Our history



HUMANIZING EDUCATION

INNOVATING THE APPROACH

Opus School of Arts & Academics represents the marriage of the 21st Century innovation, proven and engaging methods of instruction. We help students develop the skills needed for their individual futures, not our collective past.

Students come to understand that learning is not limited to school contexts and textbooks. Opportunities for observing, questioning, synthesizing, and creating meaning are ever-present in students’ lives. Learning to recognize these moments is crucial. Students will develop the desire to pursue these moments and the skills to explore and evaluate them.

OSAA learners become excited about learning and engaged in their education and intellectual development. Learning is relevant, project/problem-based, playful, and appropriately challenging. It consists of exploring foundational solids (Language Arts, Math, Science, History, the Arts) with an integrated perspective, while being introduced to new ideas, concepts, and ways of looking at the world.

Each student develops tools to allow him/her to tackle a complicated and ever-changing world. Instead of memorizing content, students focus on autonomous problem-solving and creating meaning from the world around them. These goals intentionally encompass 21st Century skills, such as creativity, curiosity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and entrepreneurialism. STEAM competencies are nurtured as an outgrowth of a future-focused approach.

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HISTORY

Opus119 School of Arts & Academics is rooted in research-based best practices and nurtured by a shared passion for explorative learning.


Ethan Dong, founder of the Opus119 The School of Music and College Conservatory of Music, came to America to study at Crossroads School. A superb pianist, he thrived alongside Mary Ann Cummins and eventually learned about the power of progressive education from her husband, Paul Cummins, lead founder of Crossroads. Ethan’s time at Crossroads had a lasting effect. Over the years, he came to realize that his educational experience was atypical in the U.S. The seed was planted and, after attending Yale University, Ethan returned to California to pursue education in music and the arts.

After many years of running a successful music program, Ethan reached out to his dear friend, Paul, with a desire to pay his experience forward in his community. He recognized that truly innovative education had not yet arrived in Orange County. It was time to change that. Opus School of Arts and Academics is modeled after successful schools co-created by Paul Cummins, Crossroads, New Roads and Tree Academy.

Yuri Chung joins the team as a veteran educator and dynamic leader. She and Ethan have cultivated a professional relationship since 2012 as they have collaborated regarding mutual students’ strengths and needs. Yuri’s experience navigating families through the college admissions process structures the core content while Ethan’s artistic vision guides students towards their creative passions. Together, Ethan’s and Yuri’s expertise creates a balanced approach to education and prepares students to contribute to the world community.

ADVISORY BOARD

Darryl Sollerh - Co-Founder and Director of Tree Academy

Mary Ann Cummins
- Founder of the Elizabeth Mandell Music Institute at Crossroads School

Anna Cummins and Marcus Eriksen - Co-Founders of 5 Gyres Institute

Amy Pascal - Chairperson of the Motion Pictures Group of Sony's Columbia Pictures

Bing Yeh - Luka International Arts & Cultural Foundation