Fantastic school and staff! My son absolutely LOVES going to school here! The project based learning environment is amazing and makes sense to fully teach our children and not just teach them to test well.
My 4th and 5th graders just started school here. We switched to CRA because our recent school experiences have been lacking. My oldest used to come home and beg me to stay home. Now both of my kids are eager to get up and go to school! They really like their teachers and have already made friends. I enjoy all of the friendly faces that I have seen on campus.
Community Roots Academy is a charter in CUSD. Charter school are funded like traditional public schools (have to take the same standardized tests too), have giant fundraisers and receive some grants from community resources because of the style of teaching they practice. There is no fee to attend however the education you get at CRA is comparable to a private school. The children experience their education, rather than memorizing or reading from books. CRA incorporates several subjects in one project combining multiple levels of learning, this is know as Project Based Learning (PBL). All of the teachers have been so caring and really focus on how they can best teach each child.
Spanish, PE, Music, Drama, Art as well as cutting edge technology are taught in each class. From Kindergarten the children begin practicing their public speaking and working in groups. They learn how to give and receive hot and cool feedback and be active learners when their peers are presenting. The scholars are given opportunities to show what they have learned in ways that best suit them, some choose to write a song about what they have learned, others do a news story, write an essay or even make up a board game. This just shows examples of how the teachers give the children the freedom to express themselves as well as share what they have learned.
Community Roots Academy has not been given a permanent location. We have been sharing a campus with another elementary school in CUSD. We have needed to share everything, staggering lunchtimes, start times, and even juggling dates more than once for a back to school night due to conflict with the MPR. Since it's first year it has been unknown from year to year where our campus will be. That is half a decade of unknown, unable to plant our roots. Many of our families drive from the farthest edges of CUSD to be at CRA, some over 30 minutes each way. Our faculty, families and students have been extremely resilient with this uncertainty however a place to call our own space is necessary. If you read information about CRA "kicking students out" of their neighborhood school, please understand we are at the mercy of CUSD as much as any of the other school.
CRA's project-based learning education is the perfect fit for our family. We were living overseas due to work assignments and were suddenly relocated to Orange County. We knew zero about the public school system here and after after visiting public, private and charter schools, we stumbled across Community Roots Academy. Our children started in 2nd, 4th and 6th grade half-way through the school year but thanks to the hard work and caring attention of the teachers and staff, they could not have had an easier transition.
As a multi-cultural and well-travelled family, we really appreciate the diversity of ethnicities, nationalities, faiths and socio-economic backgrounds at CRA. We like this mix of people and ideas and think it's really good for our kids. The academics are solid and the kids are learning real-world skills, not just how to pass tests. There is mastery of learning, not just mastery of knowledge. The school is only a few years old but has grown exponentially - clearly it is doing something (many things!) right.
We had to research what a public charter school was before enrolling our kids - thankfully the information is freely available on the internet. Those who feel CRA should build their own campus or find money for a new location are confusing CRA with a private school and do not understand how a public charter school operates. Their claims that CRA is intentionally targeting, taking over a smaller school or deliberately displacing other students are also false. CRA answers to the Capistrano Unified School District. The CUSD is legally required to find a permanent location for CRA and has researched and short-listed low-enrollment schools for that purpose.
Happy, engaged kids who love to go to school, committed, caring and extremely professional educators who love what they do, and visionary founders availing themselves of the most current and relevant pedagogical data to make learning meaningful, fun and lasting. This is a project based learning (PBL) charter school, but so much more! We especially love that these teachers spend hours preparing narrative assessments of student progress. This is NOT a rote learning, teach to the test environment, and I'm so thankful that it exists & that we've had the opportunity to send our two children to CRA.
my daughter was hospitalized due to flu complications last year. The entire kindergarten class made her cards. Both her kindergarten teachers brought the cards to us in person at our home. After missing over a week of school it meant a lot for my daughter to see her teachers show up at our front door.
We are so lucky to be at Community Roots Academy. With the exception of class size, I feel like we are getting a private school education. The directors have a clear vision and strong leadership. From Kindergarten on, students are taught public speaking, group work, and community values. Students take drama, music, PE, and Spanish in addition to the traditional subjects. Parent involvement is high and there are so many exciting activities and field trips planned throughout the year. This is a project-based-learning school where students engage in meaningful, authentic projects (example: kindergarten students studied endangered species and took a field trip to the zoo. At the zoo they handed out information cards they had made a presented information about the species to zoo patrons). Furthermore, the student body is very diverse with families from all cultural, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds. We love our school!