R.H. Dana Elementary School in Dana Point is among a group of CUSD schools transitioning to specialized, academy-style focused education. Photo: Eric Heinz
R.H. Dana Elementary School in Dana Point is among a group of CUSD schools transitioning to specialized, academy-style focused education. Photo: Eric Heinz

By Allison Jarrell

A group of local elementary schools are getting an educational makeover, following what Capistrano Unified School District is calling an “elementary schools reimagining process.” Principals from seven elementary schools, including R.H. Dana, attended the CUSD Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday night to present their school’s new educational focus.

District staff said the reimagining process began by engaging stakeholders to determine each school’s educational focus and creating “three-year blueprints for implementation, a list of priority needs and a brand promise for the launch of their re-imagined school.”

Vital told the board that the process came from challenging conversations this year about how to reinvigorate under-enrolled schools in the district. She said the district believes investing in these schools will result in more families choosing these programs and returning to their neighborhood schools.

Local schools and their new focus include:

R.H. Dana Elementary School – Science and Technology
Del Obispo Elementary School – College and Career Readiness/AVID
Kinoshita Elementary School – College and Career Readiness/AVID
Lobo Elementary School – STEAM
Marblehead Elementary School – Environmental Studies

R.H. Dana Principal Christina Portillo said the new R.H. Dana Science and Technology Academy will offer “a next generation science standards education, with a state-of-the-art technology experience.”

“Through our one-on-one laptop Chromebook program, students will be engaged in a highly interactive environment that focuses on critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration,” Portillo said.

The district’s policy regarding renaming the schools and potentially adding the word “academy” will go before the board on May 11.

To follow the schools’ progress on social media, search for @CapoForward on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. R.H. Dana is specifically using @stardanacademy on Twitter and Instagram.

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