Mission & Vision
Our mission at Vista Condor Global Academy is to create a transformative K-5 learning experience that is engaging, culturally and socially relevant, and globally oriented, and builds a strong STEM foundation for college and career readiness. We aim to provide a quality education for all students by focusing on both heart and mind, creating a compassionate global learning community that involves students in their development of the knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviors, aspirations, and beliefs needed to be successful academically and globally competent with the scientific and technical skills to both compete in and humanely serve an ever-increasing interdependent international world.
Vista Condor Global Academy is deeply committed to closing the achievement gap for low-income and historically underserved students and to address the growing opportunity gap created by what American schools traditionally teach by providing a relevant education that develops the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required for college readiness and full participation in a modern global economy. Students with global competence as well as a strong technological foundation are able to investigate the world beyond their immediate environment and conduct well-crafted and age-appropriate research, recognize divergent perspectives, including their own and those of others, communicate their ideas effectively, and, most importantly, take action to improve their own conditions and those affecting the world around them. At VCGA, we strive to create a learning environment in which students have a say in what they learn and how they learn it, apply knowledge and skills to authentic and every-day tasks that have local and global significance, and have myriad opportunities to exhibit their mastery to a real-world audience. Most importantly, VCGA envisions a school where students enter to learn but leave ready to serve the world through a deeper understanding of their role in bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on our planet.
Developed at the turn of the 20th century, our current educational system was designed to meet the needs of the industrial revolution, with its emphasis on factory and assembly-line production jobs. Unfortunately, a person time-traveling from 1917 to 2017 would feel too much at home, too familiar with the classroom culture at many schools across California and our nation. Too many students are still asked to sit quietly for six hours each day, as their teacher's lecture or they are asked to work silently on isolated skills and have faith that these will somehow be relevant in their adult lives.
This pedagogical style may have been appropriate when our country needed workers able to do the same task, over and over, on one part that would eventually be one piece of a car, boat, or machine. Those jobs met the needs of an industry-based society; workers today need the technical skills to manage—and succeed—in an increasingly complicated high-tech and automated world. On a daily basis, the media reports on the effects of this new economy and what it means to be a qualified worker today. Workers in traditional occupations are experiencing some of the most profound impacts, as car manufacturing plants, factories, and coal mines close, giving way to innovations in manufacturing and energy development. A 2013 Oxford University study predicted that roughly 700 common jobs are susceptible to future automation. A very recent study out of University of Redlands’s Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis showed that approximately 60% of the Southern California workforce is vulnerable to being replaced by automation in the next 10 to 20 years, just as our current kindergarten students will be entering the working world. Not all jobs are equally under threat. Jobs that have a lower risk of future automation are in health care, social services, management, entrepreneurship, the technology sector, and others that require more human interactions, communication, and sophisticated technical and reasoning skills. It is irrefutable that the world around us is rapidly evolving-- and so must our schools.
Mastery of standardized tests and traditional approaches to the acquisition of knowledge are not sufficient for today’s youth. With an ever-widening opportunity gap preventing children from contributing meaningfully in today’s society and economy, we must step back and reassess both how children learn and the environments that best nurture learning. Schools with experiential and hands-on learning models – that is, where students are building the independence to think deeply, test ideas, solve problems, and reflect on their own learning and growth– are teaching us something profound about student learning and potential. Determining how we transform our public schools to meet a more expansive and necessary set of expectations for all students is critical. It is increasingly clear that both academic and life success in the 21st century demands the development of deeper learning, cultural competency, and social-emotional skills that develop both our humanity and our career-readiness skills.
At Vista Condor Global Academy, we believe that students should be educated in a way that prepares them to be adaptable, creative, critical thinkers; be equipped with the basic attributes and technological skills that will allow them to pursue current innovative occupations; and be nimble enough to take opportunities that may not even exist yet. Vista Condor Global Academy’s unique educational approach combines teaching global competencies in tandem with a STEAM curriculum, thus providing our students both the social capital and technological skills to ethically compete in a global economy.
