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Charter News May 7, 2018

posted May 8, 2018, 11:36 AM by Rhonda Schlosser

“To avoid trials is to avoid living; the more you go through, the more you learn.”

― Matshona Dhliwayo

Dear Charter Families,

I presume that all of you received the all call from the district regarding the Lockdown that occurred last Wednesday on the Tri-campus. (Please note: while it is mentioned as the Tri-campus, the message also includes Nature Academy, Coast Redwood HS, Coast Redwood MS, Fall Creek HS, and the Ludlow facility)

It was an unnerving event to say the least, but thanks to the wonderful efforts of Ms. Calden at the Middle School and all the supporting staff, the entire middle school campus was secured, our local Sheriff's Deputies responded quickly, and then handled the situation professionally and with great heart toward our schools and our children.  

A huge thanks to the students and staff. The teachers knew just what to do.  And to our very own Danelle Matteson, who managed students that were in our office and fielded calls from concerned parents all of our programs throughout the event. The students handled the situation very well and remained calm and supportive throughout the day.

The district will continue to use the dial out system and the district website to provide information. With every event, we become more efficient and knowledgeable in how to manage the next situation. Here are a few things that we would like to pass along:

  • In a crisis situation, the information immediately available online is often wildly inaccurate.  Once everything was over, we looked online and saw several instances of blatantly incorrect information presented as facts - on Facebook, Twitter, emails, and the websites of local news outlets.  If it isn't coming directly from the Schools or the Sheriff's Office, you should read it knowing it might not be factual.

  • While the schools and school district want to get information out as soon as possible, it may not be right away because we are in an emergency situation where our only concern until it is over is to make sure your children are safe.  

  • At the school sites, we will not be answering phones or emails from the outside. We are on radios and school emails making sure all kids are safe and accounted for.  If we have a minute to put out a quick email to parents to update them on anything confirmed as fact by law enforcement, I will. If we don't have that minute, or if there is nothing confirmed as fact, we won't be using our phones..

  • We want to keep everyone informed, and recognize that in emergency situations it is not enough. We thank you for your patience and understanding.

  • Law Enforcement specifically asks that people do not drive to the site of a lockdown.  First, it could be dangerous. Second, an influx of vehicles coming to scene could delay or hinder emergency vehicles, and third, once an area is secured, anybody driving or walking onto campus could be seen as a threat by law enforcement.

  • Lastly, it is hard to understand why anyone would intentionally make such a false call and raise such chaos, but it happens.  if you have any information about who might have made a bomb threat to the school please call the Sheriff’s Office.


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.

From our Mental Health Counselor, Jen Sims:  Social Justice is something we live.

Last Friday I went to see West Side Story, put on by the San Lorenzo Valley High School and including many talented Coast Redwood Charter students. First, let me say that it was excellent! I could go on and on about all the parts that I loved. My next take-away was the reminder that theater is one of the absolute best ways to teach social justice to the world and ourselves. I’ve been trying to talk to kids about this all month and I’m realizing that it’s not just something one can tell someone about and expect them to get it…social justice is something we absorb because it is something we live.

Spoiler alert: I was a drama geek growing up and coped with my life by joining ensembles and performing. I was in Hair and Evita – in their own way each of these shows discussed huge political and social issues. Putting myself in other people’s shoes and acting out their stories changed me, gave me a wider perspective on the world and a lot of insight for a teenager. West Side Story addresses problematic social issues such as racism, violence, and prejudice against immigrants, things that are still relevant today. There is a big message in this show about the futility of that behavior. In the show, they are dreaming that “There’s a place for us, somewhere a place for us, peace and quiet and open air...” I know that just by being a part of this show these student performers, musicians and crew will walk away from this experience with a deeper sense of the human dynamics that lead to these social justice issues, as well as deeper understanding of themselves. All of us who witness the performance will also have this benefit.

