Charter Renewed For “Nova Academy” In Santa Ana, CA, A School Focused On High School And College Courses Taken Simultaneously

The Santa Ana Unified School Board renewed the charter Tuesday for Nova Academy, a school focused on allowing students to simultaneously take college courses and high school classes.

Nearly 100 students, parents and teachers from the school attended Tuesday’s meeting to support the new five-year charter.

Nova Academy, with 79 students, allows some students to earn associate arts degrees from Santa Ana College at the same time they earn high school diplomas. The campus was originally granted a charter as a school for foster children and orphans, and is sponsored by Olive Crest Homes and Services for Abused Children.

Charter schools receive funding directly from the state. They have to provide their own facilities and other services. School districts provide oversight of charter schools’ finances and curriculum and can deny charters if districts believe the schools are falling short of their obligations.

Santa Ana Unified officials had said there were concerns that the number of instructional minutes of many students did not meet minimum state standards. Some students left their high school courses early, or arrived late, so they could attend their college courses, district officials said.

But Nova Academy administrators said students now make up the lost minutes in extra classes during the week.


RealSAVI Number For Irvine Unified School District

Orange County 2008 API High School Index Average Price Per Sq Ft RealSavi Number Average Price Per Sq Ft RealSavi Number
Irvine School District   Feb-09 Feb-09 Mar-09 Mar-09
Irvine 848  $ 319.34 2.66  $ 353.55 2.40
Northwood 874  $ 308.56 2.83  $ 374.57 2.33
University 897  $ 459.18 1.95  $ 379.23 2.37
Woodbridge 844  $ 332.33 2.54  None sold   



Huntington Beach And Fountain Valley Schools Honored As “California Distinguished Schools”: Dwyer Middle School, Edison High School, Marina High School, Vista View Middle School, Fulton Middle School, And Masuda Middle School

california-distinguished-school1Dwyer Middle School and Edison and Marina high schools in Huntington Beach joined Vista View, Fulton and Masuda middle schools in Fountain Valley for the honor, which recognizes the top public schools in the state.The schools were among 136 middle and 125 high schools around the state to receive this year’s honor, out of nearly 2,400 schools statewide. State Supt. Jack O’Connell called each school’s principal Wednesday to give them the news.

This was Fulton’s first Distinguished School honor, and comes on the heels of big gains in its students’ math scores, Principal Chris Christensen said. The school surpassed 900 points on its recent API exam, giving it one of the top grades in the state.

After taking a dip in 2007, the school made a concerted effort to raise its math scores above even 2006 levels, which may have caught the eye of the nominating committee.

Fulton also has run a Spotlight program over the last two years that Christensen said gives struggling math and English students the chance to get extra tutoring during their regular elective period.

The school also has focused on improving its eighth-grade science program, and has become knowledgeable of data-driven instruction methods that allow the school’s Professional Learning Communities, groups of teachers who work together to improve student achievement, to go back to challenging portions of the curriculum and give students additional assistance.

Edison High chose to focus on its ways of integrating the school’s special education population in its application, as well as the parent partnership the school has developed, Principal D’liese Melendrez said. She has already notified parents of the achievement through the school’s phone system, and was delighted to find that the county Department of Education planted signs and balloons in front of the school last Thursday morning.

Principal Don Ruisinger said this is Dwyer’s third Distinguished School honor, but the first since he took the school’s helm.



Orange County Schools Receive Thirty-One “California Distinguished Schools” Designations


Thirty-one Orange County public middle schools and high schools have been named California Distinguished Schools, the state’s top honor for campuses.

The prize goes to just 10 percent of campuses statewide.

Tustin Public Schools Foundation And Prime Credit Funding In Promotional Partnership With “PrimeStudent” To Donate $100 To Tustin Unified School District Schools For Every Home Loan Funded In Disctrict




Prime Credit Funding is

committed to supporting local





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With our PrimeStudent Program, we will donate

$100 to the Tustin Public Schools Foundation for

every home loan we close within the Tustin Unified

School District in 2009.

California State Ballot Measures Needed To Help Solve Budget Crisis And Fund Schools Are Falling Short Of 50% Support In May Special Election

Five state ballot measures aimed at solving California’s budget crisis are falling short of the support needed to pass in the May special election, a sign that voters may force lawmakers into another fierce clash over tax hikes and spending cuts, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The state’s dismal economy has already partly unraveled the budget deal that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature reached last month, with a drop in tax collections leaving a new $8-billion shortfall. Rejection of the ballot measures would widen the gap to nearly $14 billion.

The least popular measure, Proposition 1C, is also the one that state leaders are counting on most for immediate fiscal relief: It would let the state borrow $5 billion against future lottery revenues. The cost, to be paid over decades, would be billions in new interest obligations, and less lottery money to meet future spending needs.

The poll by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California found that Proposition 1C would lose in a rout if the May 19 election were held today, with 37% of likely voters in favor and 50% opposed.

Faring slightly better, but still decisively rejected, would be Proposition 1A. It would cap state spending while extending billions in temporary tax hikes for an extra two years. The survey found 39% of likely voters for the measure and 46% against it.

So far, Proposition 1A is the measure that has drawn the most attention. Conservatives on talk radio, enraged by the extension of the tax hikes, have made its defeat a top priority. Some labor unions are weighing whether to campaign against the spending cap.

The dynamics of the special election are volatile, and public opinion could swing dramatically once campaign advertising begins. The poll found more than 10% of likely voters are undecided on most of the ballot measures. Also, voter turnout is likely to be low, and it is unclear what mix of Californians will wind up casting ballots in the oddly timed election.

Passage of each ballot measure requires at least one vote above 50%. Three measures were winning a plurality of support in the poll, but still falling short of the 50% threshold. The poll has a margin of sampling error of three percentage points among likely voters.

The poll found likely voters lukewarm on twin measures to loosen restrictions on money that Californians have dedicated solely to children’s health and mental health programs under previous initiatives.

Both measures, Propositions 1D and 1E, fall a few points short of 50%, but more voters backed them than opposed them.

Voter sentiment was split on Proposition 1B, which puts money into schools in future years to make up for cuts this year, with 44% in favor and 41% opposed. Lawmakers made it part of the ballot package in part to dissuade the state’s potent teachers unions from joining the opposition campaign.

All in all, “the supporters of the propositions have their work cut out for them,” said pollster Mark Baldassare, president of the policy institute.,0,3460616.story

Tustin Public Schools Foundation Announces 2009 “Dinosaur Dash Run For Education” Logo Winner For November 1 Event



Beckman High student Robert Lieu’s design won the Tustin Public Schools Foundation’s logo contest for the 2009 Dinosaur Dash Run for Education.

The foundation received 65 entries from Tustin students. Lieu won the $100 prize, and his teacher, Gigi Manning, will receive $100 for classroom art supplies.

The Dinosaur Dash will be Sunday, Nov. 1 at the Market Place in Tustin at Jamboree Road and Bryan Avenue. Proceeds benefit schools in the Tustin Unified School District.