Charter News • December 1, 2018



"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself." ~John Dewey



Dear Parents,

This past Friday was our annual Holiday Craft Fair, the culmination of many hours of work by students and their parents and our supportive teachers. Students from nearly all of our hybrid-homeschool programs participated in this annual event. This event is such a great example of entrepreneurial learning!  It is a fabulous way to learn about marketing, supply-and-demand, cost-benefit analysis, trading, and bartering, let alone gaining benefit from the joy and camaraderie that was palpable in the room.

The multi-purpose room was packed with over 40 different students and their parents selling their crafts. I saw such a variety of creative endeavors, both in product and in how they were marketed to sell. One young girl was showing potential customers how she spins wool into yarn, beautifully displaying her skeins around bunches of flowers and the machines she uses to make her product. Several boys had taken the time to separate Lego legs, bodies, and heads into different bins; allowing buyers to create their own Lego creation they wanted to buy. Another student let buyers mix and match the pieces needed to create a necklace. One boy was baking fresh cookies for his buyers. I stopped at many a table and listened to students sell me on their product. Many students were making their product at their table as they sold. Great skills in action!  

And as for any leftover items not sold?  I can imagine many other next steps; what to do with any leftover food or tie-dye socks? Share with friends and neighbors? Give to a homeless shelter? Our CRMS program makes and sells lotions, so the next step in this sale is a cost analysis and net profit of the sales.  For our QHIA program; what to do with the profits made from their artistic creations? For individual families, there could be discussions around net profit and the set price of items.

A huge thanks to everyone who made this event the success that it was. I can hardly wait for next year!

Please read on for news from our counselor and a personal idea from staff member Danelle Matteson.




From our Counselor Robin Bates: Self Care

Happy holidays families!  


With demanding schedules, fundraisers, projects, family events, financial stretches and changed eating habits, sometimes the holidays can feel a little less than jolly.  The expectations can be high, and things like Pinterest don’t help matters!  This is the time of year that we often can feel split between our outside and inside world - we can create a “mask” to meet the demanding expectations of others while having mixed emotions on the inside. Some of us struggle with grief or images of “how it should be”. We want our homes and ourselves to look the part for the holidays, and we often put the needs of others ahead of our own.  I often hear from people that they “lose track” of themselves in the midst of it all.

This is the time of year for self-care, and often the time when it’s last on our list.  The first step in self-care is to stop and pay attention to what is happening:  with our bodies, our thoughts, and our emotions. I often tell my clients to “Stop. Observe. Breathe.”  as often as they can to check in with themselves.  From there we then ask from a scale of 1-10 how intense the experience is, followed by the question, “now that I’m feeling this way, what do I need?  A bath?  Coffee with a friend?  A nap? One big nourishing deep breath? One of those 5-minute mindful vacations?” Sometimes simply naming the discomfort is enough to lighten our load. Awareness and mindfulness is key to any shift in mood or behavior. It takes practice to learn to listen to ourselves in this kind of way.  

Self-care needs boundaries and limits on demands and expectations. Self-care also needs self-reflection in order to check in and identify issues that need to be addressed.  And self-care needs action - even if the action is to stop for a moment and rest.

Here’s an example of how it’s worked for me-  I’d noticed over the past few weeks that I had slowly crept into  “micro-managing” my 5th grader in the morning, which would often end in a power struggle and total energy drain (self-reflection - I recognized that this power struggle was mine and it was draining my energy)!  I decided to experiment by focusing on myself one morning, simply giving him reminders of how much time is left to get ready (setting boundaries with time but limits on how involved I would be). And, lo and behold, he did it all on his own - shoes and socks and breakfast and homework included.  I still had energy and actually got to enjoy my morning coffee (action - I slowed down and enjoyed a moment of peace)! I was humbled. Not only had I empowered him, but I had empowered myself.

Children have their own set of challenges during the holidays.  They can create difficult expectations on themselves.  They are also like little sponges, often absorbing and reflecting what we parents are struggling with.  I remember a few years ago when I noticed my younger son would struggle at school on the days I felt the most stress, even if I wore a mask and squeezed a smile out on my face and thought he couldn’t see my stress.  Younger children can often express their feelings through their movement, art, and other behaviors because they do not have the words yet to express how they feel. The good news is that our children benefit from our wellness and we can model for them what self-care looks like!

In the classrooms, we’ll be looking at tools for self-care.  Young children can practice identifying their experience (including emotions) in their bodies through play, art and discussing books.  Older children can learn to identify their stressors and practice strategies for focusing on building a more positive relationship with the body and mind. I have a self-care wheel that they’ll get a chance to fill out to recognize their wellness strengths and challenges and we’ll play with mindfulness activities!


I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and, most of all, I hope you all give yourselves the gift of mindful and compassionate self-care.     ~Robin        


Parents Corner: Screen Time Drama: what I have found has helped in my home.

