CSU Los Angeles -- October 24, 2003

CSULA Faculty, 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 businesses.

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 school.

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 surroundings."

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) 622-0699

CONTACT: Carol Selkin, Media Relations Director, (323) 343-3044


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