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Continuous Progress Alternative at Vista Grande

Introduction

The program held at Vista Grande Elementary School is open to all students in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District.  

Philosophy/Program Description

The goal of the Continuous Progress Alternative Program (CPAP) at Vista Grande is to help each student reach his or her potential. Our goals for the program include strategic support and enrichment designed to engage students, support their teachers, and enhance the classroom-learning environment. Active parent participation is a strong component, as is instruction that utilizes whole class, flexible small grouping, and one-on-one instruction.  Academic instruction is based on the traditional district curriculum, and we endeavor to augment with the following enhancements:

 

  • Alternative classes have a lower child to adult ratio, achieved through paid para-professional aides and parent volunteers.  Each class has approximately 24.5 hours per week of para-professional help, including 5 hours of time with a reading aide (grades K-2) or math aide (grades 3-5).
  • Students receive the enrichment of Spanish instruction, beginning in Kindergarten.
  • Students remain together as they transition from grade to grade, facilitating consistency and a deep level of camaraderie in their social and learning environment. 
  • The program relies on active parent participation in and out of the classroom, as well as frequent communication between parents and teachers.

Para-professional support, Spanish instruction and classroom resources targets are based on our ability to fundraise to meet our yearly annual operating budget. Should our fundraising efforts not be sufficient to provide these enhancements, adjustments to the program will be made.

Background

The Continuous Progress Alternative Program (CPAP), located at Vista Grande Elementary School, had a grass roots beginning in the spring of 1984. The Board of Education approved the program, which began in September 1984. The State of California encourages alternative programs according to:  Section 58500 of the Education Code, Alternative Schools, Establishment and Maintenance; Definitions.
The governing board of any school district may establish and maintain one or more alternative schools within the district.
For the purpose of this article, an alternative school is defined as a school or separate class group within a school, which is operated in a manner designated to:

  1. Maximize the opportunity for students to develop the positive values of self-reliance, initiative, kindness, spontaneity, resourcefulness, courage, creativity, responsibility and joy.
  2. Recognize that the best learning takes place when the student learns because of his/her desire to learn.
  3. Maintain a learning situation maximizing student self-motivation and encouraging the students in his/her own time to follow their own interests. These interests may be conceived by him/her totally and independently or may result in whole or in part from a presentation by the teacher of choices of learning projects.
  4. Maximize the opportunity for teachers, parents and students to cooperatively develop the learning process and its subject matter. This opportunity shall be a continuous, permanent process.
  5. Maximize the opportunity for the students, teachers and parents to continuously react to the changing world, including but not limited to the community in which the school is located.

Structure

  • Lower child to adult ratio is achieved through paid para-professionals.  All classes receive 24.5 hours of para-professional time.  19.5 hours of this time is general aide time.  The remaining 5 hours is dedicated support time in Reading (grades K-2) and Math (grades 3-5).  
  • Classes stay together throughout the program. Teachers coordinate students' transition to the next grade.

Content

  • Spanish language enrichment instruction
  • Computer, Art, Science and Music enrichment (funded by PTA voluntary contributions and annual fundraising support)

Strengths

  • Emphasis on parent/teacher/student partnership in education.
  • Parent input through Advisory Board
  • Periodic student led conferences with portfolios and report cards.
  • Participation as one school with Vista Grande traditional program including school library, computer lab, weekly VGTV broadcast, art, science, music, as well as grade level and school-wide activities throughout the year.
  • Program is well established, is staffed by highly experienced teachers in their profession and the program, and has a thirty-year track record of highly engaged and successful students.

What is the Advisory Board?


The Advisory Board is comprised of nine members: seven elected parents, the school principal and one teacher. One teacher representative and at least one parent representative from each class attend monthly meetings of the Advisory Board.

The program is incorporated with the State of California as a non-profit public benefit corporation. The Articles of Incorporation are on file. The program operates under a set of bylaws which are available for review on the CPAP website.

 

Who is eligible?
The program is open to all students within the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. There is no screening process and acceptance is determined solely on a space available basis with priority given to siblings. If necessary, to prevent diversions, priority may be given to Vista Grande resident students.

Attendance at a Parent Information Meeting prior to enrollment is required for all entering students. This ensures that the parents are making an informed judgment as to whether the program is appropriate for their child.

 

How do I apply for the program?

Important: You must complete the entire kindergarten district online enrollment and school site registration process at your resident school.

Download a CPAP application, or pick one up at Parent Information Night or the Vista Grande School office. The Vista Grande office must receive a completed application by March 18, 2016, and a parent must attend Parent Information Night on March 8, 2016 to be eligible for the Kindergarten lottery. Kindergarten applications will be chosen by lottery in late March, and applicants contacted according to the Kindergarten Admission Policy for the program. Applications may be submitted anytime for grades 1 through 5, and will be added to the current waiting list for that class and contacted as space becomes available.

Need more information?

You may contact the Advisory Board via email at vgalternative@gmail.com.