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Charter News: June 9, 2016

posted Jun 10, 2016, 1:57 PM by Rhonda Schlosser

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Dear Charter Families,

Happy last day of school!  One more school year has come to an end, and with the community effort of parents, teachers, and peers, each of our students have worked their learning, developed their skills, and proved their mettle in ways both obvious and hidden to the visible eye.  Yet each of us who have had the year to get to know your child definitely do know of their inner strength, their spunk, strength of character, and their determination to do well this year.  Thank you for sharing their unique wonderfulness with us.  And congratulations!  Whether your child made that giant leap called graduation into the world beyond our realm, or advanced from 8th grade, 5th grade, or simply are progressing on to a next grade, there is much to celebrate.

The first school day back is August 22.  Expect a welcome back letter from us the first week of August.  You will also be receiving welcome letters from your Charter Program teachers as soon as they are ready!   Our offices will be closed for the month of July.

Now shake off those school day routines and find summer joy together in whatever you like best.  Enjoy the outdoors, a special book, a destination near or far.  But most of all, enjoy each other.

And please come back to us refreshed, relaxed, with stories to share, and ready to join in another full and fabulous year.


A Fond Farewell

We say our goodbye to John Kiersted, a special teacher who is retiring this year.

John Kiersted served SLVUSD as an elementary teacher for 29.5 years, mostly in 6th grade at Quail Hollow, SLE but most importantly in the Nature Academy Program for the SLV Charter.

John will be remembered for his commitment to not just students’ academic, but emotional development as well. He has an unwavering dedication to teaching with a focus not only on the content standards,  but also with helping students connect to each other and to the natural world.  We always will remember his quiet groundedness that helped to form his classes into a family-like community.  He truly cared for each child that he taught.

John, we all thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the years you gave to teaching the many classes of children that were lucky enough to be your students.

Welcome to our new staff and teachers!

Replacing John, we welcome Rosie Hope.  Rosie is very excited to step into the 6th grade Nature Academy position.  In fact she has spent many days already in the classroom, has come to some of the end of year events, including the ever significant Headwaters trip. Tamar loves to bike, work in and with nature and likes to hike as well. She has a long list of creative ideas that she is looking forward to sharing with the students. She is a person who jumps in with both feet and has the excitement and can do attitude that gets everyone excited to learn.

We are also adding to our math expertise next year.  Brian Heery will be working solely with our high school students, and we have hired Tamar Ragir to work with the Nature Academy students. Tamar is both a math enthusiast and an outdoor lover. She holds a BA in mathematics from UC Berkeley and has been working as a mathematics content specialist in a variety of research and publishing organizations for the past 15 years as well and tutoring and teaching math at various grade levels. Through this work Tamar has developed deep knowledge of K-12 math content, the latest research on math learning progressions, and assessment. Tamar enjoys surfing, hiking, drumming, and learning new things. She is excited to begin teaching math for us in the Fall.

Also joining us is Jen Kelly.  She will be joining the SLV Charter School community as our academic counselor. We will be sharing her with SLVHS. She worked for the SLV Unified School District for the last two and a half years as an Instructional Aide for the high school, working closely with the teachers, administrators, counselors, students and their families.  She recently graduated from SJSU earning a Master's Degree in Education Counseling and her Pupil Personnel Services ( PPS) Credential. She is excited to use her extensive training from her program and her experience as Counselor Intern at SLVHS to move into the position of school counselor for the Charter Program.  

Jen Sims, our mental health counselor, with continue with us but with an additional percentage.  Many parents have shared ideas social emotional themes that they would like to hear more about. We are already planning student and parent education education for all of our programs.  I am glad that having her with us for 40% will allow us to deepen our mental health support for our students and families.

Support safe routes to school: Consider signing this petition Photo from Bryan Largay

Highway 9 can be safer for kids going to school, for people walking and biking. Santa Cruz County, the Santa Cruz Metro, and Caltrans are working together to build a sidewalk from Fall Creek Drive to SLV High School, along with an improved bus stop. If that sounds good to you, please visit the petition at the link below. Santa Cruz County is applying for a grant from Caltrans to support this project. More signatures means a better chance of winning this $500,000 grant. This is just one of many important improvements to make Highway 9 a safer place for walking and biking.

A petition using has been established for this project. Please consider supporting this important work.

  • Be sure to uncheck the box if you prefer that they do not send you emails for other petitions.

  • A confirmation email will be sent to you.

  • Your name or email will not be used for purposes other than to demonstrate community support for this project.

Petition link:


LAST WEEK TO REGISTER UNTIL AUGUST!! Please complete our New Student Online Registration so that your student is registered and ready to go for the first day of school on August 22.

All annual student online registrations must be submitted by the parent/guardian no later than Friday, June, 17.

If you have not yet registered, please do so now. It would be much easier if you completed your child’s registration for next year before this school year ends.

We have heard that parents are finding this system much easier to complete and many have already completed their student’s registration for next year.

If you already have a parent account, you just need to log into your PowerSchool parent account and then click the “PowerSchool Registration”, which is a link in the menu items.

If you do not yet have a parent account, and have not received an email from Gail Heagerty,  our Student Information System and Database Specialist, please check your spam folder.  Please give her or Julie Walker a call if you need help.

What’s Going on in Our District?  ..wanting to make sure you are aware of changes in  the greater district picture.

In an effort to keep parents and community members informed, there will be several significant administrative changes in San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District for the 2016-2017 school year.

Both Keri Billings and Karen van Putten, have opportunities to take on new challenges for the next school year and will be leaving their current positions as Assistant Principal and Principal at SLVHS. We are proud and thankful for both of their contributions to SLVUSD and wish them the best. They will be missed along with their energy, enthusiasm, and passion for learning.

We welcome the new high school principal, Jeff Calden, and Ned Hearn as his Assistant Principal. Ned Hearn will be a great addition to the administrative team. Shannon Calden will be leaving SLVE to take over the helm at SLVMS. The Principal opening at SLVE will be advertised in the next week and we hope to interview by the end of June.

Please also welcome Danielle Winters as the new Assessment and Data Coach. She will be working with all SLV teachers throughout the school year. We can all look forward to an exciting and productive year. Thank you for your support for staff and students in the San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District.

Congratulations to:

SLV Champion New Position

Keri Billing, SLVHS Assist. Principal Principal; County Lane Elementary

Moreland School District

Karen van Putten, SLVHS Principal Instructional Services, Student Projects, SLVUSD

Marc Mercer, SLVHS Athletic Director Fisher Middle School, Los Gatos Unified

Jeff Calden, SLVMS Principal SLVHS Principal

Ned Hearn, SLVHS Science teacher Assistant Principal, SLVHS

Shannon Calden, SLE Principal SLVMS Principal


Laurie Bruton, Ed.D.