Amber Raskin and Dawn Evenson, co founders of Santa Clarita Valley International (SCVi) Charter School located in northern Los Angeles County. These two women are driven moms who wanted an educational choice for parents in the area. So, four years ago they created SCVi, which has grown from humble beginnings to now serving more than 700 students in kindergarten through tenth grade. They’re adding eleventh and twelfth grades in fall of 2012 and 2013, respectively. Now, Dawn and Amber are forming another charter school in Lancaster, Calif., located in north-eastern Los Angeles County. That school is set to open this fall.
The school takes a very unique approach to education weaving technology and projects into everything the students do. Foreign language is taught to every grade. Art is integrated into all aspects of the program because they believe that art supports executive functioning skills. The school’s philosophy is to teach to the “whole child,” which includes social-emotional development, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and more. SCVi strives to break down the barriers between the community and the school and make them one. The students go on many field trips to get hands-on experience in the things they’re learning about in the classroom.
Amber Raskin now serves as the schools executive director of business development. Her background is not in education, but in television production. The idea for the school began when Amber’s daughter was attending the local public school, which has consistently high test scores and a stellar reputation. Amber realized that the school was not a good match for her sensitive and creative child, which made her question the traditional educational model and begin to seek other options. Realizing there weren’t any that seemed to a fit for either of her two kids, she immersed herself in a quest to find a solution, which ultimately led her to applying for and getting a charter for SCVi.
Along that journey, Amber met Dawn, whose extensive background in education provided a great complement to Amber’s vision. Dawn was a school administrator for ten years and had been in the classroom for more than a decade before that. She is a strong proponent of project-based learning. She currently serves as SCVi’s executive director of education and is spear-heading the effort to open the newest school, called iLEAD Lancaster Charter School.
Visit Santa Clarita Valley International (SCVi) Charter School for more information.