The CHIME Institute’s Schwarzenegger Community School has been named a 2016 Hart Vision Charter School of the Year by the California Charter Schools Association. This is the second time CHIME has received this honor.
Association officials made the announcement last month at its annual conference in Long Beach. In making the announcement, the officials noted that CHIME “operates on the credo that everyone can learn in the same classroom at the same time.”
“The innovation of CHIME’s approach has been replicated in hundreds of charter schools across the state with great special education programs that serve thousands of students,” they said. “The school serves as a model for educators through its partnership with [California State University, Northridge’s] Michael D. Eisner College of Education and the Los Angeles Unified School District.”
Erin Studer, CHIME’s executive director of charter school programs, said the school’s teachers and staff were humbled by the recognition.
“It is such a tremendous honor for CHIME to receive this award,” he said. “It is a testament to the hard work of our teachers, staff and students to create a model school where all students can thrive. Our ability to bring together a community of families, as well as partner with CSUN, to provide a high-quality national model of inclusive education and teacher training makes CHIME an incredibly special place.”
Located in Woodland Hills, the school serves approximately 740 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. CHIME’s research-based educational approaches also provide a learning environment for student-teachers, fieldwork students and educators from around the world who visit the school to learn more about its innovative, inclusive environment.
This is the second time the California Charter Schools Association has named CHIME a California Charter School of the Year. The first time was in 2005.
Michael Spagna, dean of CSUN’s Eisner College, said CHIME “rightfully deserves to be called Charter School of the Year.”
“We continue to be exceptionally proud of our association and collaboration with CHIME,” Spagna said. “It truly has become a beacon nationwide, in terms of inclusive education. It is nice to see that a true model of what a charter school should be is receiving recognition. CHIME is truly an incubator of change, and I encourage educators across the country to visit CHIME, learn about how it does what it does and apply what they learn in their own schools.”
Established in 1990, the CHIME Institute is a national leader in developing and implementing model educational programs and dynamic research and training environments to disseminate best practices in inclusive education. The institute’s research and training center is housed in the Eisner College.
The institute began with an early childhood education program housed on the CSUN campus. The success of that program, coupled with the needs of the community and sound research, prompted a group of parents and CSUN faculty to develop a public charter elementary school in 2001 and a public charter middle school in 2003. The two schools merged into a K-8 school in 2010.
Inclusive education at CHIME means that children who reflect the demographics of the surrounding regions learn side by side. CHIME’s model allows for the individual needs of each child to be addressed in a manner that enhances each child’s strength, while also providing educational progress.
CHIME also serves as a model for educators through its partnerships with the Eisner College and the Los Angeles Unified School District. It facilitates research opportunities and regularly hosts visitors from around the United States and the world who are interested in replicating its successes in their own schools. The institute has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a model for full inclusion of students with disabilities and for providing a blueprint for local schools across the country.
In addition to being named a California Charter School of the Year twice, CHIME also was given a Grazer Outstanding Achievement Award in Learning by the state’s Department of Education in 2013.
For more information about the CHIME Institute, call (818) 677-4979 or (818) 346-5200, or visit its website at www.chimeinstitute.org.