CSU Los Angeles -- October 24, 2003
Alumni and Staff Found New Arts & Enterprise Charter School
Grand Opening Ceremony to Be Held Friday, October 24
The School of Arts and Enterprise—a new charter high school created by several Cal
State L.A. faculty, alumni and staff—will celebrate its grand opening with a reception on
Friday, October 24, 2003, at 10 a.m. The school, located in the downtown Arts Colony in
Pomona, offers college preparatory courses along with a focus on the arts and arts
Simeon Slovacek, professor from the Charter College of Education at Cal State L.A., served as
the lead petitioner of The School of Arts and Enterprise and a point of contact with the State
Board of Education. Slovacek also served as a planning and founding board member of this
charter school, and currently serves on The Haven Gallery Board of Directors, the non-profit
organization which was granted the petition.
"The school has been a work in progress for the last three years," commented
Slovacek. "I have worked with other charter school boards, and I have to say the School
of Arts and Enterprise's Planning Board was truly the dream team from the start, with
educators, artists, community members, and business members all contributing to the vision and
the reality of this charter school."
Slovacek is also a founding board member of The Accelerated School, the noted Los Angeles
charter school that was selected as TIME Magazine's "2001 Elementary School of the
Year", and of the award-winning View Park Preparatory Accelerated Charter School.
Funding to assist in the planning and creation of The School of Arts and Enterprise was made
possible through two major grants awarded to the school. Slovacek and his Cal State L.A. team
secured $850,000 through two charter school grants. The National Council of La Raza awarded the
school a four-year $400,000 grant and the California Department of Education awarded the school
a three-year $450,000 public charter schools grant. The Tessier Family Foundation also pledged
$1.6 million toward facility costs for the new school, through the efforts of a local developer
and philanthropist, Edward Tessier, who provided the early vision and impetus for the
Lucille Berger, director of The School of Arts and Enterprise, obtained her B.A. in English and
M.A. in secondary education from Cal State L.A. According to Berger, The School of Arts and
Enterprise is the first of its kind to be unanimously approved by the State Board of Education.
She shared that this will be a small high school serving up to 500 students from throughout the
Inland Empire, combining a traditional college prep high school curriculum with its arts and
arts businesses focus.
Berger elaborates, "The first freshman class of 130 students began classes on September 4
in the Cal Poly Downtown Center, in the heart of Arts Colony on West Second Street. A second
expanded campus is under development in downtown Pomona. The new facility, scheduled to open in
time for the start of school in September 2004, will be designed with a 'loft and gallery'
theme and will have classroom space as well as ample room for a variety of studios and
laboratories. Students in grades 9 through 11 will use the new space, while college-bound 12th
graders will continue using the West Second Street facility."
"Given the growth and size of the creative arts industries in California," noted
Tessier, "the School of Arts and Enterprise offers a much needed form of education to high
school students who want to pursue careers in the arts and in arts-related business." The
school is also operating satellite classrooms at the DA Gallery and the Pomona YMCA.
Other Cal State L.A. faculty, alumni and staff involved with the new charter school include
Rita Uribe-Kanell, Michael Batie, Laura Pantoja and Monique Hernandez. Uribe-Kanell, a
part-time faculty member in Cal State L.A.'s Charter College of Education, served as a planning
board member of the school and is currently on the school's Haven Gallery Board. Batie, a Cal
State L.A. alumnus who received his master's degree in education, assisted in the school's
student recruitment and is an external Accelerated Schools Project coach for the school.
Logistical support was provided by Laura Pantoja and Monique Hernandez. Pantoja, who received
her B.A. in psychology from Cal State L.A., is a research assistant in the Charter College of
Education's Program Evaluation and Research Collaborative (PERC) office. She also assisted with
the school's charter petition. Hernandez, a graduate student and part-time faculty member in
Cal State L.A.'s Geography Department, assisted with student recruitment and the school's
opening. "By agreeing to have Cal State L.A. serve as a university partner to the school,
President James M. Rosser and Allen Mori, our Charter College of Education's former Dean,
provided essential support for this project," Slovacek emphasizes.
The School of Arts and Enterprise is centrally located in Pomona's Arts Colony, a leading
community arts cluster in Southern California. "The Arts Colony features many public and
private art galleries representing some 1,500 artists, and is home to approximately 200 artists
- many of whom live and work in lofts developed in originally commercial buildings," says
Tessier. He points out that the numerous arts-related establishments in the area include
graphic design firms, and architecture and entertainment companies. As a result, notes Tessier,
"Pomona's Arts Colony now boasts an infrastructure that rivals that of a College of Art or
major university, and The School of Arts and Enterprise operates in artistically authentic
The public is invited to attend the grand opening event, to be held at the school, located at
300 West Second Street in Pomona. For further information, the public can call (909)
CONTACT: Carol Selkin, Media Relations Director, (323) 343-3044