What is CHIME?
started as a model demonstration project funded by the U.S.
Department of Education. Originally, it was known as the
Children's Center Handicapped Integration Model Educational
(CCHIME) Project and its goal was to develop an effective
model for providing special educational services at an
existing child development program. The CCHIME Project was
housed at the Associated Students/Children's Center at
California State University, Northridge (CSUN), and funded
for a three-year period from October 1987 through September
Institute was established by Claire Cavallaro and Michele
Haney, professors of in the Special Education Program at the
CSUN College of Education, as a private nonprofit
corporation in August 1990 to continue the work of the
CCHIME Project using local funds. Its Preschool Inclusion
Program was started at that time serving children from 3 to
6 years of age at the campus of California State University,
Northridge. The CHIME Infant and Toddler Program established
in 1991, serves children from birth through age 3 and their
families. The CHIME Charter Elementary School was
established in fall 2001 and serves children from
kindergarten through 5th grade. The CHIME Charter Middle
School opened fall 2003 serving students in 6th to 8th grade
in fall 2004. The CHIME Institute is overseen by a Board of
Directors comprised of CSUN faculty, parents, and community
members. In 2010, the elementary and middle schools
were combined into one K-8 model and renamed CHIME
Institute's Schwarzenegger Community School.
What is the Need for CHIME Educational Programs?
Demonstration sites where best educational practices in
early intervention and inclusive learning communities of
students, with some students in each class receiving special
education services alongside their typically developing and
gifted peers, are needed for further research and training.
What is unique about the CHIME Infant and Toddler
is unique in its provision of transdisciplinary;
developmentally appropriate early intervention programs in
community and home settings. A team of professional staff
including credentialed early intervention specialists
(special education teachers), speech and language
pathologist and physical therapist provide multidisciplinary
assessment, program planning, and evaluation.
What is unique about the CHIME Preschool Inclusion
Preschool and Kindergarten Inclusion Program is unique in
its provision of a transdisciplinary, developmentally
appropriate program, special education services and support
for inclusion in a general education setting. The program
operates at the CSUN Child and Family Studies Center, a
demonstration and research site.
What is unique about the CHIME Institute's Schwarzenegger Community School?
Chime Institute's Schwarzenegger Community School
is a multi-cultural school dedicated to
meeting and exceeding California content standards by
emphasizing each students’ strengths and accommodating
different learning needs. We are an inclusive community with
fully credentialed teachers and a collaborative approach
which teams parents, teachers, CSUN faculty and CSUN
students to best meet the needs of all students in the
general education environment.
What is a charter school?
school is a tuition free, nonsectarian public school of
choice that operates independently, with freedom from many
of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools.
The "charter" establishing each such school is a performance
contract detailing the school's mission, program, goals,
students served, methods of assessment, and ways to measure
success. A charter school is usually able to hire its own
staff but can be closed for failure to meet its promises
regarding student performance or for financial
What are charter schools like?
schools are public schools of choice, meaning teachers and
students choose them, and are very diverse. They operate
with freedom from many regulations that apply to traditional
public schools: some emphasize college prep; others feature
science, technology or performing arts.
schools generally offer teachers, families, and students
more authority to make decisions than most traditional
public schools. Instead of being accountable for compliance
with rules and regulations, they are accountable for
academic results and for upholding their charter.
inclusion programs at CHIME Charter Schools use a
co-teaching model between general and special education
teachers that not only meet the learning needs of students
with disabilities, but also provide for richer and more
active learning experiences for typically developing and
gifted students. At the heart of our community culture is
academic excellence paired with understanding and tolerance
of diversity and the development of social consciousness.
Our schools are proof that students from any background can
succeed as long as they have a committed teaching staff that
is empowered to make a difference for the students they
Who authorizes charter schools?
from state to state, depending on the state’s charter law.
In California there are three types of authorizers: the
governing board of the school districts, county boards of
education, or the state board. Generally there are four
types of entities allowed to authorize charter schools: the
local school board, state universities, community colleges,
and the state board of education.
Charter Elementary School was last approved by the LAUSD
Board of Education in 2006 for a five-year renewal. The
CHIME Charter Middle School was approved by the LAUSD Board
of Education in July 2008 for a five-year renewal. CHIME
Institute has now been successfully before the LAUSD Board
four times in submitting charter petitions for approval.
