considers education a top priority and graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of San Diego School with a Juris Doctor Degree. Mr. Kuhnert received a B.S. in History and Political Science at San Diego State University, also graduating Magna Cum Laude. He is a member of the California State Bar Association and Municipal Advisory Council, reporting to the County Board of Supervisors. He was responsible for incorporating the city of Diamond Bar and to show his support for education, he became a Walnut Valley Unified School District Board member, where he served for four years.

Dana Reupert (R) is the current President for the California Association for the Gifted (CAG), a part-time lecturer at the University of California, Riverside Graduate School of Education, and a University of California, Riverside Extension Instructor for the GATE Certificate program. She has been a frequent presenter at CAG conferences, National Association for Gifted Children meetings, and the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children Conferences. She has been active in the educational community as an instructor, curriculum assistant, principal, and consultant in the Riverside area. She has received many awards during her career, including “Principal of the Year” in 2000-2001 for the Riverside Unified School District. Ms. Reupert received her Bachelor of Science in Education from Winona State University, Winona, Minnesota. She did graduate work at University of California, Riverside, Loma Linda University, California State College, Los Angeles, and the University of California at Los Angeles. Next she completed a Masters of Arts in Administration at California State University, San Bernardino. Ms. Reupert has a Life General Elementary Credential, a Certificate in Education for the Gifted and Talented (GATE), and an Administrative Services Credential. She is an active member in the Riverside Chambers of Commerce Business/Education Committee, Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), and Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

Sue Teele, Ph.D., (R) is the Director of Education Extension and the Associate Dean at the University of California, Riverside, where she is the administrator and Director for over 900 courses, in-services, credential and certificate programs provided annually to over 12,000 educators. The Education Extension offers four unique certificates not offered anywhere else: The Study of Multiple Intelligences, Educational Facilities Planning, Advanced Placement for Educators, and Response to Intervention. Her responsibilities include supervising eighteen state approved credential programs, twenty-five certificate programs, three to four conferences a year, and over 200 staff development in-services at school sites. Moreover, she oversees the Renaissance Project, an educational research and training program that examines the relationship of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences to student learning. Ms. Teele also administers grant-funded programs in science, reading, and English Language Learners, professional courses for teachers and academic enrichment programs for youth. She is a famous published author, especially among educators, writing many researched-based books: Honor Each Child’s Diversity; The Multiple Intelligences School—A Place for All Students to Succeed; Rainbows of Intelligences, Exploring How Students Learn; and Into, Through, and Beyond the 1990’s: Combining the Multiple Intelligences with Assessment, just to name a few. Dr. Teele received her B.A. in English Literature from the University of Redlands, her M.S. in Humanities and Education from Southern Oregon University, and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside.

Ex-Officio Officers:

Katharine Havert (R) works for the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools as the Service Learning Specialist and the California Regional Environmental Education Coordinator. Ms. Havert has a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education, General Science Emphasis, from the University of Montana, Missoula, and a Masters of Arts in Secondary Education, Environmental Education Option, from California State University, San Bernardino. With a background in science, she has developed curriculum for regional environmental agencies and organizations. Ms. Havert provides educator training in Service Learning, Project Learning Tree, Project WILD, and Flying Wild. She coordinates Youth Leadership and Service Learning Conferences. Ms. Havert has coordinated several school-based recycling centers in several areas in and around the San Bernardino County area. She has volunteered to work with our staff in the areas of Service Learning and Science on an ongoing basis.

Marita Isidore (R) owns the Tropical Smoothie on Butterfield Ranch Road located in Chino Hills. Ms. Isidore has an extensive background and experience with vendor and proprietary software documentation, training, curriculum development, and quality assurance. In addition, she has her experience creating and delivering curriculum for software release and will a great asset to Oxford Preparatory Academy. This, combined with her expertise in management and technical writing, she will also be able to offer sound advice in regards to business management. Ms. Isidore holds a Masters of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Loyola Marymount University. She also attended law school at Southwestern University School of Law. Ms. Isidore is an active participant in the community for elementary school age children and gives presentations about healthy eating. She also gives presentations about building businesses from the ground up to high school students.

Lead Petitioners:

Marianne Ballantyne currently teaches 1st grade at Rhodes Elementary School and has been a teacher in Chino Valley Unified School District since 1990. Ms. Ballantyne also helped open Country Springs and Rolling Ridge Elementary Schools, all three top performing schools in the District. She has been a trainer of teachers, developing in-services for district teachers on phonemic awareness, and decoding and blending. She has served as Grade Level Chairperson and is currently serving as President of School Site Council. She has also served on various district committees, including the development of a writing rubric and the adoption of a new Language Arts Program. Ms. Ballantyne holds a Bachelors degree in Liberal Arts from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona with a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. She has also successfully completed the Theory of Multiple Intelligence classes at the University of California, Riverside, and holds an SB1969 certificate.

