Charter News • June 15, 2018

“Where are we? - Here. What time is it? - Now.
Let’s make the best of it together. Life spent with others is a life well spent.”
~Carter Milhous

Dear Charter Families,

Hooray and congratulations! Every child, every family has progressed through another year of learning, many making that special advancement or graduation leap to their next step on the ladder, or rung, or river, or whatever metaphor fits for your family style. We strive to support and create life-long learners and hopefully, your child’s learning will continue through the summer; be it in the form of camps, summer school, junior guards, sports of many kinds, travel, and hopefully reading books and sharing stories and various adventures with family and friends.

As we close the year, I wanted to introduce a few of the new teachers and staff members that will be joining us next year, as well as some new developments in many of our programs.

I have learned to love change...okay maybe not love but definitely, appreciate. Though not always initially embraced, change brings new life, ideas and energy to any situation.  And for our Charter programs, whose educational foundations are strong and whose flexibility has been positively tested, change becomes a fertilizer of sorts to help strengthen our already vibrant education programming for your children.

We are pleased and excited to announce our new teaching staff that will be joining us this next school year. They have written a short bio to introduce themselves to all of you. Please read on to learn a bit about them.  You can also read about a few of the new additions or supports we have added to our programs.

Our teachers have already written a closing email to their families that include initial events for the beginning of the school year.


Expect to receive an email from us in the first weeks of August with a special letter welcome back to school email from your teachers soon after. Teachers return to work on August 14th.  

The first student school day for the coming year will be August 20.

Until then, have a wonderful summer.


NOTE: All newsletters will be archived on our website if you would like to confirm any information.  Specific pertinent information can also be found on our website so if you have an opportunity, please give it a review.


Welcome new staff members!

Rachel Hagar: Science teacher for Nature Academy program.  I feel honored to work with this team of fantastic Nature Academy teachers dedicated to providing a rigorous, holistic approach to educating students.  I am also a nature lover and am thrilled to educate students by taking them beyond the four walls of a classroom. Many of my own educational highlights took place doing field studies: from science camp at Onemia, Minnesota looking for wolf tracks in the snow and doing adventure ropes among frozen pine needles; noosing lizards and live trapping mice under moonlight at the Mohave Desert Research Station; mapping wetlands at the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory, pursuing my love for rainforest preservation by volunteering at Genesis II Cloud Forest Preserve in Costa Rica, and finally volunteering at Indian Canyon.

My teaching philosophy is to bring a love of science and environment and community to students and to help them believe in their limitless potentials. I choose to think of solutions and not the problems. If there is a problem, I believe in open communication so voices can be heard, and issues healed and resolved, and moving forward in a positive way, together.

I have taught for 15 years; Earth Science, Chemistry, Biology, and Drama. I have also taught Video Production. The majority of my teaching has been teaching science for middle school students. I look forward to working with this fabulous group of students, parents, and educators to see what we can create together!

Rebecca Doty: Math teacher for Nature Academy program: I am thrilled to be joining the Nature Academy team to teach 7th and 8th-grade math and writing. With 17 years of experience teaching both elementary and middle school, I am excited to have an opportunity to work with middle school content yet to get to know the students better in a more intimate setting such as the Nature Academy program. Growing up in the Sierras (Mammoth Lakes to be exact) has nurtured my love of nature, and I am an avid backpacker, hiker, trail runner, indoor climber (with a desire to cross to the outdoors), and dancer. I also enjoy cooking, theatre (I have a degree in Theatre Arts Directing), crafting, and would love to learn more about computer programming this year. My favorite adventures thus far in life have been solo backpacking the John Muir Trail and an epic trip to Turkey. I hope for many more of these types of adventures in my future.

Amanda Bauscher: Teacher at our Mountain IS program.  I am delighted to have the opportunity to be a part of such an innovative public school!  Over the past 20 plus years of working with children and adults, both here and abroad, I've seen how unique each of our learning processes can be. Working with children to develop a strong sense of self-efficacy and passion for what they are learning is fundamental to my practice. I've found that by embracing our diverse talents, we expand our understanding of each other and our world, leading to a more compassion and cooperation in general. Mountain Independent Studies program appears to be an ideal environment for each child to shine individually and within a community!

Mary Zilge: Academic Counselor for CRHS and our 8th graders. Charter students and families, I am very excited and honored to be a member of your community.  I am thrilled to be returning to what I originally intended to do in education; supporting students through their educational journey in academic success, social-emotional growth, and career and college exploration.
I grew up and attended school in our wonderful valley.  I moved to San Diego for ten years, met my husband, and once we had two girls, realized where we wanted to raise them and moved back in 2001.  
My career in education began in 1991 as a teacher then as an academic counselor.  I joined SLVMS in 2006 as an academic counselor and in 2009 became the Dean of Students.  I can't state enough how excited I am to be returning to the role of an academic counselor.  I am looking forward to meeting and working with families who embrace education from multiple perspectives and as a team, supporting your students to have all opportunities open to them as young adults.

