Now beginning its third year as a dependent charter school within the Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD), Cielo Vista Charter School is emphasizing community service in its curriculum. Lead by 28 highly regarded teachers and a principal that once attended the elementary school before its charter status, Cielo Vista has partnerships that include Mizell Senior Center and Well in the Desert. Several ongoing programs aim to teach students the attributes of a good citizen and instill a service ethic at an early age.
The partnership with Mizell Senior Center started last fall when 5th and 6th grade students began writing letters and designing greeting cards for homebound seniors served by the Meals on Wheels program. The effort received recognition from the Auen Foundation, which provided funding to expand the intergenerational program. Now Mizell Senior Center and Cielo Vista Charter School exchange tutoring services – the seniors from the center help kids at Cielo Vista Charter with math and reading, and students from the school teach center members about new technology including Apple computer products, software and new ways to communicate through the Internet.
“Including community service is important to our philosophies as a charter school,” said Lynda Lake, Cielo Vista Charter School principal. “All year our teachers are emphasizing our ‘Character Counts’ pillars, which we say our school is built on. They are Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.”
Last spring an original musical that highlighted these values was written by teachers and parents from Cielo Vista Charter and produced with the assistance of volunteers from the Mizell Senior Center. The performance included more than 200 elementary students, K-6th grade. Volunteers from Mizell Senior Center assisted with behind the scenes efforts and as ushers.
“This community partnership is inspiring both the students and the adults who are collaborating on projects and communicating through letters. Intergenerational programs expand the day-to-day ‘worlds’ people live in and help them see things from a new perspective,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director for the Auen Foundation.
Students at Cielo Vista Charter School have also been supporting Well in the Desert with canned food drives the last two years. This year, the school will extend its collection drives to include items that are specifically tailored to Well in the Desert clients’ needs, such as toiletries and blankets.
“Cielo Vista Charter is instilling in children at an early age the importance of helping others,” said Arlene Rosenthal, President of Well in the Desert. “We are losing that in our society, so it is impressive that a secular school community is will making this effort.”
This partnership is also expanding the awareness of world hunger through a new collaborative effort — World Food Day. Partnering with Well in the Desert, Cielo Vista Charter School will hold a public festival on October 12 from 5-8 p.m. The event will include a farmers’ market and a variety of dinner fare and family activities. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Well in the Desert and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, which launched World Food Day in 1979 to bring awareness to hunger across the globe.
For more information about the collaborative events and community service at Cielo Vista Charter School call 760-416-8250.
Cielo Vista Charter School
650 S. Paseo Dorotea
Palm Springs, California 92264
Regular School Hours:
CVC operates on a 2-1-2 instructional schedule
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday,Friday
8 a.m.-3 p.m.,
Wednesday (Minimum Day)
8 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
(Kindergarten is dismissed 15-minutes before 1st-8th grades)
Administration Office Hours:
Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m.
Phone: (760) 416-8250
Fax: (760) 416-8253
Cielo Vista Parent Teacher Group