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Historical Highlights
1985
Concept developed by Rick Piercy, a Kindergarten teacher.

1986

Apple Computer, Inc. donates Apple IIe as a prize for the first jog-a-thon.

1987
Ground breaking ceremonies attended by Astronaut Dick Covey.

1986-1987

Business, education, and community leaders who believe they could make a difference in education, form the Partnership in Academic Excellence Program which raises $1.2 million for building and furnishings.

1988
Apple Computer, Inc. and IBM donate first computers.

1988-1990
The "Star Fleet" volunteer organization begins developing programs.

October 19, 1990
Grand Opening of the Apple Valley Science and Technology Center.

1991
Solar Eclipse activities broadcast nationally from the Center.

1991 & 1993
JASON Project received via satellite - and rebroadcast to area schools.

1992
Chosen by the Federal Aviation Administration as a Regional Resource Center.

High Desert "Partnership in Academic Excellence" Foundation, Incorporated established as 501(c) (3) tax-exempt educational foundation.

1993
Chosen as one of two national sites for the Telescopes in Education Program.

1994
Students access and remotely control the 24" telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory.

Hundreds observe P/Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet collide with Jupiter by on-site & remote telescopes.

Jim Roller, Center curriculum developer, chosen as one of 20 State Telementors.

Mr. Dan Goldin, Administrator of NASA, and Astronaut Tom Akers visit the Center.

California Governor's wife, Mrs. Gayle Wilson, visits the Center.

NASA, JPL, Mount Wilson and the Science and Technology Center form a partnership to turn over a radio telescope at Goldstone to be run remotely and to be made available to students nationwide.

CONTEL and the County of San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools develop partnership to place a 56K telephone line from the Center into the County Internet connection.

September 30, 1994

President Clinton signs legislation introduced by Congressman Jerry Lewis which provides $850,000 to triple the size of the Center.

1995
16th Annual Golden Bell Award presented to the Center by the California School Boards Foundation.

March 25, 1996
Hundreds observe spectacular display of the Hyakutake Comet.

May 3, 1996
Ground Breaking Ceremony for The Science and Technology Center Expansion.

October 30, 1996

Partnership Agreement signed with NASA, JPL and Center for Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope Project (GAVRT).

July 11, 1997
Awarded charter for Academy for Academic Excellence. School opens August 1997 with 225 students, K-12

April 3, 1998
Center renamed in honor of Congressman Jerry Lewis, at the dedication of building expansion.

Supervisor Kathy Davis dedicates Bill Davis Memorial. Announces Bill Davis Endowed Scholarship for Aviation.

April 14, 1998
Received first NASA Group Achievement Award for work in developing GAVRT and successfully demonstrating it as an innovative resource for science education in our nation's classrooms.

October 1998
NASA Administrator Dan Goldin recognizes Rick Piercy with NASA Public Service Award, the agency's highest civilian honor.

July 1999
Received first of two State of California grants totaling $3 million to acquire and develop Mojave River Campus.

October 1999
Awarded first of two multimillion dollar million grants by Department of Defense Education Activity.

April 2000
Named participant in Cassini-JMOC calibration mission by JPL.

May 18, 2000
Air Quality Management District donates hands-on interactive air quality management exhibits.

June 2000
Awarded third Sate of California grant totaling $4.5 million to complete new Mission Operations Center.

July 24, 2000
Mojave River Campus opens.

December 30, 2000
GAVRT students participate in NASA/JPL Cassini Millennium flyby.

May 2001
Students and staff recognized with second NASA Group Achievement Award for teamwork in the Cassini Jupiter Microwave Observing Campaign.

November 1, 2001
Finalist "Tech Museum of Innovation Award" - Technology Benefiting Humanity

November 2001
Technology Center dedicated.

March 2002
Rick Piercy honored with the Hart Vision Award for Outstanding Charter School Administrator.

December 5, 2002
DoDEA Hohenfels High School in Germany first overseas American school to successfully run the GAVRT Radio Telescope. Joyce Dusenberry is the teacher.

May 6, 2003
DoDEA Taegu American School in South Korea and their teacher, John Malone conduct the second successful overseas connection using the GAVRT Radio Telescope, DSS12.

