The Fenton Academies are located in Sun Valley, California, a suburb of the city of Los Angeles. The school is located on Sunland Boulevard near the busy intersection of Glenoaks Boulevard, across the street from a strip mall, and on the same side of Sunland Boulevard as a large produce market, a bank, and gas station. The area behind the school is residential with single-family dwellings, a large private school and traditional public school nearby. The schools occupy a 50,000 square foot building, fully renovated to house students in 36 classrooms. Recently, the Fenton organization secured a state bond to lease an adjacent 22,000 square foot building. Design and construction plans for the annex are in progress with the expectation to open during the 2020-2021 school year. The additional space will provide 9 classrooms, a multipurpose room, additional storage and offices, as well as elevator and stair access to a rooftop playground. The total students to be served is 1,128 (47 classrooms at 24 students per room) at full capacity. Both buildings are leased with no plans to relocate either school. As start-up charter schools, interest and choice drive the enrollment and determine the diversity of the population, which does reflect the demographics of the surrounding areas of Sun Valley, Sunland, Tujunga, Shadow Hills and the east San Fernando Valley area in general.
Fenton STEM Academy (STEM) Background
Fenton Charter Public Schools has consistently valued and maintained a strong focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics instruction for the last twenty years. All TK-5th grade educators utilize a rigorous and state adopted curriculum to teach science content on a daily basis. All students benefit greatly from hands-on experiments and working in collaborative groups to solve real life problems. Educators meet biweekly for planning and collaboration purposes, as well as sharing of instructional strategies and best practices. Schoolwide data analysis is ongoing and relevant to instructional practice.
As a result of these efforts, Fenton Charter Public Schools students score significantly higher in science and mathematics as measured on state standardized assessments. Interest in STEM learning and the benefits that an instructional program that fully embraced and integrated STEM into all aspects of the school day led the founders of Fenton Charter Public Schools, Joe Lucente, Board President of Fenton Charter Public Schools, and Irene Sumida, Executive Director of Fenton Charter Public Schools, to consider replication with a focus school centered on STEM learning. The charter petition for the Fenton STEM Academy (STEM) was approved by the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education in June 2013. STEM’s charter was renewed for five additional years during November of 2018 and a material revision was approved during 2019 to expand to 6thgrade beginning August 2020.
The mission of Fenton STEM Academy: Elementary Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math is successful student engagement and achievement through the implementation of a curriculum that interconnects science, technology, engineering, and math across all disciplines, including art, music, language arts and social studies.
All members of Fenton STEM Academy community are responsible for the school-wide vision of the building of partnerships with colleges, universities, aerospace and engineering outreach programs to provide real-world learning experiences, creating the foundation for future pursuit of STEM education which will prepare and inspire generations of learners to meet the challenges of the global society through innovation, collaboration, and creative problem solving.
The students of STEM will actively seek learning opportunities by working cooperatively, thinking critically, and striving to master rigorous academic standards.
The students, parents and employees of STEM will collaboratively establish and model the highest standards for student achievement, positive self-esteem, pro-social values, and respect for cultural diversity.
The employees of STEM will demonstrate their belief in the value of lifelong learning and model the appropriate and desired behaviors and attitudes expected of students.
The STEM community will work cooperatively and collaboratively to create a child-centered environment in which all partners are empowered by their own sense of ownership and responsibility to the Charter School.
The STEM community and partners will maintain the highest level of integrity in fiscal management while seeking all available resources and using them effectively to support the instructional program.