Key Initiatives

Key Initiatives


La Escuela Freire (LEF) was originally conceived to be a charter school located in Santa Ana, California. Currently, however, the board members are in negotiations with a local school district to allow LEF to operate as a school-within-a-school.  By acting in this capacity, LEF will be able to maintain the integrity of its mission as well as promote the philosophies of democratic education at the current high school.  The proposed date for enrollment of 9th grade students is August, 2014.

 LEF's curriculum has been designed to encourage democratic education as well as to allow teachers to focus on more authentic assessments of students' academic progress.  One of the more defining characteristics of the school, however, is the integration of community involvement and civic engagement in the curriculum.  Students will focus on projects of their choice, and will be guided by teachers and community members throughout their four years at LEF to work intimately on matters that concern their community.  The community component is at the heart of the school, based in Freire's belief that education is not only political, but that it can be limiting to the very students for whom it is supposed to be liberating.  By granting the students the freedom to work and improve their community, the system itself no longer has the domineering power that exists in a typical school structure, but is merely a support that aids students.

The structure of LEF is also unique in its desire to create a democratic governance that allows both parents and students, as well as faculty, to develop school policies.  The founding faculty, students and parents will be tasked to create a constitution which will help to guide the school.   Every year this constitution will be revised by the current members of the school in order to ensure that it reflects their needs.

The board members of LEF include Tom Wilson, Ph.D., Chapman University; Pilar O'Cadiz, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine;  Reuben Martinez, Chapman University; Elizabeth Zarkos, Chapman University; Bea Tiritilli; Catalina Olvera, California State University, Fullerton; Lourdes Cruz, California State University, Fullerton.