As a parent and a school staff member, I have experienced the dreaded screen time struggle with our students and my own children. It has become an addiction for many children that it is impacting all of our lives and changing our family home time together. I am seeing kids spend more and more time online rather than with their friends and families. They appear to be losing those personal face to face connections which is such an important part of their social development. Not to mention the sleep deprivation and distraction (and sometimes obsession) of screen devices that also happen! My own children have become a victim of being the online generation and as their parent, I have let it happen (I have to own it!).

My husband and I, as part of a plan to help our youngest daughter unplug, started researching apps to help limit the screen time and all the drama surrounding trying to monitor and control it.  Just recently we discovered a setting on our iPhones that allow us to limit screen time on her cell phone and iPad. It is on all Apple devices with IOS 12 or higher versions. You can actually go into your own iPhone settings under Screen Time, and if it is linked with the child's device, control it from your phone or you can control it from the child's device through a password. You can set time limits for a total number of hours per day, actual time parameters (7:30am-9pm) or both. You can set it up to limit time or shut down certain apps or all apps. You can also control content and privacy restrictions.

There are similar apps available to download onto any of your devices that are not Apple products. There are quite a few to choose from so you would need to research which ones would work best for your family,  should you choose to use this option. I know for our family it has been very helpful so far. Our youngest daughter is now going to bed (at a decent hour for a fourteen-year-old) with no fight about the devices being turned off and/or surrendered. I would encourage all of you to investigate this option if you are struggling with your child around screen time.

It is reducing the stress and empowering our whole family!  ~Danelle

(Read more in the Tech Talk section below)



Tech Talk: How to say “No” Effectively (Adapted from Delaney Ruston, MD Screenagers' Filmmaker)

There are so many reasons why for many youth screen time has crowded out activities and interactions that would benefit them—in other words, why they are experiencing excessive screen time.

One of the reasons is the inner discomfort that many parents (and teachers) feel from saying “no” to their children and teens. Saying no and being able to tolerate the myriad of emotions that result, such as guilt, self-doubt, and sadness is challenging for many people. On top of that, the child may add on their own negative emotions to the “no,” such as anger and disgust. Having to tolerate any one of these emotions, let alone several of them at one time, is a major undertaking.

Perhaps you have been wanting to set new limits, such as saying “no” to screen time in the car, “no” to screens in the bedroom at bedtime, “no” to screens at the dinner table. Here are some tips.

Prepping to say the “no”
1. Spend time writing out why you want to set this screen limit so you feel confident that it is an overall positive thing for your child—such as providing undistracted time for better sleep or for them to build in-person relationships.

2. Remind yourself that there are hundreds of studies that show parenting with love, but with boundaries, leads to the best outcomes (vs. command and control type parenting or a passive parenting style.)

3. Baby steps are key. Just pick one thing you have wanted to say “no” to and work on that single challenge. Start with the easiest one.

4. Know that you are modeling to your children, students, girl scouts, etc. the deeply important skill of “acting with integrity.” If you really believe, as I do, that having times undistracted by devices is good for youth (and all of us), then you are showing them that you are willing to act in line with your beliefs even though it means stepping into discomfort.

Fostering autonomy: Achieving greater autonomy as one enters adulthood is a primary human need. Whenever possible give your child some agency around the “no.” For example, you realize that you think that it is more beneficial to your 13-year old that devices, including the phone, no longer be in her room at bedtime. You do the steps above and now want to appeal to her need for some control. Ask something like, “What time are you thinking the phone should be put away? Should I come and get it or should you give to me at that time?”

Holding person accountable: One of the biggest gifts we give is holding people we care about accountable for their actions. It takes energy to do this and yet payoffs are well worth it. So know as you do the work to enforce the “no” that you are giving a gift, one of energy and dedication.

You can find more information and read more Tech Talk at



PARENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Please come: Wednesday, December 12  from 3:00-4:00 pm. We will be discussing our safety plan and continue with reviewing long-term priorities. There are not representatives from every program yet, but I trust that those that came once, can come again.  I would like to hear from all programs when it comes time to prioritize and plan next year. If you would like to learn more, please feel free to contact me directly.

The Parent Advisory Committee is a critical component to ensure that parent input has a consistent say in the development of our programs that make up the Charter school.  



What’s Going on in Our Charter School?  ..little snippets of some of our programs.


CRHS: Congratulations to the SLV cross country girls team! Our own, Kaleigh Pennington and Amaya Gordon and Ben Miller were among the standouts. Football players included John Reed and Chris Bond. Waterpolo standouts this year included Gabriel Enns, Andrew Enns, Mason Schertz,  Bella Ross, and Kyriana Hardenbrook. Great job! The winter sports competitions to enjoy after school include Wrestling; watch for Scott Reese, and Andrew Enns in Soccer as well as Basketball that includes Nicole Fraser-Thiede and Lili Trageser. Friday, December 14 - Meeting of the Tribes (all grades) and a senior meeting and Nov/Dec B-Day celebration as well as an Ugly Sweater contest. Watch for a flyer next week of categories to win a raffle prize of a Starbucks or Jamba Juice card!


