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Charter News February 29, 2016

posted Mar 1, 2016, 10:20 PM by Rhonda Schlosser

One thing is clear to me: we, as human beings, must be willing to accept people who are different from ourselves.       ~Barbara Jordan

“If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” ~Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird

Dear Charter Families,

I took a few personal days off from work last week to support a close friend and her daughter through a personal tragedy.  It made me conscious of several things that I feel are important to share.  First and foremost is the importance of honest and reflective communication. Secondly, the need to respect everyone, to show kindness and to share empathetic understanding whenever possible.  Without the need to share details, the residual lesson I was left with when I came home was how critical it is to remember to consider the perspective of the person you are standing next to, having a hard time with, working along side of.  You never know when taking an extra minute to say a kind word, offer a smile, or an extend a helping hand will mean the world of difference to a person.

Thank you to the Charter administration and to the wonderful teachers for stepping up and so graciously helping me feel so able to take these unexpected days off. It meant the world to me and the people I was with.

Have a great couple weeks, and see you in classes and around the campuses.


Our Charter will offer a new program for 7th and 8th graders next year!

Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA) is a hybrid program within our SLVUSD Charter School, serving students in the 7th and 8th grade, offering an interdisciplinary curriculum and a dynamic approach to learning where the arts are central to academics. Students actively create, communicate through, and respond to their own and other’s work in the four primary disciplines of visual arts, dance, music, and theatre. Adhering to Adopted California Education Standards, the thematic program enhances the understanding of and connections between core content areas.  Collaboration among students, staff members, parents, and community arts partners enrich the in-depth learning with the arts to develop the skills, and quality of mind and character necessary for 21st Century learning.

QHIA is a hybrid program, with an online component in core content areas, combined with a classroom experience for student collaboration and teacher support. Parents work in partnership with the credentialed teacher to determine the amount of independent study and classroom attendance that best supports their student. Students will have the option of up to 4 days of onsite support, Monday-Thursday, with their classroom teacher, Amber Walker.

For more information about this and our other wonderful hybrid homeschool programs, come to our information night on March 22.

Charter Information Nights / Nature Academy’s Lottery Window:

Please share this information with any families you may know who may be interested.

Nature Academy Information Night:

Date:  Tuesday, March 15   Time:  6pm - 7pm      Location:  SLV Middle School Library

Nature Academy Application Window:

Open:  Tuesday, March 15th    Close:  Friday, April 15th, 3:00 pm.

Lottery will be held on April 22 at 3 pm.

Hybrid Homeschool Programs Information Night:

Date:  Tuesday, March 22 Time:  6pm - 7pm Location:  SLV Middle School Library

Parent Advisory Committee: Next meeting: Tuesday, March 15  3-4 pm  in the Felton, Fall Creek office.   PLEASE come to hear about and discuss the final changes in the Charter Renewal, and begin to discuss plans for next year based on the Charter Action Plan and LCAP suggestions.  WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

At our last meeting, We discussed the LCAP Supplemental Funding for the Charter next year.  Parents from four of the Charter programs attended and shared their ideas of what they would like the funds to be used for.  Ideas included: -Hands-on science with professional expertise, -College/Career counseling support from elementary through high school, -Ecology program linking programs in some way from K-12, -All Charter events such as the play, Farm to Table, Community Service days, -Keeping and possibly expanding the mental health counseling support, -Maintaining math tutors and parent support in materials, -Writing support for parents and students, -Life skills classes, home economics, credit and finance.

For those of you who need more background on the Local Control Funding Formula (LCAP) here is a brief synopsis taken from

LCAP stands for the Local Control and Accountability Plan. These plans represent a big change in how California manages its school finances. To understand LCAPs you need to know another acronym: LCFF, which stands for Local Control Funding Formula. LCAPs are the central documents for making sure that local control over funding (LCFF) for schools is spelled out clearly and follows the law based on the 2013-14 California state budget that was passed with bipartisan support and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.

The LCFF calls for school districts to set both district-wide and school-wide goals and spells out the specific action steps needed to achieve those goals for all students but especially for English Learners, foster youth, and low-income students. All members of the school community must be involved in developing, reviewing and supporting the LCAPs: parents, students, community members, school employees and other stakeholders.

