Principal's Message

Dr. Anna Santa Maria, Principal

Dr. Anna Santa Maria

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.


Greetings CDA Families-

Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year! The staff at Cahuilla Desert Academy are eager to meet their students on August 24th. We look forward to creating partnerships with our families that support student's emotional and academic development.

At Cahuilla Desert Academy (CDA), we are committed to providing students with opportunities that prepare them for high school, college, career, and beyond. CDA is an AVID School, utilizing strategies that support student learning in all of our classrooms. We will continue our focus on literacy across the curriculum, teaching students to deepen their understanding of text and to interact with text in various contexts.

Students emotional well-being is a top priority at CDA. We are excited to implement our second year of the Wellness Center at CDA. The Wellness Center provides students with a safe space that promotes self-care. We also offer mentors and curriculum (circle groups) to guide our students to make good choices. In addition, we will resume our weekly social-emotional learning lessons that teach students how to self-regulate and how to advocate for themselves.

Family engagement is crucial during the adolescent years of school. Information regarding upcoming events and important updates can be found on our website at, in our monthly newsletter, or on our Facebook page. This year we will implement a new home-to-school communication tool through AERIES that will notify you through text, phone call, and/or email. Part of our shared commitment to students is for families to frequently check the Parent Portal for student's attendance and grades. Your can reach out to your child's teacher or counselor as soon as you have a concern so we can work in unison to best meet the needs of your child.

I look forward to a wonderful year in which the students at CDA will be Respectful, Independent, Scholars that Excel (RISE)!

Red-tailed hawks RISE to new heights!


Dr. Santa Maria


Cahuilla Desert Academy