A charter school offering a new model for community-based learning

Camino Nuevo Charter Academy is a community-based charter elementary school in a repurposed mini-mall in the MacArthur Park section of Los Angeles. It is one of four schools founded by a community developer, Pueblo Nuevo Development Corporation, and is one component of a community revitalization project for the MacArthur Park neighborhood. The school pairs increased parent involvement with assistance and social services to meet the needs of a highly diverse and impoverished inner-city community.

The Camino Nuevo Charter Academy is an important community center, providing a reason for families to remain in what has been a highly transitional neighborhood.

2003 Selection Committee

Built by a community development corporation working with the Los Angeles Unified School District, Camino Nuevo exemplifies reuse of a commonplace urban resource, transforming an abandoned mini-mall into a safe and supportive learning environment. A new model of public-private partnership, the project was recognized for its grassroots beginnings; its ambitious and complex agenda including education, job training, and other social services; and its outstanding architectural excellence. The school has enormous potential to provide opportunity and change lives and serves as a stabilizing and energizing force in the district.