Albert Chang, Esquire, (Lead Petitioner) (R) is a parent to a Rhodes Scholar and the Managing Partner and co-founder of Chang & Cote, LLP. Mr. Chang earned his Electrical Engineering Degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and began his early career as an engineer and manager for a nuclear power plant, the Space Shuttle, and MX Peacekeeping Projects. Upon moving to Southern California, Mr. Chang earned his Law Degree from Loyola Law School, graduating with honors. Mr. Chang founded the offices of Albert J.C. Chang in 1993 in California, and thereafter in Nevada, serving the needs of Asian companies in the manufacturing, aeronautical, banking, oil producing, and investment fields. Eventually, Mr. Chang opened additional offices in the Caribbean and became the first U.S. law firm in the city of Tianjin, the fastest growing major city in China. Mr. Chang served on the Rhodes Elementary School Site Council, volunteered for the Junior Moot Court Project, and currently serves on the Measure R Citizens’ Oversight Committee for Mount San Antonio College.

Marci Herrera (Lead Petitioner) (R) currently teaches 5th grade GATE at Rhodes Elementary School. Ms. Herrera has taught all grades K-6 in both public schools (Chino Valley and Long Beach School Districts) and private schools (Page Private School, Beverly Hills). She received the “Outstanding Teacher Award” in 1992 and “Teacher of the Year” in 2004. Ms. Herrera wrote the Cal-Serve Service Learning Award and Picture America Award, which were awarded in 2009. She is currently Administrative Designee for Curriculum Development for a Performing Arts Grant, Professional Development Coordinator for Writing Programs and Curriculum in Grades K-6, and Community Service Learning Coordinator. Ms. Herrera is also the Curriculum Director and Administrator for the Chino Community Theatre Summer School Program. Ms. Herrera earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre Arts, with an emphasis in Acting and Directing, from California State University, Los Angeles, and her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from Chapman University. Ms. Herrera earned her Masters in Educational Administration with an Administrative Credential from Grand Canyon University. She has also received numerous sales achievement awards as a sales representative in the pharmaceutical and telecommunications industries.

Tim Shackelford (Lead Petitioner) (R) is currently serving as the Battalion Chief of the Chino Valley Independent Fire District in charge of Emergency Medical Services and the Training/Safety Division. With over eighteen (18) years of experience, Mr. Shackelford has had extensive training in advanced life support and has been responsible for training of EMT-1 and Paramedic personnel. His current responsibilities include the development and implementation of Standard Operating Procedures, budget development and management, and as a representative of the Fire District at Multi-Jurisdictional meetings and professional organizations. Chief Shackelford graduated in 1993 from Mt. San Antonio College with an Associate of Science degree in Fire Technology. In 2007, he graduated Magna Cum Laude from Columbia Southern University and is currently enrolled in the Master of Science Degree program in Occupational Safety and Health. He has been an advisor and program coordinator for the Explorer program, the treasurer of the Chino Valley Professional Firefighters, and the coordinator of the Spark of Love Toy Drive. He is a youth sports coach and serves on the Edwin Rhodes School Site Council, as well as, volunteering at his church.

John Shipes (Lead Petitioner) (R) has taught 6th grade at Edwin Rhodes Elementary School since 2004, when he earned his Multiple Subject Teaching Credential after a major career change. In 1991, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in business from National University in San Diego, graduating Summa Cum Laude. In 1997, he received a Master of Business degree, with an emphasis in financial management, graduating with distinction. He worked as a mechanical engineer before deciding to pursue his teaching career. He has been a leader at Edwin Rhodes Elementary serving on the School Site Council and the Leadership Team, as well as, volunteering to be the head coach of the award winning track and field team. Mr. Shipes is also a member of the Board of Directors for National Junior Basketball and volunteers as a basketball coach for the City of Chino.

Nancy Taylor currently teaches 5th grade GATE at Edwin Rhodes Elementary School and has taught for over 24 years in the Chino Valley Unified School District at Anna Borba Fundamental, Country Springs, and Edwin Rhodes Elementary. Ms. Taylor has been a Site Mentor for three (3) years and a Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA) Support Provider for seven (7) years. She has successfully worked with both GATE and RSP students including the 5th grade District GATE Magnet teacher for the last six years. Ms. Taylor was also a writer for the California Distinguished School Application and was a Grade Level Chairperson for several years. Ms. Taylor earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Theatre Arts, with a minor in English, from Eastern New Mexico University, graduating Magna Cum Laude, and earned a Masters degree in Drama from California State University at Los Angeles. She also has a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, a SB1969 authorization, and a Certificate in Education for the Gifted and Talented.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Parent Information Meeting Wednesday May 6th

Come Learn About Oxford Prep at a brief meeting Wednesday evening May 6th between 6 and 8PM

  • Four 30-minute meeting sessions are offered for your convenience.
  • Sessions begin at 6PM, 6:30PM, 7PM, and 7:30PM
  • Lead Petitioners will be available to answer your questions
  • Come show your support the for the Oxford Preparatory Academy Charter at the CVUSD board meeting Thursday 5/7 at 7PM (wear aqua!)
For Meeting Location please contact the OPA Founding Group at

Please plan to attend this important informational meeting.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Oxford Preparatory Academy Charter Petition submitted to the Chino Valley Unified School District

A Petition to open the first Charter school in the Chino Valley has been submitted to the Chino Valley Unified School District board. Upon approval, Oxford Preparatory Academy's vision is to create a center for higher learning in the Chino Valley where students from kindergarten to eighth grade are prepared to pursue university level academic studies, as well as to gain skills to be successful in the global community of the 21st century.