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California Connection boasts 879 students
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About four years ago, the Ripon Unified School District welcomed the California Connections Academy Virtual Charter School to its educational family.

In that time, the online tuition-free K-12 option servicing students in Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara and Stanislaus counties has grown substantially, including a first-year enrollment of a tad under 200, jumping  from 685 in the 2014-15 school year to 879 a year ago.

Some 69 students from the 2015-16 school year received their high school diploma.

That’s according to Richard Savage and Amy Hunt.

He’s the executive director of California Connections Academy @ Ripon while she’s the high school administrator and assistant principal.

They gave their annual report – or in this case, the Year 4 Status – to the school board at Tuesday’s RUSD meeting.

“We work on a shared service model,” said Hunt.

By that, she referred to the Ripon site as being in a partnership with the three other California Connection Academy charter schools – Middletown, Visalia and San Juan Capistrano – using the combined resources while servicing the overall 4,200 students. “The Ripon school was approximately 21 percent of that number,” Hunt added.

Besides the enrollment, the California Connections Academy just received its six-year WASC accreditation while recently started National Honor Society chapters and pioneering the Advancement Via Individual Determination program – better known as AVID, which is dedicated to closing the achievement gap by preparing all students for college and other post secondary opportunities – in the online environment.

Of the 156 credential teachers in the four charter academies, 20 are located in the Ripon area, including Thanette Caseri, who was just named Educator of the Year by the Ripon Chamber of Commerce.

Field trips are optional, Hunt said.

Yet, California Connections Academy @ Ripon had strong turnouts to events such as the museum exhibitions (San Jose Tech and Crocker Art), Dell’Osso Farms, Columbia State Park, Chabot Space Center and the various college campuses (Sac State, University of the Pacific, and UC Berkeley).

Hunt, in addition, said that local charter academy will enter 2016-17 with a budgeted enrollment of 1,100.

She pointed out that the LCAP goals were established by the stakeholders, calling for increased academic performances for all students in Math and English / Language Arts.


To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail