• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Desert Trails elementary reopens as charter school

July 30, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
An Inland Empire elementary school has reopened as a charter school after parents won a long legal battle to take over the failing school.

Desert Trails Preparatory Academy is now open for business with new teachers and parents who are so excited they had tears in their eyes at parent night.

"Today, the parents of Desert Trails made history by ushering in a new era of parent power," said Ben Austin, Director of Parent Revolution.

They're calling it an educational revolution. For the first time in California history, parents successfully used the state's parent-trigger law. The law allows parent to force reform at a failing school.

"Two years ago, a day like today seemed like an improbable dream," said Austin.

It was a dream that became a reality this week. On Monday, Desert Trails Preparatory Academy opened its doors. The non-profit charter school chosen by the parent union group that lobbied and fought for change.

"Last year, I worried about my children and where they were going to go, worried about what kind of teacher they were going to have, if they were going to have a great teacher," said Bertola del Villar, parent leader of the Desert Trails Parent Union. "This year, when I walked in there, I didn't have to worry."

On Monday, students, parents, and school administrators celebrated and vowed to turn the academically failing school into a success story.

And while the sign outside the school hasn't changed, school administrators say there is a difference.

"That has been our promise and our goal, our No. 1 goal is that we're going to get them the opportunity to exceed all expectations," said Debra Taver, Desert Trails Preparatory Academy Operator.

Cynthia Ramirez is hopeful. She has two children enrolled at the academy and was one of the parents who fought for this day.

"To see these children sitting in class, excited to actually pay attention and be here was showing me already that it's working," said Ramirez.

The first indication that this program will be a success or failure will come later in the year when the test results are released.


Load Comments