AGUA DULCE, Calif. — Playing at the park and being around other children is something Roseline says her 5-year old daughter loves to do. So when she started kindergarten, Roseline thought she'd fit right in at her new school. But instead, the little girl said she just wanted to be home with her mommy, and she was crying. 

Spectrum News is only using Roseline's first name to protect her family's identity. When she asked her daughter why she was upset, "she just said everybody looks different than I do," the little girl responded.

What You Need To Know

  • Eagle Collegiate Academy is a new charter school in Agua Dulce

  • The school founder is a former LAUSD Administrator

  • The school fought to open for four years and got approval from the California State Board of education

  • They are currently online but are waiting for the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning to set up their modular classrooms on the site

That lack of diversity also leads to other issues for Roseline's daughter. For example, children trying to touch the girl's hair.

Roseline said her daughter "gets really upset about that, that the kids come and touch her hair all the time and I've told her to let them know not to touch her hair." 

The search for a diverse school is why Roseline has considered sending her child to a new charter school in the area.

Soon, an empty lot in Agua Dulce will be home to Eagle Collegiate Academy. Dr. Ogo Okoye Johnson, who was a former school administrator within LAUSD, is the school founder. She said diversity is key, with 31% of her staff being Black, 31% are white, 25% are Latino and 12% are Asian. As for the students, so far 80% of the students are Black or Latino. 

"We have teachers of different ethnicities and that was important to me when we were hiring. Why? Because we want students to be able to see teachers who look like them," Johnson said.

The school was approved for pre-K through 8th grade but will start with pre-K through third and add on each year. Programs offered include free before and after school programs and language courses in Spanish and Korean. 

"We want to show our children that they live in a multi-cultural world, that they live in a diverse world, not just of different races but of different social economic status," Johnson said. "We want them to recognize that, we want them to validate and value that."

Roseline's daughter is still attending a public school in the area, but that worries her because she said, "if she's uncomfortable, no matter how you teach her, she's not going to learn anything." 

Roseline said she wants a place where her child can feel at home and feel accepted.