______ :  Quail Hollow Integrated Arts 60% teacher:  TBA

_______: Quail Hollow Homeschool teacher.  TBA

______ :  Mental Health Counselor.  TBA


New additions in Our Charter Programs:

Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA) program expanding: We want to share some exciting news about this wonderful program.  The QHIA program, thanks to the efforts of teacher Amber Walker and the support of the District, is expanding. Our student community will grow to 40 students next year.

Of course, this also means that the program will be provided with additional instructional space and an additional 60% teacher. Amber will be closely involved with the hiring process to ensure that the teacher she will be partnering with has rich experience with theater, music, art, and dance: professionally and personally, in some combination. We will also ensure that this new teaching partner understands the importance of cultivating our focus on social/emotional education and homeschool community building.

We feel confident and excited to embrace more students into our QHIA family and Amber is excited to mentor another teaching partner to share in this innovative classroom model.

K-5 Homeschool programs: Next year we are planning to offer a Home-School Parent Forum, open to all parents of K-5 students enrolled in the Charter. The purpose is to establish a consistent place for parents to share great ideas, get help in implementing project-based learning at home, and delve deeper into what homeschooling can be.

The forum will meet twice monthly, the first and third Mondays of each month, from 12:30 to 2, at the Fall Creek Homeschool classroom. Child care will be provided. One of the first ideas we will discuss is the possibility of a parent-led co-op writing group for 3rd-5th graders. Though the writing group would be taught by parents on a rotating basis, the curriculum and lesson planning will be supported by Charter teachers and staff.


Please mark your calendars for these semester 1 forum dates! 9/17, 10/1, 10/15, 11/5, 11/19, 12/3, 12/17

Junior Master Gardening Program offered to All Programs:  Melanie Burgess, Charter parent and certified gardener, plans to expand her work beyond teaching our high school students horticulture lab and will be working with the rest of our programs next year.  She is passionate about spreading the practices of sustainable gardening to all of our students and through her research and practice in Santa Clara County gardening programs, has found that the Junior Master Gardening Program is the curriculum to do just that.

The Junior Master Gardener program is an international youth gardening program of the University Cooperative Extension network. JMG engages children in novel, hands-on group and individual experiences that provide a love of gardening, develop an appreciation for the environment, and cultivate the mind.  The program also inspires youths to be of service to others through service learning and leadership development projects.

Melanie will work with each of the programs, bringing the students into one of our many gardens one time a month, to work them through the curriculum.  Students who complete the program will receive certification awards.


Level 1 Certifications (1st-5th): Plant Growth and Development, Soils and Water, Insects and Plant Diseases, Vegetables and Herbs, Fruit and Nutrition.


Level 2 Certifications (6th-8th) Ecology and Environmental Horticulture, Landscape Horticulture, Life Skills and Career Exploration.

All of our students will have the opportunity to earn a Junior Master Gardener Certification by 8th grade.  

Coast Redwood Middle School: We are pleased to announce that for the 2018-19 school year, Coast Redwood Middle School will be taught by Keidi Lewis and Mark Thomas, as Marcy Reynolds takes a leave of absence to support an elderly family member.  Class hours, days and location will remain the same, our project-based, collaborative focus will remain the same, the inclusiveness and individualized support will remain the same. The only change will be who is teaching.

Both Keidi and Mark are very experienced and excited to work with Coast Redwood Middle School next year. They are looking forward to working with each other as well as with CRMS families. They have already started brainstorming possible themes for next year.  We can’t think of a better teaching team to facilitate learning at CRMS.

Longtime charter teacher, Keidi Lewis has co-taught CRMS in the past and has been on staff at Coast Redwood High School for many years primarily teaching History, Spanish and Life Skills-related subjects. A lifelong learner, she interested in all subjects… and she loves to teach! Next year Keidi will be teaching at CRMS on Mondays and Wednesdays while continuing to teach and support the students at Coast Redwood High School on Fridays.

Mark Thomas has taught for many years at San Lorenzo Valley Middle School. Ostensibly retired, Mark loves to teach so much that he keeps coming back. He has taught math for much of his career but has also enjoyed teaching woodworking, writing, and drama. Mark really appreciates a project-based, application-focused approach to learning and is looking forward to being able to facilitate that type of learning at CRMS.

Marcy will work side-by-side with Mark and Keidi through the middle of September to help kick off the new school year. She will continue to be available to check in with the teachers, so you can expect to see her at our Parent Orientation Meeting and at various points throughout the year.



Coast Redwood High School Parent Committees: We are excited to hear from our parents about their interest is supporting CRHS. Here is a preview of where parent interests were noted:  - CRHS Boosters Club - Sunshine Committee - Master Gardeners Program

- Field Trip Coordinator   - Graduation Committee - Headwaters Shasta beginning of the school year field trip. - Ashland Oregon Shakespeare field trip.



Dates to Remember:

• August 20: First school day of the 2018-19 school year.

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