Thank you for taking the Peace Academy survey! We’ve heard your voices and are here to support you through these challenging times!!

We’ve planned a journey this summer that uses our current global situation as a learning opportunity. We’ve created yet another exciting and unique curriculum that will bring us closer together, allow us to collectively heal, and have tons of fun while we’re at it! 

Even while sheltered in place, we are dedicated to empowering children to celebrate each other  and build on each others’ strengths. Holistic and formative real-world applications are designed to inspire a deep understanding of self and others through creative innovation, enriched collaborative experiences, and connection through core human values.

Check out the Summer 2020 Recorded Info Session

We know you have a lot of questions about how a summer program will look given the need to observe social distancing during this pandemic. You can find answers and a whole lot more on the Info Session page. If you're all ready, the registration process is below.

Our core human values of focus for the 2020 Summer Intensive:
Peace and Peacemaking, Humility, Compassion, Kindness,
Seeking Knowledge and Wisdom, Generosity, Gratitude, and Love.

Modeled by our educators, these values serve to enrich students’ academic experiences
with positive social interactions, empathy, and emotional intelligence.

Please register now to help us plan and secure your spot.

If your child is 6 years old by September 1st, join the GEMS.
If your child is 9 years old by September 1st, join the SONG BIRDS.

Thriving Collectively in Our Changing World

July 6-July 10

Curriculum is differentiated for:

Ages 6-8: Gems

Ages 9-11: Song Birds

"Thriving Collectively in Our Changing World" offers a full week of exciting options, projects, dance, music, mindfulness, interactive live sessions, recordings, connections and community building! Students will have fun as they learn about the past and present to examine the world through a critical lens and make their own Bill of Rights! Students will become familiar with global inequalities, environmental justice, language, and cultures. With a mindset of compassionate leadership, students will design their own passion project!

Register by June 12th for $225

Late registration is June 13th to June 25th for $275

Scholarship Application Deadline: June 12th

Program Package Includes:

  • Creative and unique Peace Academy curriculum

  • PASA teachers available for individual time upon request, to serve as a partner or advisor for the curriculum projects, reading, or any other requested specification of our daily objectives.

  • Project kits (up to $125 value) that can be done with family or with PASA teachers online, in groups with other children joining online, or on an individual basis with a PASA teacher online.

  • Talented group of teachers available online for group circle time, check-ins, and other optional programming

  • Optional parallel sessions students can choose from

  • Detailed outlines of all activities

  • Padlet of our top picks, visual layout of recommended resources, PASA activities, and more!

  • Recordings of all live sessions with teachers (individual student waivers available)

  • Community of children

  • Friendships and connections

  • Depending on the shelter in place order at the time, PASA may offer optional in person interaction at the Lavra with farm animals and a vegetable garden, while still practicing social distancing. Other possibilities include virtual interaction and Lavra Life sessions. We will do what’s within our capacity to make it happen!

  • Family support

  • Optional ongoing available support from PASA teachers 9:00-4:00 daily

  • We will service you with a doorstep drop off of materials upon your request. Please note this request during the registration process.

If you would like to help another child participate, there will be an opportunity to contribute to the Peace Academy Scholarship Fund.

Thank you for your contribution! 

The Peace Academy’s highly skilled team of credentialed teachers leverages children's curiosity about the world to create meaningful experiences and make lifelong friendships in the process. Join us for a summer of a lifetime!

Our Teachers

Dara Stepanek is an educator and community leader who graduated from Cal Poly with a Mathematics Major, Physics Minor, and Teaching Credential. She taught math at Central Coast New Tech High School for 6 years, where she served as the club advisor for the Social Justice League, a group of students who worked to educate, activate, and lead our communities into a world that is just for all. Dara enjoys time with her son and now manages operations for her family business, Bliss Cafe, to promote and serve locally grown vegan, organic cuisine. She recently became a Climate Reality Leader and is excited to graduate in March 2020 as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Her hope for this Enrichment Program is to reinvigorate our democracy by empowering students to be global citizens. Always looking for innovative ideas within the broad spectrum of educational possibilities, Dara is very excited to be a part of Peace Academy’s team and vision.

Dr. Lata Murti is Associate Professor of Sociology for the School of Arts and Sciences at Brandman University, where she was the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding University Faculty of the Year Award. Before studying and teaching sociology, Dr. Murti was a Spanish teacher for grades 2-8. She has BA degrees in Spanish and Humanities as well as MA and Ph.D. degrees in American Studies and Ethnicity, from the University of Southern California. For her BA degree in Spanish, Dr.Murti studied at the University of Costa Rica, in San Jose, Costa Rica, for one semester, which left her yearning for Latina culture and the Spanish language.