The facts of social justice do not matter: it is the stories that evoke feeling that lead to change. As a kid, I was making fun of fat kids until my mother shared a story of how my beloved – and overweight – grandfather had been teased. Believe it or not, I had never before made the connection. The story was way more impactful than just being told I was wrong. It had an immediate long-term impact because suddenly the story became relevant to me. Nope, altruism does not necessarily come naturally. When working with your child around social justice issues, connect it with something they can relate to in their own life and work outward from there. Experiential activities like volunteering will help, as well as books, movies, and theater.

All humans understand that things can be unfair. “No one is free when others are oppressed” - author unknown. Social injustice requires that someone is on the bottom at all times, and therefore there is not one person in this world that has not experienced the pain of oppression. The way our society works, there is plenty of room for someone to always get a turn at the bottom. I think that acknowledging this is as important as acknowledging that we do have privilege. Otherwise, the same dynamic holds and wealthy able-bodied white men get told they have no problems and are to blame for all the social justice problems in the world – so it’s their turn at the bottom. We don’t have to perpetuate that. It is true that some groups and some situations have more unearned privilege than others in America. If people are busy defending themselves for having privilege they might not be able

to acknowledge it at all and use it to even the playing field.

Use your powers for good. Children have so many different skills and abilities. I have the good fortune to see a unique side of them at school where I am more focused on their emotional life than academic talents. I see so much cool stuff and truly earnest uses of privilege for good. I see older kids helping younger kids and kids with stronger voices advocating for those who might be afraid to speak up. In talking with students about it this month, I know that they are paying attention and aware of the issues that affect larger society. I see a brave willingness in them to sit and have hard conversations, come to agreements and stick to them for the good of the community. I see the opposite of all of this too, but not as much. The negative stuff is louder and more worrisome, but small and large heroic acts also take place every day. Certainly, if we surveyed every single student, most of them would say they were against bullying. In the stories students most enjoy, the bully never wins. In our real life, let's keep elevating and recognizing the students that use the privilege of their resilience to stand up for others and make that the social norm.

Children are natural social justice warriors. Children question everything and all authority! I get it; they are essentially one of the most oppressed classes in society. They will nitpick with me over the fairness of how many gummy bears each person gets, but in reality, I see them put up with lots of unfair things and choices they wouldn’t make. For example, being in school and many of the rules they have to follow. The rules make sense to adults but not to them. This is all good practice for their future life and I encourage each child to speak their mind about whatever issue they find unfair and make a good case for change. I am honest and transparent with them about the reality of the rules. As much as students are working on reading, writing and math, they are working on developing their critical thought about the systems they are involved with and this will come with some resistance. It is our responsibility as adults to have good conversations that help children process their own ideas about change and the world.

When a person has empathy, it is almost impossible not to become involved in social justice issues. Empathy is such a hugely powerful emotion that it alone can be an agent of change. It starts from within, but can be easily translated outward to the world. Social Justice is something that can be noticed and discussed every day, from issues within the home (why does he get to go to bed later than me), to issues in the San Lorenzo Valley (when will the highway nine construction come to an end?), to Santa Cruz County (why is housing so expensive?), and beyond. Looking at life with a social justice lens works well with a growth mindset as it encourages action and change as the personal becomes political. It is something we live.

LCAP; Local Control Accountability Plan: PARENT SURVEY.


A BIG THANK YOU to ALL who COMPLETED the SURVEY. The information you share through the survey is very important to all of the Charter Staff.  So far we have received 64 surveys; the majority from CRHS and Nature Academy.  The number is growing and I am grateful for any and all feedback we receive.  The more completed surveys we get back, the better we can work with the data.

IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO FILL OUT THE SURVEY!  I would love to receive feedback from every parent in the Charter!

Please click on the PARENT SURVEY Link and share your opinion!  

Parent Advisory Committee: LAST MEETING OF THE YEAR:  Thursday, May 10th, from 3-4 pm in the Fall Creek Charter office.  We will be discussing the LCAP funding and our School goals for next year.     All Parents are invited to attend.

The SLSVUSD School Calender for 2018-19 is finalized here is the link to access the calender:

SLV CHARTER TALENT SHOW: Please come and support our charter students We have students performances from every program!