The LCAP is designed to provide school districts and their communities with more local control and make it easier to respond to the needs of their students. At the same, the LCAP makes school districts more accountable to provide the necessary programs and resources to create a level playing field for all students. Finally, for the first time ever the LCAP gives parents access to the school district’s budget and planning process and allows parents to help determine its local priorities and approach.

The LCAP is measured according to eight priorities:

1. Student Engagement

2. Parent Involvement

3. School Climate

4. Student Outcomes

5. Student Achievement

6. Course Access

7. Implementation of State Standards

8. Basic Services

Thank you to the handful of parents who attended this meeting and gave me your suggestions.  

It is not too late to email me with your suggestions of what the Charter should add to our programing in order to better support our students.   Please email or call me with any ideas you may have that could help our students within the areas mentioned above.


Student privacy and confidentiality is a top priority of the San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District (SLVUSD). As such, we want to make you aware of a recent lawsuit against the California Department of Education (CDE) that is impacting all school districts across the state, including SLVUSD.

In April 2012, two organizations, the Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Association and the Concerned Parent Association, filed a lawsuit against the CDE alleging widespread, systemic non-compliance by local education agencies with special education laws. The suit also alleges the CDE fails to monitor, investigate and correct such non-compliance in accordance with the law. The CDE denies these allegations and is actively defending the litigation.

Our district was not involved in the lawsuit and is not the subject of any of the suit’s allegations. Nonetheless, as a part of this lawsuit, the CDE has been ordered by the court to release all data it has collected on general and special education students since January 1, 2008 to the plaintiffs in this lawsuit. While the court order reads in part, “No student’s identifying records will be disclosed to the public,” beyond those mentioned in the lawsuit, we wanted to make you aware of this.

Be aware that SLVUSD does not maintain or record individual student social security numbers in any of its electronic student information systems or permanent records; furthermore, student names and confidential information are maintained in the strictest of confidence. This lawsuit and information requirement involves the California State Department of Education and the waiver to prevent the release of student records must be filed directly with the state of California.

Waiver Information: For more information regarding the release of this data and how you can file an objection with the court to consider not releasing your data,visit: You may also contact the California Department of Education at 916-319-0800.

Employment Opportunities in the District:

  • Lead Mechanic-Permanent •   Electrician-Temporary

  • Food Service Worker II-Substitute •  Custodian-Substitute

Please contact Helen Sullivan-Thompson at 336-5193 for additional information.  Applications can be found on the SLVUSD website  Click on the employment link located by the District Office address.

PARENT EDUCATION: Thanks to all of you who have filled out our survey.  Based on the latest input we have received, the majority of you would like to learn more about  • Writing support, more on • Brain Development and supporting student’s growth,  and • Questioning Skills to support critical thinking, and deeper learning.

It’s not too late to add your suggestions.  We will be planning at least two more parent education evenings before the end of the year, and want enough suggestions to carry us well into next year.

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

Today was our trip to the Santa Cruz Symphony for the elementary homeschool groups. What an excellent concert! It was so well organized and executed.  In addition to the entire symphony, members of the Youth Symphony sat and played next to their professional counterparts – so it was a huge orchestra. For the Ode to Joy the Cabrillo College and Youth Chorus sang on the stage. For the Saint-Saens piece the Santa Cruz Ballet danced. For a piece by Louis Prima and arranged by Benny Goodman, the Kuumbwa Youth Jazz Band played with the orchestra. And finally, for the reprise of the Ode to Joy, the students in the audience who brought their instruments played along – and they went through it twice, just to give the kids a longer thrill!

Art After School Program (Our Charter students can attend these, sites corresponding to their grade level). Spots fill up fast, register ASAP! Sessions start March 8.

Santa Cruz Mountain Art Center Presents its 19th Annual  Spring Into Art! March 23-April 16

Young artists have their moment to share their artwork with our community. Anyone under the age of 21 is invited to submit artwork of any medium. Pick Up Entry forms in the Resource Center in Quail Hollow or at the Fall Creek Charter Office

*Free Workshop: Mat framing Your Art" on Saturday, March 12, from 12-3pm.

*Bring Artwork In: Sunday, March 20 from 2-5pm

Nature Academy :   On Friday, March 11th, the 7/8th graders will be going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row to experience first hand the setting for John Steinbeck's novel as well as gain insights into the amazing world of Doc Ricketts and marine biology. This trip will include a lab experience at the aquarium before time to walk around and visit exhibits, followed by a walking tour of Cannery Row, and then some time at the 'Great Tide Pool' in Pacific Grove where Doc spent many of his hours collecting specimens.(unless it is raining too hard!)  This trip compliments the reading of Cannery Row in class as well as our work with classification of the natural world. The aquarium and Cannery Row are a perennial favorite! The 6th grade class is continuing with their Country reports, working on their rock collection for their geology studies, and planning their annual  trip to Headwaters., among many other things.

