A rendering of the new EJEA Academies Charter School in El Cajon. Photo courtesy EJEA Academies.

Excellence and Justice in Education Academies had a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday for its new, $20 million, state-of-the-art middle school building at 851 S. Johnson Avenue in El Cajon.

“This is much more than just groundbreaking for a new school,” said Janet Vasquez, Executive Director of EJEA.  “This is the beginning of a new path to better futures through equity in education for thousands of current and future EJEA families.”

Funded in part by a $9.1 million grant from the state of California, the new, two-story middle school will replace the school’s outdated, unrenovated, and crowded facilities that were built in the 1940s.  Designed by award-winning architects, this energy- and the water-efficient building will feature a specialized 1,500 square-foot STEAM makerspace, an Alumni, College, and Career Center, and an acoustically designed music classroom with advanced sound systems.

“Our students and families are resilient, and they continue to achieve despite not having equitable access to the technologically modern facilities that they deserve,” said EJEA Founder Eva Pacheco.  “This middle school will change that.  It is the door to a new world of possibilities for our students.  It is an investment in new facilities to support the learning, exploration, and achievement of our students, teachers, and staff for decades to come.”

Guest speakers at the groundbreaking included Pacheco, EJEA supporters Elizabeth and John Leonard, El Cajon Deputy Mayor Michelle Metschel, EJEA Student Ambassadors, and other dignitaries.

Founded in 2005, EJEA is a dual immersion Spanish/English charter school focused on social justice and serving over 800 students in El Cajon.  Ninety-two percent of EJEA students are from low-income families, 90 percent are Latino/a, and 82 percent qualify for the free or reduced lunch program. EJEA has over 400 on ts student waiting list.  With its roots in a parent advocacy group that fought for two decades to ensure families had access to quality bilingual education programs, EJEA’s TK-8 curriculum prepares students from diverse populations to excel in higher education and to be leaders in creating a just global society.  

For more information on EJE Academies, please visit www.ejeacademies.org