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First-year opportunities include Steampunk Symposium, all-school musical “Pippin,” Master Artist Series, FUSION and Descanso Gardens “Enchanted: Forest of Light”

Duarte, Calif.—Aug. 8, 2017—California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley (CSArts-SGV), a new public charter school offering unparalleled opportunities for middle and high school students passionate about the arts, opens with the first day of school on Tuesday, Aug. 14. Since June 30, 2016, when the Duarte Unified School District (DUSD) School Board unanimously approved the charter, CSArts-SGV has accepted more than 700 students in grades seven through 11 (next year will expand to include grade 12).

Approximately 66% of enrolled students reside in San Gabriel Valley, with others traveling from Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties, among other locations. CSArts-SGV’s mission is to provide a creative, challenging, and nurturing environment that offers bright and talented students a rigorous college-preparatory academic program and pre-professional arts conservatory training. This new school is modeled after one of the premier arts schools in the nation, Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA), which has a 31-year history of providing innovative and award-winning arts and academic programs.

To celebrate the students during this inaugural year, CSArts-SGV is hosting Welcome Week Aug. 14-18, which includes first-day donuts and pizza, team building in “family” groups and by conservatory, activities and scavenger hunts, and culminates in a Welcome Week Festival on Friday, Aug. 18, at 1:30 p.m. On this day, students, parents, faculty and community members will enjoy food trucks, games, a dunk tank and a DJ on the quad, and have the opportunity to tour campus and speak with conservatory directors and faculty. The campus is located at 1401 Highland Avenue, Duarte, Calif.

“For years I’ve dreamed of serving more students who have a passion for the arts,” said Dr. Ralph Opacic, founder and executive director of Orange County School of the Arts and chief executive officer of California School of the Arts. “Our partnership with the Duarte Unified School District has created an opportunity to provide the San Gabriel Valley and surrounding communities with the same quality academic and arts instruction, unique school culture and unparalleled value that we have established at Orange County School of the Arts over the past 31 years.”

High school students receive approximately five hours of academic instruction on campus per day, consisting of three 90-minute classes and a 30-minute tutorial block. College preparatory, honors and advanced placement courses are offered and each class has a small student / teacher ratio of 30-to-1. All academic faculty members are fully credentialed and the majority hold advanced degrees. Middle school students take their academic classes through the Duarte Unified School District, while completing their school-day at the CSArts-SGV campus in their conservatory classes.

“Our rigorous arts and academic programs work hand-in-hand to develop students into well-rounded individuals,” says Principal William Wallace, Ed.D. “Upon graduation, CSArts-SGV students will be prepared to excel in college and pursue any career of their choosing.”

All students have the opportunity to enroll in one of 10 arts conservatories offered including acting, classical & contemporary dance, commercial dance, creative writing, instrumental music, integrated arts, musical theatre, production & design, visual arts and vocal arts. The arts conservatory programs have a small student / teacher ratio of approximately 20-to-1.

Dean of Arts Abbe Levine adds: “The study and practice of an art form teaches students creative thinking, discipline, teamwork and self-expression among other skills that are essential to success in any career. In addition, our high-caliber artistic instruction and pre-professional training also prepares students to pursue careers as professional artists.”

Exciting learning and performance opportunities are in the works for the 2017-18 school year. To kick off the year, two creators of the science fiction genre steampunk, Tim Powers and Jim Blaylock, lead a school-wide symposium, which sets the stage for several steampunk-themed fall performances/presentations across multiple conservatories, including a visual art show and the all-school musical, “Pippin,” which will be designed with a steampunk aesthetic. A cross-disciplinary Master Artist Series brings nationally renowned guest artists and master teachers to provide extraordinary learning opportunities for students. Through a partnership with Descanso Gardens, students perform at the lauded “Enchanted: Forest of Light.” Students may also audition to join FUSION, a cross-departmental performance group comprised of aspiring young artists who rehearse for and perform at on- and off-campus events.

CSArts-SGV was established in 2016 by the California School of the Arts Foundation, a non-profit organization being established to operate a network of high achieving, comprehensive public arts charter schools, modeled after the nationally recognized Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA). CSArts-SGV is a tuition-free, donation dependent program. For more information, visit