August 2003
Students from Washington, Iowa, Pennsylvania and California participate in radar astronomy investigation of planet Mars with NASA/JPL scientists. Students assisted in the measurements of the Gusev Crater landing site selected for the Mars Exploration Rover "Spirit" scheduled to land on Mars in January 2004

December 2003
DoDEA Kubaski High School in Japan and their teacher, John Thomas, conduct successful overseas connection.

March 2004
Hosted area's first National Conference, the National Association of Laboratory Schools

May 2004
Mitsubishi Greenhouse dedicated at Mojave River Campus. Students grow native plants for reclamation of mined areas.

July 2004
The History of Apple Valley, written by Kate O'Rourke, produced by the Lewis Center, was published. The unique history of Apple Valley was published with photos and interviews from local residents that were here when the Town was established. Proceeds from the sale of the book go to a scholarship fund for Apple Valley seniors going to college.

October 2004
R.O.V.E.R. (Remotely Operated Vehicle for Environmental Research) debuts at teacher training. R.O.V.E.R. is a web based interactive program which allows students to collect observational data on virtual planetary condition.

June 2005
The Story of the Lewis Center for Educational Research, written by Cheryl Thompson was published to chronicle the history of the Lewis Center. It was written to mark the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Center.

August 2005
The Lewis Center for Educational Research celebrates its 20th year anniversary with celebration dinner outdoors on the Mojave River Campus. Congressman Lewis was the keynote speaker.

January 2006
Congressman Lewis is keynote speaker at luncheon held at the Lewis Center for 80 plus school administrators and business owners to introduce plans to replicate the AAE Charter School near the former Norton Air Force Base.

February 2006
The Academy for Academic Excellence was awarded a 6-year accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. WASC accreditation ensures schools and universities that the school has undergone a rigorous examination of its culture and teaching practice.

April 2006
The K-16 Bridge Program became a reality when the Lewis Center, Victor Valley College and the Snowline School district came together to develop and implement the program.

June 2006
Air Force awards AAE an Air Force Junior ROTC unit, first for a charter school in California.

August 2006
First K16 Bridge Kick Off Conference at Victor Valley College with High Desert administrators, department head teachers and counselors.

September 20, 2006
First gathering of the new charter school's Founders Group. The school is named Norton Space and Aeronautics Academy (NSAA).

October 2006
Tenth anniversary celebration of the Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope (GAVRT) program, held at the Goldstone Deep Space Network.

December 2006
Rick Piercy is presented with the "2006 Spirit of Freedom Award" for exemplifying Freedom Communications - Core values of Integrity, Community, Self-Responsibility, Life-Long Learning, and Respect for Individual Freedom. This award comes from the Daily Press.

January 2007
Academy for Academic Excellence begins long awaited Junior Air Force ROTC program, Unit CA-20068, for high school students.

March 14, 2007
Release of DVD produced at the Lewis Center, "Remembering Victorville". Proceeds from the sale of the DVD fund film scholarships for AAE students.

April 2, 2007
Norton Space and Aeronautics Academy's charter petition is approved by the San Bernardino County Board of Education. It is the first charter school approved by the county.

April 16, 2007
The Academy for Academic Excellence was honored as a California Distinguished School. Only 95 high schools were honored.

April 2007
The Academy for Academic Excellence is honored as one of the Nation's first "Certified Charter Schools". The honor validates and distinguishes charter schools that have met high-quality academic, governance and fiscal standards.

July 18, 2007
First official School Board meeting of the Norton Space and Aeronautics Academy.

April 10, 2008
Release of "Apple Valley History Film" DVD produced at the Lewis Center by AAE students. Premiered at Apple Valley's Ultra Star Theater. Proceeds from the sale of the DVD benefit scholarships for Apple Valley students.

August 25, 2008
First day of school for the Norton Space and Aeronautics Academy.

August 28, 2008
Dedication ceremony for the Norton Space and Aeronautics Academy.

September 9, 2008
Official announcement of Lewis Center as a team member with the NASA Ames Research Center and Northrop Grumman in the LCROSS (Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite) mission, America's return to the moon.

January 2009
Seven California Community Colleges join the K16 Bridge program.

March 2009
AAE was voted the Best School of the High Desert by the Daily Press.

April 2009
K16 Bridge wins California Community Colleges Chancellor Award.