Coast Redwood High School: INFORMATION NIGHT FOR INCOMING NEW AND RETURNING PARENTS: Monday, March 14 starting at 6:00pm-7:3​0pm (Room P-3) We are inviting current 8th grade families and friends to our Info Night for extended information about Coast Redwood High School as an option for high school. Please bring your questions with you!

WHAT CHANGES WILL BE HAPPENING IN THE FALL AT CRHS? You asked, and we listened! The staff has been in conversation about bringing about changes in the fall. We are excited by the possibilities of what CRHS could offer to all students in an integrated format that includes bringing back Humanities, Shakespeare and the Ashland trip, full integration of our core subjects that would include weekly field studies, further development of an "Outdoor Academy," though we are continuing to flush out a title for this (a-g) environmental studies continuum.

Included in our discussions and input from parents and students are requests for more integration of the arts, music and media in all subject areas. We will also encourage more clubs! Your students have wonderful ideas to share and we are taking all of their ideas under consideration. We are currently discussing moving away from stand-alone core classes that too closely resemble a comprehensive high school offerings and instilling an even stronger project-based, integrated academic hands-on/real-life experience for students.

As we continue our talks and begin building the framework of updating our offerings for the fall, we continue to appreciate your input. We have an awesome group of families with incredible ideas to share. None of our academic changes will impact our (a-g) courses​. Our courses, no matter how they will look and be delivered, will continue to be (a-g) aligned​ and we will continue to offer the home school/independent study option.  ROP classes will continue to be a course option students may add to their schedule. 2016-2017 is going to be awesome!

Coast Redwood Middle School: Here are some of the activities that the students are doing in class together:  Circle Check-In:  Debunking prejudice. Weather Data Collection,   

Partner Bios, Basketball, Climate Science: water as a heat reservoir and watched a short video on the subject.  The kids worked in groups on a density lab Project Presentations, Working in pairs, the kids planned their project presentations. Globe Project, painting asteroids and moons. Writing with Meg, metaphors, similes and clichés in poetry. Writing Study Hall with Lou, Gardening, It is really great to have three adults supporting the kids working in the garden. Students learned  how to inoculate logs with the mycelium plug spawn, one with shiitakes, and one with oyster mushrooms.  Book Club, Andrea helped lead the kids from frustration to critique through a rich conversation, Ukulele Club continues for those who attend.

Quail Hollow Homeschool:  Block 3 is finishing up for many of these classes, while many of them will continue into block 4, which will begin in a week’s time. Tuesday Class Offerings: Ukulele Lessons, On Beyond Zebra!, Wild Wanders, Awesome Algebra, Middle School/High School Writing, Lyrical HipHop Wednesday Class Offerings: Stepping Stones, Chemical Reactions Thursday Class Offerings: Voyager Group, Improv Class, Stepping Stones! , Chess Club , Jump into Spring! Friday: Discovery Play Day.  

Ano Nuevo Field Trip will be on March 17th.

Fall Creek Homeschool:  Words for the week: “truth”, “encourage.”  In class writing included thank you cards and a group letter to their penpals in Sweden. They reviewed procedures for fires and earthquakes. they are painting with watercolors using wide brushes and a wet paper technique, adding details by drawing a fine point brush through the wet paint. There were discussions about group books and what they might do for a new group book. They looked at a number of projects kids have been doing at home for their homeschooling.

Math Tutor: Aaron Shaw, our math tutor, has scheduled hours at the following Felton locations and times:

  • Mondays from 12-3:30  in portable 5 with teacher Brian Heery; Math 1 & 2 emphasis

  • Wednesdays from 2:15-4:00 in portable 28 at the middle school campus

Please come with your math homework and questions ready.

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 14: CRHS information night for Charter families. 6:00-7:30, CRHS Room p3

  • March 15: Nature Academy Information Night. 6:00-7:00, Middle School Library

  • March 22: All Homeschool Programs Information Night. 6:00-7:00, Middle School Library

  • April 4-8: Spring Break