Are students in charter schools being well educated?
shows charter schools do a better job increasing student
achievement than traditional public schools. Charter
schools are typically approved for periods from 3-5 years.
At the end of the term, the entity granting the charter may
renew the school's contract. Charter schools are accountable
to their sponsor-usually a state or local school board-to
produce positive academic results and adhere to the charter
contract. The basic concept of charter schools is that they
exercise increased autonomy in return for this
accountability. They are accountable for both academic
results and fiscal practices to several groups: the sponsor
that grants them, the parents who choose them, and the
public that funds them.
schools are held accountable for the performance of their
students on statewide standard tests and are ranked
according to the Academic Performance Index (API). Charter
school students must also make adequate yearly progress (AYP),
based on test scores, under the federal No Child Left Behind
How are students selected to attend a charter
schools are tuition free, nonsectarian, public schools and
therefore cannot charge tuition or discriminate against any
students based on ethnicity, national origin, and gender,
religion, or disability.
charter schools, because the demand exceeds capacity, a
public lottery is held in the spring for the upcoming year’s
How long has California had charter schools?
was the second state in the nation to enact charter school
legislation. Presently, there are 687 charter schools
serving 240,000 charter school students in California and
over the past 10 years, charter schools have consistently
grown by an average of 50 schools a year.
Elementary School was established in 2001 and the Middle
School in 2003.
Who can start a charter school?
community leaders, businesses, educators, school districts,
and municipalities can submit a charter school proposal to
their state's charter authorizing entity. Nonprofit and
for-profit organizations, universities, or other agencies
may operate these schools.
creation of a charter begins with a petition that contains
16 elements, including a description of the school
structure, expectations for students’ performance and
procedures for evaluation. A school community can decide to
turn its regular public school into a charter. These
“conversion schools” make up about 30% of all charter
schools in California. “Start-up” charter schools are
developed from scratch.
Elementary and Middle Charter Schools are “start-up” schools
developed by a group of CSUN faculty, educators, and
Who attends charter schools? Whom do they serve?
students in charter schools have similar demographic
characteristics to students in all public schools. In some
states charter schools serve significantly higher
percentages of minority or economically disadvantaged
students than the traditional public schools.
Charter Schools students from a variety of ethnic and
cultural backgrounds and a large geographical area (more
than 30 different zip codes represented) are being served
including 12% of English Language Learners at the Elementary
School and 5% at the Middle School.
How are charter schools funded?
schools, charters are not allowed to charge tuition, and
they are funded according to enrollment on a per-pupil
basis. In some states, such as Alaska, Colorado, Minnesota,
and New Jersey, they receive less than 100% of the funds
allocated to their traditional counterparts for the
operation of public schools. In other states, like
California, additional funds or loans are made available to
them. In most states, charters do not receive capital funds
for facilities. They are entitled to federal categorical
funding for which their students are eligible, such as Title
I and Special Education monies. Federal legislation provides
grants to help charters with start-up costs.
Who governs charter schools?
schools are required to consult regularly with parents and
teachers about their educational program but vary widely as
to a governing body. An increasing number of charters are
organized as or operated by nonprofit corporations with
independent governing boards.
Charter Schools are overseen by the CHIME Institute Board of
Directors, composed of CSUN faculty, community members and
What about facilities for charter schools?
district must make facilities available for charter schools
operating in the district and serving a minimum of 80
district students. The space must be adequate to
accommodate students. In practice, many charter schools
have yet to receive facilities from districts under these
new laws, and facilities can be an extra burden for many
What are the advantages and disadvantages of charter
body of research shows charter schools do a better job
increasing student achievement than traditional public
schools because they can be highly responsive to students
needs. However, most charter schools are new and relatively
say that charter schools expand families’ choices, encourage
involvement from parents, and increase teacher satisfaction
because they are allowed more freedom and creativity and
have a say in the school’s operation. Charter schools are
generally smaller, less bureaucratic, and have more
flexibility in meeting student needs.
charter schools, which are sometimes governed by people with
little experience in education, may not be properly
monitored. They point out that a few charters have failed,
and that teachers in charters are more likely to be new to
the profession. In addition, if charter schools are
smaller, they may not be able to offer the wider range of
course selection and activities seen in traditional schools.
charter school is unique and therefore it is important for
any family considering enrolling their child in a charter
school to research the experience of the school leaders, the
credentials and training of the teachers, the program and
curriculum offered, and the school’s academic success
including the dedication and enthusiasm for learning of its