Vista Condor Global Academy will demonstrate what is possible when we design and implement learning models that reflect the needs of our students in a quickly changing world. To address the obstacles preventing children from contributing compassionately and meaningfully in today’s society and economy, VCGA will provide a STEAM education and follow the International Studies School model –according to which students build the independence to think deeply, test ideas, solve problems and reflect on their own learning and growth. In many ways, the school will be a supplemental learning lab for Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD), incubating and testing new ideas; learning rapidly, and sharing our lessons of both success and areas for improvement. VCGA will go beyond a mastery of standardized tests and traditional approaches to meet a more expansive yet necessary set of expectations for all students to foster deeper learning, cultural competency, and social-emotional skills. SAUSD has put forth its seven building blocks of success and a bold mission “to ensure well-rounded learning experiences, which prepare our students for success in college and career. To engage, inspire, and challenge all students to become productive citizens, ethical leaders, and positive contributors to the community, country, and a global society.” VCGA will exemplify these goals and is uniquely positioned to quickly prototype and intensively collaborate with schools throughout the District. We intend, within our program, to support these goals as much as possible. Together, we will forge a new path for children in the District, and in all of Orange County.
Vista Condor Global Academy will support the specific goals of the District in the following ways:
VCGA’s educational program will be rigorous and will encompass all required state standards. Each student will have an individual learning plan, created by the teacher and shared with the parents, to ensure that he or she is meeting or exceeding the minimum standards in language arts, mathematics, science, social science, and the arts. We are committed to exceeding the California State Standards, including the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards.
Comprehensive Accountability: Assess student learning to inform practice and monitor implementation of best practices.
VCGA will use Roadmap to Rigor Workshops, curricular maps that guide standards-based instruction. Students will be assessed through a learning management system that teachers and administrators will create and administer. The results which will drive instruction, and determine any needs for support or intervention. Teachers will review their students’ scores, meet with administration to review the results, and together will determine what the next steps of action may be.
VCGA will be a school founded with a global and multi-cultural spirit that addresses the social and emotional needs of the whole child. The school will celebrate diversity and our humanity through a deep commitment to the Way of Council and Restorative Justice principles, as outlined in this petition, to ensure that students learn to speak and listen from the heart and see the humanity in themselves and each other. We will further this focus by incorporating activities and lessons that will help students understand the world around them. These lessons and activities will include guest speakers, demonstrations, and field trips, when and where appropriate.
VCGA is part of the larger team of Vista Charter Public Schools (VCPS), which has a strong history of fiscal responsibility, providing rich resources to ensure student learning. VCPS employs a full-time Chief Business Officer, who serves to develop sound fiscal policies, monitors all fiscal obligations, and helps principals create budgets that drive instruction.
VCPS believes that clear and transparent communication is critical, and therefore provides all of its schools with multiple tools to meet the needs and desires of all stakeholders. VCGA will have and use a regularly updated website, a learning management system, Class Dojo, home visits, newsletters, parent and community events, student-led conferences, text messaging, and phone calls. All teachers and administrators will have an open-door policy and are required to return calls or emails within 24 hours.
Family involvement is a crucial element of the VCGS experience. VCGS collaborates with students and families by providing guidance and fostering the development of home-to-school relationships, facilitating regular involvement with their child’s learning plan, and strengthening parenting support and skills. Parents are encouraged to be active school advocates, volunteers, and leaders. Parents who need additional assistance are provided with or directed to, additional resources within the school and community in order to fulfill areas of need (e.g., ESL classes, parenting classes, counseling services, job centers, etc.).
Teacher professional development will be a high priority at VCGA. Teacher teams will dedicate time to develop curriculum, look at student work, and refine their teaching practice together. VCPS has on-going and strong relationships with Kagan, The Ojai Foundation’s Council in Schools (CIS) program, Literacy Partners workshop model, Pearson, and many other organizations that will provide professional development opportunities for VCGA teachers and support staff. Importantly, VCGA looks forward to working with Santa Ana Unified and sharing expertise in exciting and innovative programs.
Vista Condor Global Academy is committed to supporting the vision, mission, and seven building blocks of SAUSD. However, we aspire to use the unique autonomies provided to charters to innovate beyond these structures, to learn from both our successes and failures and to work collaboratively with SAUSD for the benefit of all Santa Ana students and families.