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

Congratulations to Markus Spracklin for receiving an award for Environmental Sciences and his work on Solar Panels in the Real World at the Santa Cruz County Science Fair!

Coast Redwood HS: HEADWATERS ADVENTURE TRIP We are continuing to accept Headwaters participants! SENIOR COLLEGE COMMITMENTS The class of 2018 may be a small class, but they are mighty! We are very proud of each and every senior. Come join us in celebrating their graduation from Coast Redwood High School on Friday, June 8, at 12:30 pm, at the Fall Creek Amphitheater. ALL CHARTER TALENT SHOW Thursday, May 10, 7:00 pm at the PAC. Excellent talent and artists - come out and support our students!

Coast Redwood MS: We started our CAASPP testing this week. We have been working on our garden re-design and have received a donation of several yards of organic compost from Vision Recycling for our garden. Our Jamba Juice fundraiser kicked off last week, these funds will be used to help pay for a garden deck. I have been pursuing the possibility of selling our lotion at one of the local festivals. It would be great to have a chance for the kids to do more direct sales and for them to have an event to work toward with our class business. Students have started working on the yearbook as we go toward the end of the year. Our Natural Bridge Yosemite trip is right around the corner and we are all very excited.

Nature Academy: 6th-grade students are working through rocks and gems unit in science and have begun an elective in crochet. The students are almost finished with their year-long country reports. 7-8th grade class are preparing for their Civil War event, completing their causes of the war booklet and writer’s workshop creative writing piece during that time period.  The details of their Tahoe trip are in their final stages.

Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA): Students presented their research on many different aspects of Medieval Europe. We have covered most of the Nervous System for sciences. We looked at many layouts for our Yearbook, which we will spend a lot of time on next week. Jen Sims came and led a discussion on Social Justice, and we participated in some 50/50 Day activities and discussions including short films on Bias and Privilege. 50/50 Day is sponsored by the same group that organized Character Day at the beginning of the year. It deals with gender and racial equity in all areas of our lives. We also finished our mural!  We have had a fun week putting yearbook pages together, we learned how to collaborate with different rhythms using found objects in our STOMP! class, and doing a CSI Investigation: “Did Shakespeare Really Exist”.

Quail Hollow Homeschool: Thank you to all of our families who made every effort to attend and participate in our annual state testing. It is so important to our school to have all families participate. We look forward to getting back to our regular routine and seeing all our friends next week. We have our Bee Class field trip coming up next week. There will also be an Author’s Reception to celebrate our writers as they have the opportunity to share with our class and families their wonderful books.

Fall Creek Homeschool: We looked at a poster of our local watershed, discussed how that works and noted many of the animals and plants that live in our local area. We worked cooperatively to learn about the elephant seals at Ano Nuevo in preparation for our field trip.  We used wet paper and watercolors to paint a watershed and learned a technique for “erasing” paint to add a new color. Our field trip to Ano Nuevo State Park was enjoyed by everyone. Students learned about this unique marine mammal as well as the other inhabitants of the park including shorebirds, land mammals, and past human inhabitants such as the native Ohlone and historic light keepers. We enjoyed mini-lessons on Coastal Marine Wetlands, Birds of the Wetlands, and endangered species. Students embraced the opportunity to view actual elephant seal skulls, compare sizing and learn about tracking devices. We helped Natalee with a letter-writing campaign to help the oceans: we wrote letters to local stores and restaurants to ask them to only carry sustainable fish.

Mountain IS:  Students have been busy taking the State tests, preparing for a talent show.  Families took a field trip to the Everett Family Farm and learned all about organic farming.  In class, they worked on Mandalas and a Mexican Train.

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.)
  • May 22: Fall Creek advancement celebration

  • May 28:  Memorial Day: no school

  • May 31: Quail Hollow  advancement celebration

  • June 7: Quail Hollow Integrated Arts advancement celebration

  • June 8: Coast Redwood High School graduation ceremony

  • June 13: Nature Academy (9:30-12:30) Coast Redwood MS (3:00-7 pm) advancement celebration

  • June 14th:  Last day of school