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O.C. adding 2 charter schools

Great news for Orange County students. Thursday, the Orange County Board of Education approved two new charter schools. Charters are public schools that generally operate outside the red tape of the California Education Code. Since charters were authorized by the California Legislature two decades ago, 1,184 have sprung up in the state, attended by 547,800 students.

These schools will open classrooms in fall 2016:

• Santa Ana College Prep, a high school that will be run by Ednovate Inc. of Los Angeles, a charter group what works with USC to prepare students for college.

• Unity Middle College High School in Orange, which will be run by Erin McKenzie Craig and Oakland-based Unity Schools. Ms. Craig earned her doctorate in education from USC and master’s in mathematics from Cal State East Bay. She recently was the principal of Nova Academy Early College High School in Santa Ana.

Under her leadership, from 2012-13, Nova posted an outstanding 66-point increase on the old (now, unfortunately, abandoned) API standard test, one of the greatest improvements in the state. The school won a bronze medal from U.S. News & World Report in 2009 as one of the county’s top schools.

Unfortunately, both schools’ charter applications initially were turned down by their school districts, Santa Ana Unified School District and Orange Unified School District, respectively. We believe the reasons for rejection were inadequate. For example, the resolution by the SAUSD board declared that Ednovate’s comprehensive proposal “is not consistent with sound educational practice.”

Fortunately, state charter law allows an appeal to the county board of education, which in both cases approved the petitions on 4-0 votes (with one board member absent).

“These are quality charter schools,” county Fifth District Trustee Linda Lindholm told us. “There were a few small details that we had to work out in memorandums of understanding. And now we’re looking at these excellent charter schools being in place.”

The big winners will be the kids. Both charters will serve areas with numerous low-income families, many of which are recent immigrants. For all of us, it’s crucial in a high-tech economy that all schools produce more students well-schooled in the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math.

Finally, competition makes everyone strive harder. These new charters will motivate all Orange County schools to seek excellence.


Date: August 23, 2015

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Students are dismissed March 16 - April 12

As things continue to evolve and change at the state and local level, we can now confirm that Unity will remain closed through Spring Break, through April 12, 2020. Based on the governor’s press conference earlier this week, we are preparing for a longer closure and will keep families updated as this unfolds.

● Ms. Nieblas and Ms. Limon are reaching out to each Unity family by phone TODAY to verify they are receiving our messages, their child has access to internet, learning, and food as well as to help families troubleshoot any areas needed.

Today through April 3, 2020 - School Closed
● Through April 3rd, Unity students have the opportunity to revise, improve, and resubmit any past assignments they did not receive full credit on. This will ensure students can build on their previous knowledge rather than try to learn new content on their own.
● Teachers have already reached out to your student through Google Classroom.
● Family teachers will also communicate and check in on your students each week.
● On Friday April 3, 2020 families will receive the School wide Unity Distance Education Plan for instruction and special education service implementation for the coming weeks.
● If you have questions as it relates to your child accessing learning please reach out directly to Ms. Seth by email at or by telephone at 313-509-8689

April 4, 2020 - April 12, 2020 - Spring Break
● Our school and office are closed and teachers/staff will be on break.
● If you need urgent assistance during this time please email Dr. Craig AND Ms. Seth

April 13, 2020 - Online Distance Education and Special Education Services Begin
● The Schoolwide Distance Education Plan including special education services provided will be emailed to our Unity families and students before Spring Break and begin on Monday April 13, 2020.
● This plan will include details about how students will learn, communicate with their teachers, submit assignments, and most importantly get the help they need.

Students with Disabilities
● Our goal is to continue to provide each student with equity and access through innovation for their education and services during this time.
● Between now and April 3rd, Mr. Casperson and Mr. Trulin will continue to reach out to our students with disabilities to provide them with service and support on their past assignments and any past work.
● Unity is currently working with their special education service providers to develop a plan for “remote services”. This plan will be communicated to families on or before April 3, 2020 and will begin on April 13, 2020.
● If you have any questions in the meantime, please reach out to Mr. Casperson and Ms. Seth.

School Events Including Spring Picnic
● All school events until the end of April have been canceled (to be rescheduled).
● As things continue to change, we will keep you updated on events in May and June.
● Students, please practice social distancing even though hanging out with your friends is more fun.
● We do not have answers about Graduation 2020 and activities yet, so please be patient with us. As soon as we receive more information from the state and county, we will share that information with you. We can’t wait to celebrate your success!
● Our goal is to celebrate the graduating class of 2020, we ultimately want to make sure everyone is safe.

Students Taking College at SCC
● Students should now be working online for their SCC classes and should check their emails and Canvas for further information from SCC and individual professors.
● Students who need support with wifi should contact Ms. Seth.
● Ms. Seth will still be doing college grade checks every other week with students via email. Student Meals Each School Day
● Throughout the closure on school days each week, Unity students can go to the Orange United
Schools listed below for:
○ Grab-N-Go Breakfast from 8 am to 10 am &
○ Grab-N-Go Lunch 10 am to noon
● Locations serving food are:
○ Handy, California, Esplanade, Taft, Yorba, & Lampson Elementary Schools
○ Portola Middle School
○ Orange HS, El Modena HS, & Canyon HS. (served out of snack bars, not in the cafeteria or multipurpose rooms, to prevent students gathering)

● Students are not allowed to stay on campus or congregate to consume meals and must be present to pick up food. We are in this together as a Unity family, and we will get through this. Thank you for your responsiveness, support, and ongoing communication. As always, please reach out to us and let us know what you and your family need. Stay safe and take care of your loved ones.