HISTORY OF ROBERT C. FISLER SCHOOL
“If you build it, he will come…. if you build it, they will come.” Shoeless Joe Jackson would have been impressed. The empty lot was nothing more than a seemingly impossible dream, a dustbowl that promised to transform itself into a school fit for the 21st Century’s children. Some said that the creation of Robert C. Fisler School looked more Hollywood than real life, a Field of Dreams that lacked magic of moviemaking.
Enrollment in Southern California Schools was on the decline, and the cost of living seemed to be ever-increasing. Yet, at that particular moment in history, Fullerton decided to build a new school, a school that focused on science and technology. From second grade up, every student in this kindergarten through eighth grade school would have his or her own laptop for use in the classroom and at home. Some called it impossible. No family would want the financial burden, no teacher the challenge of adopting a new approach to instruction.
Yet, on September 2, 2004, they came, by the hundreds, for the first day of school. They came as students, parents, teachers, and administrators. They came for what could have been an opportunity, curiosity, or the belief that dreams do come true… that in a place where an empty lot had once sat, a new school now sparkled and beckoned.
Fisler is a true “Field of Dreams” that continues to grow, not only due to the facility, but primarily due to exemplary academic and extracurricular programs, including high technology integration, hands-on science, arts, P.E., after-school sports, and a strong focus on rigorous standards based and data driven instruction to meet the needs of all learners. Even in the face of deep budgetary cutbacks, Fisler has kept its 1:1 laptop program strong by communicating with parents, establishing a Fisler School Foundation, encouraging fundraising efforts, and advocating technology at the District level.
Indeed, Fisler School has many advocates and learners. Visitors can walk into any classroom at Fisler School and see the mission statement – With a focus on science and technology, all students at Robert C. Fisler School will learn at high levels – displayed on every classroom wall. What’s more exciting, perhaps, is to see the mission in action. “Seamless” is the word most often used – by the monthly worldwide tour groups that come to witness and learn from Fisler’s 1:1 laptop program. While big ideas and research-based strategies provide links across subject areas, technology is the pivotal key that connects everything together. Students are extremely engaged in their own hands-on project-based learning, and they are eager to demonstrate the tools they have used to apply their knowledge and skills by making iMovies, Podcasts on Garage Band, Inspiration brainstorm webs, Pages newsletters, data collection graphs on Numbers, outlines on Notetaker, Proscope scientific investigations, Keynote presentations, and much more.
The results of this technology integration are astounding. Fisler is a California Distinguished School, an Apple Distinguished School, had the 4th highest API (Academic Performance Indicator) in all of Orange County for the 2011-2012 school year, a Gold Ribbon School (2016), and has state scores in the top 1% for ELA and top 5% for math.
Fisler truly is “Field of Dreams” where students push themselves to “go the distance,” a distance that makes every child’s potential a reality… and the school, an inspiration.