Heritage Academy

The Heritage Academy is an exciting educational opportunity in Oklahoma City brought to you by Epic Charter Schools.

Housed at EPIC’s facility located at 4507 I-35 Service Road, Oklahoma City, OK 73129 will be the Heritage Academy, a blended learning program of EPIC Charter Schools.

ESPAÑOL

The Heritage Academy Blended Learning Center is a free, in-person, PK-12th grade two-way dual language education program that supports the bilingualism, biculturalism, and socio-cultural competence of our emergent bilingual students, both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking, while promoting their heritage and cultures through a global citizen mindset.

The curriculum follows Oklahoma Academic Standards, is enriched with cultural components, and supports the content and language learning in both English and Spanish. Both languages are used as a vehicle for lesson delivery while teachers support the linguistic repertoires of their students. Application to the Heritage Academy is open to any student residing in Oklahoma County.

Click Here to Meet Our Faculty & Staff

Eloy Nolivos, Ph.D.

Dr. Nolivos is married to Katie, and they have two sons Max and Ari, and Zoe is his eldest daughter from a previous marriage. He is originally from Ecuador, South America, but his family migrated to the United States when he was a year old. In the past 25 years, he has served in the roles of educator, missionary, chaplain, administrator, and minister. Education has been a lifelong dream and adventure he has pursued. He has worked in education and in the marketplace with distinction. Dr. Nolivos is passionate in helping students connect the dots between their studies and their future goals in their educational journey.

Vilianny Cardin Rivera

Vilianny Cardín Rivera was born and raised in Aibonito, Puerto Rico. She studied from Pre-k through 12th grade in private and public schools in her hometown. Graduated from University of Puerto Rico with Bachelor’s degree in Special Education and certified as a Pre-K to 12th grade SPED teacher in the US and Puerto Rico. She has worked with Pre-k, Kindergarten, First Grade, Sixth Grade, Ninth Grade and Special Education students in Puerto Rico. Cardín, moved to Oklahoma in 2017 and worked as a First grade Teacher Assistant in Moore and then as Pre-k Spanish teacher in a language emergent school in Norman for 4 years. She’s very excited to be teaching Pre-k with Epic Heritage Academy and share her Spanish heritage with the community.

Eunice Alvarado Velasquez
Heritage Academy Paraprofessional 

Born in Salisbury, Maryland she comes from Spanish and Mexican Roots, was raised in Oklahoma, and Okie at heart. She studied at the International TEFL Academy abroad in Madrid, Spain; Taught Business English at Unidad Editorial, a recognized magazine editorial company in Spain. She also taught adults and children abroad; this was a unique opportunity to evaluate where she would fit the best. The levels of English learners varied from beginner, intermediate and advanced. Lessons were uniquely individualized according to each student’s level of English. She is now a UK Certified TEFL English Teacher with a warm and friendly demeanor. Skilled at conflict resolution team builder who is acutely attentive to employees’ and Peers’ needs. She is excited to fully engage with her new Heritage Academy family and make a difference.  

Her Hobbies: 

  • Traveling, has been to 10 countries so far; her dream is to travel to Dubai with her family one day.
  • Landscape photography
  • Acrylic painting
  • Reading 

” The most important thing in life is not what you do; it’s who you become”
– Dallas Willard

Ciria Avalos

Ciria Vanessa Avalos was born in Anaheim, California, and was raised by her grandparents in Tijuana the first 6 years of her life. Her grandparents were both born in Mexico, her mother was born in San Luis Potosi and her father was born in Michoacan, which makes her a proud Chicana. When it was time to start elementary school her grandparents moved back to Anaheim so she received her education in English. Her grandparents raised her to be an honest, honorable, respectful woman with great family values. Her grandparents also made sure that she remained fluent in Spanish while learning the English language. Ciria is very passionate about education, eager to make a difference in her community, and determined that with parent engagement it will be easier for students to stay motivated, inspired and never give up. 

Vianny Yanez Salazar

Vianny Yanez is a mother and wife born in Venezuela. She has an associate degree in business administration. She worked for 14 years in Venezuelean department of  education as an administrative assistant. In December 2018, in search of new professional opportunities and to improve her quality of life, Vianny moved to the United States. She found an opportunity to work with EPIC Charter Schools as a teacher’s assistant. For Vianny, this represents an achievement providing opportunity for reciprocal teaching, keeping the Hispanic culture alive and promoting linguistic and cultural immersion.

