Aliso Viejo is welcoming its third charter school, the Community Roots Academy, which just started its first academic year.
Founded by Jeremy Cavallaro and Eve Fein, the school uses interdisciplinary, six-week projects to not only meet state standards but also to teach students skills beyond the classroom.
"We believe a project process shows a whole different set of skills that fosters problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, initiative and articulation of one's ideas," Executive Director of Education Cavallaro said.
He said the curriculum allows the children to see the teachings applied in their own lives.
"We have deliberate connections to the real world," he said. "They're not asking why they're learning it; they see why they're learning it immediately."
As of right now, the school is K-2 but administrators are aiming to make it K-8 within three years, Cavallaro said.
Cavallaro has degrees in history and teaching, and a master's in education leadership from Bankstreet Graduate School in New York City. Fein is co-executive director of business development and has a bachelor's degree from UCLA and a master's in Jewish education from Hebrew Union College. Prior to Community Roots Academy, she worked at the Morasha Jewish Day School in Rancho Santa Margarita.
Cavallaro and Fein live in Aliso Viejo and felt it was the perfect location for the school.
"There was nothing like it in Orange County," he said.
He pointed out that charter schools are free public schools, open to everyone.
"We can't pick and choose," he said. "You can't be denied when you apply."
As of right now, the school has openings in kindergarten and second grade. Enrollment for next year starts in November.
For more information, visit communityrootsacademy.org.