CRMS:  We prepped for lotion making and sold three different types at the Craft Fair. We made decisions about the End of the Year Potluck and Secret Snowflakes. Students continued the poetry work they've been doing by reading the Walt Whitman treasure, "Oh Captain, My Captain". Students looked at ancient Chinese belief systems, Taoism and Confucianism. Melanie taught 8th graders Junior Master Gardeners lesson on drip systems and experimenting with gopher resistant plants.


Nature Academy: The students and teachers have completed their personal assessments on the academic and life-skills progress for the first trimester and report cards, along with the reflection pieces will be sent home this week.  The second trimester has begun; an opportunity for everyone to highlight areas of strength and goal setting for areas that need more attention. The 6th-grade class will be going to Gazo’s Creek with Tim Corcoran on Monday as part of their nature studies. The 7/8th-grade classes are beginning a new round of electives including another round of building cooking skills, court sports, and needle felting and jewelry making led by talented parent volunteers.


Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA): What a jam-packed, art-filled week we had returning from our break! The Winter Holiday Craft Faire today was a huge success. The QHIA students rallied yesterday morning, with Seleona’s help, creating handmade sculpey “buddies” to hide in the homemade silly putty that they made for our “Putty Buddies”. They also created 3 x 3 paintings on canvas which were well received. Our field trip to Wowie Zowie wasn’t quite what we expected: more of a demonstration of skills geared towards a much younger audience. Regardless, the students were awesome, respectful, and had a good time being together. Sixth graders began their nonfiction unit with an “Intro to Teen Activism”, watched a video clip about Malala Yousafzai, and started their book clubs. Seventh and eighth graders studied Washington’s farewell address as it connected to Lin Manuel Miranda’s rendition in “Hamilton” and watched a clip of “One Last Time” performed at the White House.


Quail Hollow Homeschool: Grades 1-3 started a puzzle of building on with patterns using link cube manipulatives, focusing on explaining and showing what each thought was the solution. We discussed the difference between "digit" and "numbers". With specific digits, students showed the largest and smallest number they could make sharing different strategies friends used to come up with their numbers. Grades 4-5 worked on critical thinking problems: fractions and multiplication division in word problems then made individual place charts. We were treated to a slideshow presentation by Manzanita and her mom, from their recent trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. It was wonderful!!! Ayla and Moya's mom came in to teach a print-making lesson. Each child was able to make a stamp, ink and print a few cards.  These were then sold at our Holiday Craft Fair. Thank you, Ida! We also worked on our travel journals, another part of our theme of 180 days around the world.


Fall Creek Homeschool: We made a book of mineral crystals from all over the world and colored them according to the written descriptions. We listened to the life story of Robert Goddard, a scientist who was at one time two years behind grade level and yet became a world famous rocket scientist with his name gracing NASA’s space flight center. The 4th grade went to the garden. K-4 used balances to weigh their rocks with cubes and other counters. They plotted the weights on comparison charts. The 5th grade used Chromebooks to research a chosen rock or gem, write a “rock profile” and enter it into their rainbow books. We listened to the book The Gardener by Sarah Stewart about a girl in the 1930s who brought a garden to an unhappy tenement of relatives. We painted a waterfall with watercolors.


Mountain IS: This week we continued with our appreciation of the indigenous peoples of North America, revisited the concept of interconnection and deepened our sense of gratitude for our "extended family"  (parts of the biome). This time we read, “Giving Thanks: A Native American Morning Message, by Chief Jake Swamp, Erwin Printup Jr. Then several of us took time in our work period to think of what we are grateful for in our lives, wrote it down and painted fall leaves in appreciation. During our work period, some children are making good use of our Plants, Animals & People of North America. Navajo, Inuit, Amish, and Cajun are some of the people our classroom resources highlight and children have the opportunity to learn about how they get about (transportation), house & clothe themselves and special contributions their cultures make to our world. Other children are focusing on plants and animals of NA, or Parts of the Fish, Bird, Reptile, Amphibian, and Mammal.



New opportunity for SLV Charter: General Music and Band: Carey Liston is now teaching two music classes for the Charter students: General Music for our 4th and 5th graders, and Band for middle school students who have a year of playing an instrument under their belt. It is somewhat if an uphill battle as there are many conflicting schedules to work with. My hope is that both classes take off so that they can continue next year!  If you have students in these grade levels please join; there is still space! She plans to give a small performance in December so that their skills can be shared.



Community Opportunities:



Dates to Remember: (Please refer to your program’s newsletter for greater detail regarding dates and details specific to your program’s Field Trips and class events.)

  • December 21st-Jan 4th:  No School- Winter Break

  • January 21st: No School: Martin Luther King

  • February 11th: No School

  • February 18th: No School

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