May 2009
AAE Air Force JROTC earns Distinguished Unit Award for school year 2008-2009

June 18, 2009
LCROSS (Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite) mission launches. Lewis Center hosts a "Launch Event" in Mission Control.

August 3, 2009
First day of school for Lewis Center's Corwin Campus (the former St. Mary School), the third campus for the Academy for Academic Excellence housing grades 2 - 4.

October 9, 2009
NASA's LCROSS mission impacts the Moon in search of water at 4:35 a.m. PST. Over 500 people got up early to attend the impact event in Mission Control and overflow rooms, plus at the Thunderbird Campus Observatory.

October 2009
AAE Air Force Junior ROTC earns, on its first unit evaluation from the Air Force, the highest rating given, "Exceeds Standards."

May 2010
AAE Air Force JROTC receives Distinguished Unit with Merit for 2009-2010 school year.

May 2011
AAE Air Force Junior ROTC receives highest rating," Exceeds Standards",  from Air Force for the second time.

AAE Air Force Jr ROTC Instructor Col. George Armstrong (USAF Ret.) receives nationwide Outstanding Officer Instructor, with Merit, of the Year.

AAE Air Force Jr ROTC Instructor Master Sergeant Raymond Britt, (USAF Ret.)  receives nationwide Outstanding Instructor, with Merit, of the Year.

U.S. News and World Report ranks AAE in top 3 percent of U.S. high schools.

February 2012
Norton Space & Aeronautics Academy becomes a Confucius Institute School.

April 2012
Rick Piercy receives Humanitarian of the Year award by LifeStream.

May 2012
AAE Air Force Junior ROTC earns Distinguished Unit Award for 2010-2011 School Year.

June 2012
AAE partners with sister school, Hangzhou Anji Road Experimental School, in Zhejian, China.

August 2012
AAE has highest first-time scores in the Victor Valley in the California High School Exit Exam.

December 12, 2012
Groundbreaking for new AAE gymnasium.

March 2013
Rick Piercy, President/CEO receives 20th Anniversary Legacy Award from California Charter School Association for outstanding charter school leaders.
AAE is awarded the Daily Press BEST OF THE BEST in the High Desert for elementary and middle school.
AAE is awarded the Daily Press ONE OF THE BEST high school in the High Desert.

May 2013
AAE Air Force Junior ROTC awarded Distinguished Unit Award for 2011-2012 School Year.

Col. George Armstrong, (USAF Ret.) awarded Outstanding Air Force JROTC Instructor of the year.

Master Sergeant Raymond Britt, (USAF Ret.) awarded Outstanding Air Force JROTC Instructor of the year.

November 8, 2013
Grand opening and dedication of new Ryan Cambridge Gymnasium.  Attended by many dignitaries.

January 2014
AAE Air Force Junior ROTC receives highest rating," Exceeds Standards",  from Air Force for the third time.

Thunderbird Campus Features
  • LUZ Observatory houses multiple video-enhanced optical telescopes used by the High Desert Astronomical Society.
  • US Air Force T-40 Jet Flight Simulator used to teach students the science and math of aviation.
Corwin Campus Features
  • Lewis Center leased the former St. Mary School in Apple Valley to house grades two through four.
  • The Corwin Campus houses a large multi-purpose room with a stage used for plays and school events.
Mojave River Campus Features
  • Mission Control center connected by internet to 34-meter radio telescope located at NASA's Deep Space Network at Goldstone, California, in the Mojave Desert. Used with students globally doing actual deep space research.
  • Digital video studio and editing facilities.
  • Tortoise terrace in partnership with the California Turtle and Tortoise Club
  • Mohave Tui Chub refuge in partnership with US Fish and Wildlife Servce and CA Dept. of Fish and Game
  • University of Redlands School of Education satellite campus.
  • Wildlands self-tour.
  • Mineral City - used for Local Outreach Field Trips.
  • 100 acre Mojave River Wildlands environmental study area.
Norton Space & Aeronautics Academy Campus Features
  • Classes taught in Spanish and English - Dual Immersion
  • Spanish and English classes for parents

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Phone: 760-946-5414

Lewis Center for Educational Research
17500 Mana Road
Apple Valley, CA 92307
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