REALMS charter school receives $600K grant

Ridgecrest Elementary Academy for Language, Music, and Science (REALMS) announced today that the public charter school has been awarded a grant from the California Department of Education (CDE) in the amount of $600,000. The Public Charter Schools Grant Program assists by providing operating capital to assist in establishing high quality, high performing charter school operations for California students and their families.

REALMS was established in 2019 to help serve the educational needs of students in and around Ridgecrest. The school is one of only a dozen public charter schools operated in Kern County. REALMS draws students throughout Ridgecrest, Inyokern and the county with poverty rates of 33.5 and 19.9 and unemployment rates of 20+. Only one other Charter School is located in the eastern part of the county.

“REALMS takes pride in the fact that ALL students receive instruction in STEM and music education, in addition to grade level core curriculum content,” said Miriam Hogg, CEO of REALMS. “This grant comes at the right time and will support the launch of our Foreign Language Program, support our budding Music Program, and support teacher recruitment and professional development.”

The three-year grant will specifically augment several initiatives:

STEM Program

Ridgecrest is located in the Indian Wells Valley two hours away from the county seat in Bakersfield and two hours north of Los Angeles. Relatively isolated at the base of the Eastern Sierras, its major industry is the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. NAWS China Lake provides and maintains land, facilities and other assets that support the Navy’s research, development, acquisition, testing and evaluation of cutting-edge weapons systems for the warfighter. This Department of Defense facility is mainly staffed by civilian scientists, engineers and technicians supported by the military. REALMS’ focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) is a perfect fit for our community.

REALMS has built foreign language instruction into its charter and will begin implementation of Spanish through a virtual program called “Rosetta Stone.” All staff will be provided with Rosetta Stone licenses and will be eligible for a stipend.

Music has been shown to improve student achievement. Albright (2012) found that students who engage in music exhibit improved cognitive development, especially in Math. Students in high-quality school music programs score higher on standardized tests compared to students in schools with deficient music education programs, regardless of the socioeconomic level of the school or school district. Numerous studies also show that using music as a backdrop alone can cause benefits such as positive mindset, reduce stress and improving memory. REALMS recently hired a Music Consultant to lay the foundation for the program and has instructional options for the classroom. Students will learn how to play wind and brass instruments including recorders, violins, the xylophone, hand drums, the saxophone and the ukulele.

REALMS has begun the process of developing students’ social skills through Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (“PBIS”) as well as Anchor for Life, a program designed to support military connected students. The staff is committed to teaching and practicing personal responsibility habits with REALM students.

The grant will enhance and continue to build the uniqueness of REALMS’ educational programs and make REALMS stand out even more among any competition in and outside Kern County. REALMS educates a significant student population that has struggled in a traditional school setting.

REALMS defines its greatest continuing needs to be in the following areas: early literacy, reading comprehension, mathematics, and behavior supports. In order to meet the needs of its students, REALMS offers a balanced TK-6 educational program with strong emphasis in English, Language Arts, History, Math, Science and significant enrichment as a vehicle for students’ motivation, applied learning and deeper understanding delivered through STEM, Music and Foreign Language.

Story First Published: 2021-06-25