13 Hart Vision Awards Presented to Charter Public School Leaders and Advocates at 25th Annual California Charter Schools Conference

March 27, 2018

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Caity Heim, CCSA
530-304-1242 cheim@ccsa.org

13 Hart Vision Awards Presented to Charter Public School Leaders and Advocates at 25th Annual California Charter Schools Conference

(San Diego, CA) - The California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) is honored to recognize thirteen exceptional charter public schools, teachers, leaders and advocates with a prestigious Hart Vision Award at the 25th Annual California Charter Schools Conference in San Diego.

Every year since 1995, the Hart Vision Awards have been given to individuals and organizations in honor of their outstanding leadership and emphasis on excellence in education. The Hart Vision Awards were established in honor of Gary K. Hart, retired California State Senator and former California Secretary of Education, who while serving as Senator sponsored the legislation that established California charter public schools.

The recipients of the 2018 Hart Vision Awards are:


2018 Hart Vision Teacher of the Year - Kaelin Swaney, Rocklin Academy Gateway (Rocklin, CA)

Outstanding, tenacious, and brave. These are just a few of the words colleagues use to describe Swaney. CCSA is proud to recognize Swaney for her commitment to creating a classroom that provides a safe learning environment for every single student. No matter the students' backgrounds, experiences, situations, or beliefs, Kaelin creates a place where each student is included, supported, and able to learn, grow, and thrive. Kaelin's professionalism, care for her students, and focus on kindness and compassion is a shining example that educators at Rocklin Academy Gateway, charter public schools, and traditional public schools across the state can look to for guidance.

2018 Hart Vision Charter School of the Year (North) - Shasta Charter Academy (Redding, CA)

Shasta Charter Academy, a nonclassroom-based charter public high school, is recognized for its grit in the face of significant challenges and a steadfast commitment to serving students. Formerly known as Shasta Secondary Home School, Shasta Charter Academy fought back when a local school district filed Anderson USD v Shasta Secondary Home School, a case that challenged where nonclassroom-based charter schools could serve families. Like many other nonclassroom-based schools, Shasta Charter Academy was forced to shut down one of its resource centers after the ruling, but the school never gave up on their students. Afterwards, they successfully opened a new, expanded learning center and prioritized working more closely with other charter public schools in Redding to have a greater collective impact on decision-making at local school districts, and hold local school boards accountable so that they put kids first and bureaucracy second. CCSA is honored to recognize Shasta Charter Academy for its fierce commitment to ensuring its students receive the best education possible; a commitment that will have a ripple effect across California.


2018 Hart Vision School Leader of the Year (North) - April Chou, Chief Growth and Operating Officer, KIPP Bay Area Schools (Oakland, CA)

Chou is a true example of a transformational leader. During her time at KIPP Bay Area, Chou organized and inspired a team of educators to become champions and advocates for their students and families by creating an advocacy and community engagement team. This team worked with her in the last year to engage with Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) to collaborate on a bill he authored, AB 1360, that exhibited clauses that could jeopardize some of the autonomy critical to charter public schools' success. They invited Bonta to tour their school and successfully worked with him to ensure the legislation addressed challenges present while preserving charter public schools' operational flexibility. Thanks to Chou and the team she led, AB 1360 became a bill charter public schools could support and was signed into law January 1, 2018. CCSA is proud to offer this award to Chou for the impact her work has had on charter public school students across the state. We look forward to seeing what she will accomplish in her next role at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to scale her advocacy work at schools across the nation.

2018 Hart Vision Elected Official of the Year - Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco)

CCSA is honored to recognize Senator Scott Wiener for his work to improve California's public education system, and to expand high-quality facility options for charter public schools. Senator Wiener has been instrumental in CCSA's facilities equity work, including his authorship of SB 765 in 2017 which would restore the right of first refusal for charter public schools to access school district surplus property through lease or sale. We are grateful for Senator Wiener's leadership in the Senate and look forward to partnering with him to ensure California is home to vibrant and high-quality charter public schools that are accessible to all students.