Dr. Ingrid Kovacs, an award winning credentialed music teacher. She has taught general music and orchestra in both the private and public school sector for over thirty years, for all grade levels. She is all level certified in both Kodaly and Orff Schulwerk methods and a certified Suzuki Violin teacher. Dr. Kovacs earned both a bachelor and master’s degree in Music (Music History) from the University of Southern California. In 2010 Dr. Kovacs completed her Doctor of Musical Arts at Boston University. Dr. Kovacs is active as a journal editor and presenter at state and national conventions. Her research interests included string pedagogy, classroom management, and historical studies, and her work is frequently published. As an orchestra director, Dr. Kovacs is well known for her innovation, pedagogical expertise and ability to engage students of all ages. Dr. Kovacs is excited to be working with the Peace Academy because she wants to help young people begin to develop a sense of belonging to a common humanity.

Jennah Elghandour, is a 2nd year Materials Engineering major at UCLA. Throughout her high school career, Jennah worked a few jobs along with doing nanotechnology research at Cal Poly State University. All her jobs and volunteer work have all included kids. She worked at Central Coast Gymnastics for 2 years, worked at the Bright Life Playschool in San Luis Obispo, was a teacher at the first Peace Academy summer camp, volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club, and volunteered with a program called Get on the Bus, all before leaving for college. Jennah Elghandour will continue to work with the Peace Academy, as well as continue to pursue her career in Materials Engineering.

Sandra Sarrouf is a cultural worker, arts advocate, educator, and community organizer. She received her MA in Cultural Sustainability and BA in Environmental Studies and Political Science with a minor Global Peace and Security through UC Santa Barbara. As a professional dancer, she harnesses the power of creativity and movement as tools to embrace diversity, build just communities and learn about our multicultural world. Sandra is passionate about cultivating deeper understanding of the varied ways we participate in culture and brings a multi-layered perspective to the table. As a Middle Eastern woman who immigrated to the U.S. at a young age, she offers tools for those seeking to build inclusion and cultural equity into their organizational framework. Her radiant joy and deep cultural pride is most evident in the vibrancy she brings as an instructor and performer in dance.

Stephanie Krouse is a freelance artist and credentialed teacher. Raised in Los Osos, California, she attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and received a BS degree in Ecology & Systematic Biology with a minor in Spanish. Doing art, caring about the natural environment, speaking in Spanish and serving her community have always been her passions. As an elementary school teacher she loves to help her students create art with positive messages that are inspiring and hopeful. She currently works in Santa Maria and prior to this position she was a dual immersion teacher in Lompoc. Krouse is fascinated by color and design principles. Her style combines pastel colors and realism. Her home studio, set as an island amidst row crops, in Guadalupe, is an ideal place for creating art. It is also in this location that she lives with her husband, two children and her two border collie puppies.

Beela Elghandour is a 3rd year Biochemistry major at UCLA, pursuing a career in Pediatric Dentistry. In high school, Beela was very active in her community, taking part in several community service programs and clubs. She also took part in nanoparticle research at Cal Poly State University. Beela has had experience working with kids, through being a gymnastics coach at Central Coast Gymnastics, working at Bright Life Playschool, and being a teacher and coordinator for Peace Academy’s first summer program.

At UCLA Beela has been on the committee for the Academic, Mentorship and Professional Development Project, is a volunteer for the UMMA Volunteer Project, Food Drive Initiative Project, and College Day. She also is involved in a 3 year Sports Medicine Internship Program. Beela is excited to continue working with the Peace Academy as she progresses her academic career.

Dee DiGioia is a Certified Mindfulness & Life Skills Coach and Educator and resides in Los Osos. After working with youth for over 35 years, including special education, Dee founded Mindful Kindful YOUniversity (MK YOU) ( to offer mindfulness-based social-emotional learning programs intentionally designed to address the challenges youth, and adults, face in school, and in life, which interfere with learning/working, relationships, and mental well-being. As an educator in the public school setting over the years, Dee believes mindfulness is an essential and missing piece (and peace) in our schools and in our communities today. By setting the intention to practice mindfulness and kindfulness in our daily living, we can plant the seeds for positive habits to transform our inner peace and happiness. As a result, each one of us is positively contributing to a thriving, resilient, compassionate and peaceful world beginning within ourselves, and positively impacting our relationships at home, school, and in our communities. Dee is overjoyed to collaborate with “Peace Academy” on this mission of inspiring our youth to become peacemakers!

Peace Academy of the Sciences and Arts
Tax ID: 83-0651198
PO Box 13024
San Luis Obispo, CA 93406

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