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Charter News 3/21/2015

posted Apr 10, 2015, 3:41 PM by Rhonda Schlosser

"Begin today. Declare out loud to the universe that you are willing to let go of struggle and eager to 

learn through joy."           ~Sarah Ban Breathnach

Dear Families,

So far we haven’t had much rain, but gauging by the flowers blooming and the students excitement level, Spring is swiftly on it’s way.  Luckily Spring Break is just a week away as well.  Hopefully everyone will fully enjoy a break from school and do something joyful in this beautiful weather we have.

As we move closer to the testing window, I will continue to share updates.  We had a small turnout for the Testing Forum that was held this past Friday, March 20. Below are the general notes from the meeting.

I know that everyone has busy schedules, and want to make sure that everyone feels free to contact me directly if you would like additional information.


New State Online Testing is coming in April and May

Moving away from fill-in-the-bubble tests and how assessments are changing:

For years, most year-end tests were mainly multiple-choice exams that focused on basic skills. These tests did not measure the skills students need for success after high school, such as writing, critical thinking, and problem solving. With new education standards, states are working together to develop tests that better measure these important skills. In 2014-15, all California schools will replace their old State tests in Language Arts and Math with new online assessments designed to better reflect how well students are learning the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in today’s world.

The SBAC online assessment is only one part of the systemic changes occurring in our school systems over the last few years.

  1. The state implemented the Local Control Funding Formula, to give our schools and parents more control over a portion of their budgets.

  2. Then, in 2010, the state introduced California’s Common Core State Standards.

  3. Next, there was training for our teachers on how to change their classroom dynamics to engage their students; more collaboration, more inquiry.

  4. Finally, they rolled out the new adaptive assessments to check how this new system is working.  

Because the things we want students to know and be able to do have changed, tests must change as well.

The new assessments fit into the picture in this way. The system to evaluate how well students are learning has three different types of assessments – two informal and one more formal.

  • Informal: Formative and interim assessments, that are used to understand where the child is and to modify instruction are done by the teachers. They are not for accountability, but for learning. (Teachers and parents use informal assessments daily; when we ask a student to show us how they did something, or ask them questions about what they are doing.)

  • Formal: Summative assessments are administered by the State. In California, the tests were developed by an organization called the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and are replacing the previous STAR tests.  Every student in public schools are required to take the State tests.  Each test

SBAC in 2015: A Few Facts:

•  The SBAC assessments will only be taken by students in Grades 3-8 and Grade 11

•  The SBAC assessments cover only Math and English Language Arts

•  All SBAC tests are administered on a computer

•  SBAC results do not determine whether a child will graduate or move forward to the next grade level

•  The SBAC assessment does not replace the traditional high school exit exam (CAHSEE)

•  The SBAC results will not impact teacher evaluations.

•  This year, due to the newness of the test, there will be no API score, which is the State score that measures the academic performance of each school.

•  There will still be an AYP score, which is the Federal’s score that shows Adequate Yearly Progress for schools and districts.  In order to achieve this score, schools need to obtain a 95% rate of participation or better.

What are the new State tests trying to accomplish?

  • Measure real-world skills.

  • Allow students to apply knowledge and skills through critical thinking, analytical writing, and problem solving.

  • End teaching to the test.

  • Encourages students to navigate technology, a key to 21st century learning.

  • Include activities that more closely mirror what students are learning, including through collaborative portions.

  • Provide a more accurate understanding of student knowledge than previous tests because they ask students to show and apply what they know, instead of just picking the right answer from a multiple-choice question.

  • Include a greater variety of questions.

How you can help your child prepare:

  • Read and Discuss Non-Fiction books and articles

    • Ask children to explain their thinking. How do they know what they know, where is the evidence in the text?

  • Use Math for Real World problems.

    • Ask children to explain their thinking as they go along

    • Work on speed and accuracy of the explanation

  • Help them practice their typing abilities.

  • Practice the tests online:  

(To access the practice tests, scroll down to the green box at the bottom of the web page that says Student Interface Practice and Training Tests.  Clicking on this should take you to a sign in screen that is already scheduled for a guest to sign in.  You can then click on the sign in button, where you can choose the grade you’d like to try.)   PLEASE NOTE: The practice tests are not adaptive like the real tests will be. That means that the questions do not adjust based on the answers given.

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

BC Homeschool: For the first time, their annual play, Hansel and Gretel will be performed in the PAC! They will be performing to a packed house this week! SLE students Tuesday and Wednesday at 10:30, and for parents and the general public Thursday evening at 6 pm.

FC Homeschool: Will be supporting their fellow Charter students by seeing the HAnsel and Gretel play on Thursday.

SLV Homeschool: Between their block schedule of classes they will be having a special event:will be offering a special event called Math Fact Mastery this coming week. Students who have yet to master the Multiplication and Division facts are invited to attend and get these “math demons” conquered!

Nature Academy: Mr. Kiersted’s class is studying Egypt and Geology, Ms. Stocton’s and Mr. Milhous’ classes will be going to Venture Quest Kayaking for two hours of kayaking and to Cowell’s Beach for a lunch and cleanup, on March 27.

CRMS: The students got microscopic with their neuroscience studies this week, looking at neurons themselves and how they work. Experimenting with a cockroach leg the kids got to see/hear action potentials in real time through using the Spikerbox.

CRHS: Our high school students have completed their conferences with their cohorts, and continue work in their courses and projects. Their garden area continues to grow, and one student will be building a new arbor to expand their gardening potential.

Safety on the Quail Hollow Play Field.  

The Quail Hollow field is used by the broader community throughout the days and week-end by various groups and all ages. We regularly find broken glass, screws, bottle cap lids and dog poop in the grass and sand.  Safety is an issue on the field and in the sand area! Please have your children keep their shoes on while playing on the school grounds. Also, please remember that it is important that parents supervise and remain aware of their children while playing between classes or after school.  



Tuesday, March 24, 2015.  6-7 pm. SLV Middle School Library

Come meet the teachers and learn more about the various homeschool and hybrid/homeschool programs of this vibrant K-12 Charter School.  Program options include: SLV Homeschool (K-12), BC Homeschool (K-5), Fall Creek Homeschool (K-5), Coast Redwood Middle school (6-8), Coast Redwood High School (9-12).  For more information please call 336-5167  

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.)

  • March 24 - SLV Charter: Homeschool programs Information Night

  • March 30th- April 6th:  Spring Break (yes, we have the Monday off following the full week off)

  • April 10-May 15: Testing window.  The Charter Programs will not be testing during the same time.  We will be sending you specific dates for the program that your child participate in shortly.

  • May 25th:  No School-- Memorial Day