2018 Hart Vision Volunteers of the Year - Xitlali Castro, Ramona Lopez, Esmeralda Medina, Roxann Nazario, Mireya Pacheco, and Bielma Perez (Los Angeles, CA)

CCSA is proud to recognize these Los Angeles-area charter public school parents for the instrumental role they played in helping defeat SB 808 (Mendoza), which would have eliminated appeals for new charter school petitions and renewals, and their role in rallying families in their community to get involved in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board District 6 election, resulting in the election of charter public school supporter Kelly Gonez to the LAUSD school board. They put in long hours canvassing, phone banking and sharing information with families in their community about Gonez and how her election will positively impact their communities and children.

2018 Hart Vision Supporter of the Year- Bill and Susan Bloomfield, Entrepreneurs and Political Activists (Los Angeles, CA)

Bill and Susan Bloomfield have played a major role in pushing for education reform that puts students first, and in particular, have become major proponents of CCSA and CCSA Advocates' political work. Most recently, they provided invaluable support to CCSA Advocates during the LAUSD May 2017 school board elections, Bill joined the CCSA Advocates Board of Directors, and Susan has been active in building coalitions committed to creating real change in the public education system. CCSA is honored to bestow this award to the Bloomfield family for their bipartisan support of integrous work, organizations, and individuals that push the needle to help all students, regardless of income, race or circumstances, to receive a high-quality public education.


2018 Hart Vision School Leader of the Year (South) - Debbie Tarver, Executive Director for LaVerne Elementary Preparatory Academy (LEPA) and Desert Trails Preparatory Academy (DPTA) (San Bernardino County, CA)

In 2015, Tarver, Executive Director for LEPA, took on a task most wouldn't undertake: running two schools at once - in particular DPTA, a struggling "parent trigger" school. Yet Tarver did what she does best; she showed the school what heart and steadfast commitment can do to turn a school around. In just three years, Tarver helped DPTA achieve high academic marks in both English and Mathematics while also volunteering in as many ways as possible at CCSA, including as a Capitol Advocacy Leader, a CCSA Member Council representative, and very active member of the CCSA Inland Empire Political Action Committee and Advocacy Council. CCSA is honored to give Tarver this award for her commitment to academic excellence and her leadership in California's charter public school movement.

2018 Hart Vision Charter School of the Year (South) - EJE Middle Academy (El Cajon, CA)

CCSA is honored to award EJE Middle Academy the 2018 Hart Vision Charter School of the Year (South) award for going above and beyond to create personalized dual-language education programs unique to each student. From conducting home visits with all students to strengthen connections with families and reinforce attention and support, to implementing a unique 90-10 dual-language program in which Spanish is used as the primary language of instruction with English as the secondary, EJE Middle Academy prepares students from diverse backgrounds to achieve success in high school and beyond.

Additional Information:

  • Over 630,000 students attend an estimated 1,275 charter schools in California.
  • 3,000+ conference attendees.
  • More than 160 conference breakout sessions, 57 expo presentations/posters, and more than 300 exhibiting companies.
  • Charter schools are public schools. They are tuition-free and serve all students. Across the state, charter schools are excelling academically.

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About the 25th Annual California Charter Schools Conference
The California Charter Schools Conference inspires academic excellence, operational integrity and unity among charter schools throughout California. The conference is presented by the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA). For more information, please visit www.charterconference.org.

About the California Charter Schools Association
The California Charter Schools Association's vision is to increase student learning by growing the number of families choosing high quality charter public schools so that no child is denied the right to a great public education. Our mission is to ensure a million students attend charter public schools by 2022, with charter public schools outperforming non-charter public schools on every measure. We do this by serving as the advocacy organization that builds the policy environment needed to grow as quickly as possible the number of students attending high quality charter public schools. For more information, please visit our website at www.ccsa.org.