Great Valley Academy, the newest charter school in Manteca which opened in August, taught everyone some very important lessons in perseverance, determination, and keeping one’s eye on the prize in 2011
After the school’s charter application was turned down by the Manteca Unified School Board of Trustees the year before, they met another roadblock when they received the same fate four months later, this time from the San Joaquin County Office of Education’s board.
But Dr. Eldon Rosenow, who founded the first Great Valley Academy in Modesto, was not deterred. However, instead of pursuing the application further by going to the California Board of Education, he took his school expansion project to San Joaquin County’s smallest school district – New Jerusalem in Tracy. The result: the four-member New Jerusalem School District board unanimously approved GVA’s application.
With that final hurdle out of the way, Great Valley Academy was able to proceed with the official opening of its doors in August at the facility formerly known as Manteca Christian School that was owned and operated by the Place of Refuge, previously the First Assembly of God. The church made the hard decision to discontinue the school due to the economic downturn and dwindling enrollment. However, the church’s preschool program remains.
Great Valley Academy’s first day of school was Monday, Aug. 15. The newest K-12 campus in Manteca opened with 435 students – 200 were on the waiting list – with a 30-strong school staff that included first Principal Russ Howell, 29 teachers and office staff.
Most of the 435 students were from Manteca, 40 of whom were transfers from the GVA campus in Modesto where they previously attended. The rest came from neighboring communities from Salida to Lodi.
In addition to the regular academic teachers, who were all certified, the Manteca GVA opened with a Spanish teacher, a Physical Education teacher, and a music teacher. Under the school’s curriculum, every grade level class has at least two days of those subjects taught during the week.
GVA is leasing the former Manteca Christian School facility. The private K-8 Christian campus closed its doors after three decades of serving the community. MCS held its last eighth-grade graduation in May with four students in the graduating class.
Besides the Great Valley Academy, New Jerusalem School District also has another charter school under its umbrella, the K-12 Delta Charter School whose enrollment also includes some home-schooled students. GVA in Manteca opened two rooms that are available for New Jerusalem’s hybrid students – those who are home-schooled and studying part-time online at the same time – to meet their teachers, or to use the computers facilities there.