Salvador Logan Rodriguez

Born in Mexico, Chihuahua, and moved to the United States at the age of 11, knowing little to no English. But, thanks to my 4th-grade teacher and peers, I was able to make English my second language. I have been living in Oklahoma for fifteen years now, finished my computer science associate degree, and am pursuing my bachelor’s in elementary education with an emphasis on ESL. I am excited to be working with students who can relate to my experience when I moved to The United States and make their experience and transition to a new language smoother. 

Elizabeth Salvatierra

Elizabeth was born in Orlando, Florida to a Nicaraguan mother and a Cuban father. She grew up speaking Spanish and English, and even though she is more comfortable speaking English, she is working on making sure her Spanish is just as good! She is very proud of her Spanish heritage and is excited to be able to bring that to Epic.

Elizabeth will be starting her 5th year in the classroom with EPIC Heritage Academy, and she is beyond excited for the opportunity to work with students and families that have been looked over for way too long. In 2017, she received her Bachelors of Arts and Sciences from the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg where she studied Political Science and Education. Elizabeth then went on to receive her Masters from American University in 2020 where she studied Public Administration and Policy. 

She has hopes to receive her Doctorate in the future somewhere in the Education or Counseling field. Her motivation comes from wanting to help students and people achieve what they are capable of and so much more. Relationships are important to her, as is communication, and she aims to make sure that all her students feel as if they have the resources and support they need in order to succeed. 

In her free time, she spends time with her fiancé and her dog binge watching Netflix/Hulu shows or finding something new to try in OKC. She also enjoys reading, writing, weightlifting, and trying to convince her fiancé to get another dog!

Flor Sosa

Flor Sosa’s family is from Durango, Mexico, but Flor was born in El Paso, Texas and raised in Oklahoma City. Flor received her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Relations from the College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Oklahoma. Flor, alongside with her capstone team, created the buddy bench project at Wilson Elementary. During Flor’s undergraduate career, she was also a mentor at Whittier Middle School. Education has always been a passion for Flor and she is extremely excited to begin her 1st year of teaching. Flor’s future plans include to get her Masters in Education School Counseling or Masters of Education In Educational Leadership. In her free time, Flor enjoys spending time with her dog Lola, going to coffee shops, or listening to podcasts. 

Marisela Esparza

Marisela Esparza grew up in Joliet, Illinois with her mom and four siblings. She moved to Oklahoma City in 2014 to live closer to her dad and continue her education. As a first generation college student, she made it her mission to excel in her studies and become a role model as well as a resource for other first generation college students. She earned her first college degree in 2016 from the Oklahoma City Community College in the field of business. In 2018, she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from the University of Oklahoma and signed her first teaching contract. After a year of focusing on her teaching career, she was accepted into a Graduate program at the University of Oklahoma, fully funded by a grant that she was awarded. In 2021, she succeeded in achieving her Master’s Degree in Special Education with double certifications in Applied Behavior Analysis and Transition. Marisela has had the opportunity to utilize her skills and experience in different educational settings to provide students in Title 1 schools an experience in education that will follow them beyond high school. As she enters her fifth year as a special education teacher, she looks forward to continuing her teaching career with Heritage Academy and empowering the amazing students that she will come into contact with.

Adriana Torres

For over 12 years, Adriana Torres has been an experienced ESL professor in her hometown San Juan, Puerto Rico. She also has worked providing school staff professional development workshops as well as working as a freelancer in developing curriculum for Puerto Rico’s schools. After having her baby in September 2021, she decided to move with her husband to Oklahoma to find new and exciting work opportunities. Driven by her desire to connect and help others, she found an opportunity to work in Heritage Academy as a Student Support Specialist. Adriana takes pride in providing Heritage Academy students, parents, and staff with resources to help them thrive in school. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English as a Second Language and a Master’s in TESOL from Inter American University in Puerto Rico.

She hopes for the future to continue to grow in Heritage Academy and pursue a doctorate degree in education. For her, education is a vital component to her happiness as she wants to transmit that energy to Heritage Academy students.

In her free time, Adriana likes to workout, read books, play with her cat, and explore what OKC has to offer.  

Cielo Thompson

Cielo Thompson born in CD. Juarez Chihuahua raised in Oklahoma City. She is the Health Aide for Heritage Academy. Cielo has extensive experience in the medical background. She is a Board certified Occupational Therapist Assistant. She also obtained her Associates in Psychology. She is currently working on her Bachelors degree in Public Administration to help the hispanic community.

