About Us

SAPESS Coordinators

Ted Roter and Phil Shaffer are both former Elementary School Principals with LAUSD. Leading up to that, they both worked as classroom teachers, resource teachers and Region Advisors. As part of their teacher and administrative training they gained experience working with Special Education programs. At CSUN, in addition to their responsibilities as Coordinators of the SAPESS Program, they currently supervise student teachers and serve as instructors for the Elementary Education Department. They both feel that working in this exciting, collaborative instructional program has been a very rewarding experience.

Phil Shaffer

Phil Shaffer

Ted Roter

Ted Roter

Phil Shaffer was an elementary classroom teacher for 19 years. He taught a variety of grades and programs that addressed students with special needs and students identified as gifted. As a Regional Instructional Advisor, he conducted in-service classes for teachers and workshops for parents. He was an assistant principal at Gridley Street Elementary for 3 years and a principal at Justice Street Elementary for nine years.

Ted Roter served as a Region Physical Education Resource Teacher for LAUSD for three years where he conducted workshops for teachers and demonstration lessons with students and contributed to the Teacher's Guide for Physical Education instruction for LAUSD. At Hoover Street School He was the library-multimedia resource teacher for three years where he helped set up a new library and teach literature/language arts lessons to every class in the school He served as principal at Dearborn Street School for ten years and an Assistant Principal at Plummer Elementary School for three years.

About the Program

The Summer Academic Program for Elementary School Students (SAPESS) has been serving elementary students that live in the area that surrounds California State University, Northridge since 1983. Our goal is quite simple: we want the children who pass through our program to be better people--academically and personally--for having come our way. Our goal is to address what we call the three C's: Character, Creativity, Courage.

First, we will nurture the character of your child by providing a safe, consistent and reliable daily routine. We believe in cultivating good character growth in our classes whereby young people embrace, value and develop honesty, integrity, perseverance, and compassion-- both in and outside the classroom. Each class has a dedicated teacher and TA that work together to provide an environment where students are engaged in leaning. The TAs are assigned the same group of students and remain with them throughout the day. We believe in providing a quality program for all students that will inspire good character in their minds and hearts.

Second, we look for ways to encourage the creativity of your child. Besides using proven, effective teaching strategies, we encourage our teachers to creatively enrich the teaching and learning in the classes to develop the students' ability to think, reason and understand. Each week, our teachers meet to create cohesive, purposeful and stimulating lessons based upon thematic units. Your child will transition smoothly between Math, Science, Arts & Crafts, and Reading & Writing. The different themes allow for students to explore subjects through a creative and collaborative approach in which enrichment is embedded throughout.

The third area we focus on is courage. We recognize and celebrate that each student is uniquely gifted and talented. The Enrichment activities that are embedded in each of the different subject courses are chosen in order to expose students to a variety activities with the intention of helping each student find a niche for success. The teachers and TAs are instructed and trained to seek out opportunities to encourage and praise students for the successes in their learning and development. TAs are uniquely situated to watch and engage students consistently through the day, through a variety of subjects and skills. We believe this fosters an environment where each student can be courageous in exploring his/her own natural abilities.

Thank you for taking the time to examine our program. We look forward to having your child join us on a journey that will strengthen his/her character, creativity and courage.