Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts (LFCSA)is a parent-initiated, innovative, non-profit, public elementary school serving a socio-economically, ethnically and linguistically diverse student population. Our mission is to provide a high-quality public education that embraces learning in and through the arts as an integral part of a balanced learning environment.
Recognizing the need for quality elementary education extends well beyond the student population we can serve, LFCSA endeavors to become a model school and training facility for best practices in arts-integrated education and professional development.
Our Core Values:
At LFCSA we are implementing a child-centered model of teaching and learning that is research-based and field validated. Our 14 core design elements reflect the needs and desires of the families we serve in addition to the latest research and best practices of schools that produce students who consistently demonstrate a keen interest in learning, creativity, and community:
- Focus on the whole child – In contrast to curriculum found in a traditional public school setting which stresses teaching and learning in the areas that can be most easily assessed by standardized testing measures, arts-integrated curriculum develops the whole child: kinesthetic, musical, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal and natural intelligences. At LFCSA, we challenge children to construct their own meaning from complex ideas and concepts. Acknowledging that students learn and demonstrate what they know in a variety of ways, our instruction allows children to see, hear, and express according to their individual learning styles.
- Project-based curriculum – Our project-based curriculum is structured to allow students to pursue individual educational goals while at the same time requiring them to collaborate with others on a shared objective. Classroom learning is organized in meaningful, purposeful ways though rich, cross-disciplinary subject matter that corresponds to state standards. Project-based learning helps students develop the character, habits, and skills vital to our 21st century workforce.
- A constructivist approach – Our program provides a constructivist environment that differs from a traditional classroom in that our teachers act as facilitators of learning rather than givers of information. Student questioning is highly valued and encouraged, and deep understanding, not imitative behavior, is the goal.
- Child-centered learning – We believe that differences in the way children learn and the paces at which they learn are natural. An education that benefits all children must be adapted to individual learning styles. Teachers respect these differences, and provide opportunities for students to be active participants in their own learning.
- Learning Through the Arts – The content and skills of dance, music, drama, and visual arts instruction are integrated into other content areas, such as math and language arts. Such integration enhances the learning of all subjects and gives all students meaningful access to the curriculum. While it is important to emphasize that we are not a “performing arts” school, students are encouraged to use their knowledge of the arts to show what they have learned in other content areas.
- Learning In the Arts – The arts disciplines of music, drama, dance, and visual arts are taught and valued as individual subjects. Students receive a minimum of one class per week of standards based instruction in each of these areas. They are taught the discipline and fundamentals of the arts, and they are encouraged to explore their own creative process and various modes of expression. Students show what they have learned by presenting a quality finished project or performance.
- On-going Professional Development – As part of our commitment to creating a professional learning community, our faculty is afforded time within their schedules for individual and group self-reflection, assessment and sharing as a structured and ongoing element of our program. In addition, in-house and off-campus professional developments, combined with classroom observations and coaching by specialists, help teachers to continually assess and refine their practice.
- Diverse assessments that evaluate multiple intelligences – Students demonstrate what they have learned through multiple measures specific to their personal learning style. In many instances, student assessment is designed through teacher collaboration with the individual student.
- Conflict Resolution – Our school is committed to creating a caring community that is safe for learning. We employ Cool Tools, a conflict resolution and mediation program that teaches the use of “tools” for daily personal interactions. These tools are learned and used by the entire school community. They are taught through direct instruction in the classroom, used and reinforced in all aspects of the regular school and after-school programs, and shared at parent workshops.
- Service Learning – Our service learning program is founded on a belief that knowledge acquisition requires authentic context and is facilitated through social interaction. The larger goal of our program, however, is to provide students with interdisciplinary learning experiences that utilize community resources to enhance not only academic achievement and develop creativity, but also to infuse students with a sense of responsible citizenship and service.
- Programs for Special Needs Inclusion – At LFCSA we believe arts integrated instruction, which focuses on the learning styles of individual students, represents the most promising and underutilized avenue for meeting the needs of all students, including those students requiring special education services.
- Technology – LFCSA recognizes that technology and innovation are driving advancement in our society at a faster rate than ever before. Instead of favoring a “business as usual” approach to technology in our classrooms, we believe it is imperative that, as a quality educational institution, we reflect on and embrace evolving technologies and new media outlets by incorporating and leveraging them as vital learning tools in the classroom.
- Authentic Parent Involvement: – Parents and guardians are viewed as partners and their involvement in all facets of school life, from volunteering in the classroom to sharing ideas with school leaders, is valued and encouraged.
- Sustainability – Our goal is to make LFCSA a “carbon neutral” campus by the 2010 school year.