Cielo has worked with children who have multiple disabilities. She takes pride in helping children recover from an injury, regain skills and prevent disabilities. Cielo is trained in ABA therapy and has experience in the behavioral process with children. She is bilingual in English and Spanish.

In her free time, she likes to travel with her husband and family as well as cook and watch movies.

Fritzi Lopez

Born in South Los Angeles, California to Mexican immigrant parents, Fritzi attended PK-12 public schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Throughout this time, Fritzi witnessed the educational disparities in the marginalized community she was raised in. Fritzi is devoted to advocating for and demystifying the concept of higher education for students and families. Fritzi began her collegiate career at the University of California, Berkeley where she obtained her double BA in Sociology and American Studies in 2015. She then went on to obtain her Masters in Education with a concentration in Administration and Policy from Loyola Marymount University in 2017. She served as a middle school self-contained special education teacher at Edwin Markham Middle School in South Los Angeles, special education teacher at Roosevelt Middle School in Oklahoma City, and has since held various roles such as school counselor, mentor, teacher coach, Special Education Coordinator, Special Education Compliance Specialist, and more recently Teacher Development Specialist at the Heritage Academy. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with family and friends, work on DIY home projects, and participate in outdoor activities. 

 

Features of the Heritage Academy include: All Bilingual Staff (English & Spanish)

  • Advanced Hybrid Learning Environment: Opportunity to Learn In-Person and On-Line
  • Flexible Schedule
  • Robust Class Offerings
  • Individualized Learning Plans
  • Culturally-Relevant Art Programs: Mariachi, Baile Folklorico, Art, Photography, Salsa, etc. as extracurricular activities
  • Families are provided technology and connectivity for the home for free, if needed
  • Dual Language Classes: Fully Bilingual Curriculum
  • Latino Studies integrated into Curriculum
  • Sports: Soccer, Volleyball, Baseball

Mission

A dual language school promoting high academic achievement, bilingualism and biliteracy, and sociocultural competence with the pride and passion for one’s own education and heritage through a global citizen mindset. 

Vision

Educate leading citizens of the world who strengthen the development of the community through its values and cultural heritage.

History and Research

For English speakers, more than twenty years of research has shown:

  • English speakers develop proficiency in two languages.
  • English speakers score as well as or better than their English-speaking, non-dual language peers on standardized tests of math and English language arts.
  • English speakers develop a positive sense of self and demonstrate positive cross-cultural attitudes and behaviors.

For non-native English speakers, more than forty years of research has shown:

  • English Language Learners (ELLs) who receive native language instruction were able to catch up to or surpass the achievement levels of ELL peers and English-only peers who were educated in English-only mainstream classrooms. These results were found regardless of the student’s socioeconomic background.
  • ELLs who participated in programs that provided extended instruction in the native language (i.e. dual language programs) outperformed students who received short-term instruction through their native language (i.e. transitional bilingual education).

Benefits of Dual Language

  • Develops language capacity of the brain
  • Develops excellent listening skills
  • Develops stronger creative thinking and problem-solving ability
  • Higher test scores in subject matter areas on standardized tests
  • Exposes students to international cultures and ideas
  • Increases capacity for future language learning
  • Builds self-esteem
  • Increases global understanding
  • Increases employment potential
  • Students with special education needs, as well as native English speaker from all backgrounds, benefit significantly in a dual language model

The Heritage Academy Includes

  • 90/10 Language Immersion Program in Spanish/English
    • PK & KG – 90% Spanish Instruction/10% English Instruction
    • 1st Grade – 80% Spanish Instruction/20% English Instruction
    • 2nd Grade – 70% Spanish Instruction/30% English Instruction
    • 3rd Grade – 60% Spanish Instruction/40% English Instruction
    • 4th-12th Grade – 50% Spanish Instruction/50% English Instruction
  • Ideal Entry point – Pre-Kindergarten
  • English-only speaking students can enroll in grades PK-first semester of 1st Grade
  • Students who are already bilingual in English and Spanish, heritage learners, or newcomer students who speak Spanish are strongly encouraged to apply.Services available: ELD, Special Education, Speech, and GT
  • Parents are asked for a 6-7 year commitment if starting in PK/KG

Click here to enroll in the program today…or to have any questions answered, please contact:

Jennifer Higdon – jennifer.higdon@epiccharterschools.org 

The program will enroll students until capacity is reached on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

HERITAGE ACADEMY FLIER  Flier is in PDF format.

SLIDE PRESENTATION