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At a Computer Near You: High School

Families learned about the launch of a mostly online high school, California Preparatory Academy, coming to Capistrano Unified this fall.

Parents of teen-aged traveling athletes, performers or children who simply need additional one-on-one time with their teachers learned Thursday night about a new option for fall: a high school as close as a laptop.

The Capistrano Unified School District is getting set to launch , a mostly online but complete high school, this September.

Although it will start out serving just ninth- and 10th-graders, an introductory meeting attracted 80 families Thursday night at the district's headquarters.  

Cal Prep, they learned, will use a blended learning model, which is a combination of online and in-class courses that will offer a flexible high school education.

As a dress rehearsal, students at are completing a trial run of four online courses to work out any kinks before the school officially starts this fall, said Cal Prep Principal Robert Nye, who previously served as principal at Dana.  

“There are about 75 students doing the pilot at Dana Hills, and we are getting great feedback from them. We expect to enroll about 100 to 200 students next fall,” Nye said.

The school will have two real-world campuses. The primary one will be in a business district in San Juan Capistrano, at 32972 Calle Perfecto. A smaller, satellite location will be at The Shops at Mission Viejo.

“The great thing about Cal Prep is that we have access to all the teachers, which is a fantastic thing,” Nye said.

So far, four are onboard: teachers Katie Nunan, Melissa Cotton, Deborah Marsing and Mike Moore, each with unique, extensive teaching backgrounds, he said.

Parent Kathy Roberts's son fits the profile of a future Cal Prep student.

“Our son acts, so we are looking for more homeschooling options. But, the biggest thing is that he wants to go to [University of California, Irvine] for college, so we want to make sure that will be able to happen,” Roberts said.

Nye said Cal Prep will seek accreditation through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which will then lead to getting classes approved for UC and California State University admission.

The school will also offer honors and Advanced Placement courses. Nye believes Cal Prep graduates will compete well against all other college applicants across the country.

Mom Laura Rubalcara attended Thursday night. She's planning ahead.

“My son is only in fifth grade, but when the time comes for high school, we will definitely look into Cal Prep. I wish it had been an opportunity 35 years ago when I was in school. It seems that there’s a lot of one-on-one attention with the school and the teachers,” Rubalcara said.

All students who attend Cal Prep can also dual enroll in two classes at their home high school if they so choose, Nye said.

While the school is primarily internet-based, Cal Prep does require that students attend the school for a face-to-face environment during science labs and major class exams, Nye explained.

The school will also offer optional subject specific tutorials every week on campus for extra instruction, he added. And if students stay up late at night during off hours doing homework, they will be given a tutoring resource that is available around the clock.

Mother Lorie Jordan and daughter Hailey were impressed. 

“I am really excited. I think I am going to like this a lot better than my previous schools. I just want to be around good people, and I can’t wait to get started here,” said Hailey Jordan. 

Yeparoo May 24, 2013 at 07:18 PM
Now that this school is on the chopping block, does that mean that the proposed STEAM school is nothing but hot air?

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