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Charter News September 1, 2017-18

posted Sep 4, 2017, 4:54 PM by Rhonda Schlosser

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be

undertaken with painstaking excellence.”       -Martin Luther King Jr.

Dear Charter Families,

We have now completed the first week of school and we ended on such a hot note!  Everyone is shifting back into the weekly groove and the end of Summer has laid its full heat upon us. ...Please take care this weekend to stay cool and not over exert in this extreme weather this weekend.

It is always rejuvenating to kick off the school year by having the first few days of school working on Professional Development with all of our staff.  Everyone in the District and in the Charter took the two days to heart and integrated what was learned into their already full toolbox of strategies. The truth is that it is the passion, flexibility, creativity and relationship skills of the teachers and the broader team that makes a school year shine for our students.  And I must say, (with all humility) that I think that our Charter team is one of the best!  We really enjoy working together. And again with humility, we are supported by a great district that appreciates our out-of-the-box programs and how we work to maintain our flexibility in order to help our students thrive.  Relationship building is key to any and all long standing learning opportunities. I hope you agree that your student’s teacher(s) and program are starting the year building a relationship that is personal and heartfelt.  That is what we have all dedicated to working with this year: maintaining empathic relationships as we teach your children.

Our programs may be unique from each other, and they may support different grade levels, but we do have many things in common; philosophies about developmental, brain-based learning and supporting the whole child, teaching strategies that encourage collaboration, critical and creative thinking, thematic projects, building affinity with our community and the natural world, as well as joyful engagement with others.

One of the foundational elements that all of our programs share is our commitment to supporting the social emotional well-being our our students, your children. This year our mental Health counselor, Jen Sims, will be systematically working with the staff and students each month to help develop a deeper sense of empathy for one another.

Please read her article in the newsletter to learn more.  Also please read on to learn about special All Charter VAPA opportunities for your child as well as special All Charter dates to put on our calendar.

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.

Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend.


From Our Counselor, Jen Sims:  It begins with empathy.

Do you remember the first time that you felt empathy for another person? If not the first time, can you remember the most powerful time?

I’ll give you a minute to think about it.

Next…do you remember the first time you felt someone’s empathy toward you? If not the first time, can you remember the most powerful time?

Take another minute.

When you were remembering these events, what happened for you? What happened inside your body?

Before school started, I had the opportunity to pose the above questions to the teachers and staff who are working with students at SLV Charter and the Boulder Creek Elementary School. Most agreed that even just the memory of events in which they experienced empathy brought up strong emotions. The experience of empathy can powerfully impact our lives, and in fact change them forever. For many of us, empathy is where our paths began; what lead us to be parents, teachers, helpers and healers. That felt experience of seeing and being seen is hard to turn away from.

This year I will be exploring empathy with the students of SLV Charter and the Boulder Creek Elementary Schools (I am the counselor at both). In addition to my usual work of seeing kids individually and in groups, I will be going into classrooms each month to lead activities and discussion geared toward developing student’s empathic skills. Each month I will write an article corresponding with our monthly theme so that parents can stay in the loop of what is being discussed at school and practice more at home. This month, of course, it begins with empathy.

We might think that people are just born with the ability to empathize or not, but according to Dr. Gwen Dewar, empathy is actually a catchall term for three distinct processes: 1. Sharing emotions, which occurs when one feels distress after observing another person in distress, 2. Empathic concern, which is the motivation to care for someone who is in distress, and 3. Perspective taking, the ability to put

yourself in someone else’s shoes. A rare person might score very high or very low across the board, but most of us are going to have varying levels of skill in each of the processes. It will also change over time with development and experiences. Providing children the opportunity to practice will strengthen their abilities.

To be empathic, we need to have the tools to self-regulate. Working with your child to find coping skills will help them set boundaries around the strong emotions of others. It’s hard to stay calm when someone is crying or upset. A natural reaction might be to shut down emotionally or move away from the person, which can put a stop to any empathic response. If your child can deal with themselves first and foremost, they will be better able to respond to others in an empathic manner.

Look for ways to model empathy every day. One of the best ways to do this is by being empathic with your child. When they experience an emotion, ask them about it and coach them through. Try to imagine what things might feel like from your child’s perspective and the things they may or may not have control over. Try to do this even if it is a negative emotion toward you! Having empathy does not mean we will necessarily like or agree with the other person and it does not mean we will solve a problem, but understanding more about someone else’s experience will go a long way in negotiations.

When you are out and about, or watching TV, and see a person in distress ask your child how they think that person might be feeling? With such a vast emotional world out there coming at us at all times, you can use these opportunities to help your child navigate the seas. If you don’t have those resources available (ie, you are alone), feel free to make up scenarios for your child to ponder and discuss. To deepen the experience for younger children, ask them to make the corresponding ‘emotional face’ to how the other person may be feeling.

It has been found that humans experience more empathy with those that share commonalities with them. Help your child understand that regardless of what we may look like on the outside or what we may believe, it is still possible that we are more alike than different. Encourage their sense of curiosity and questions about others. With the Internet as a resource, we have the ability to learn countless things about people from other parts of America and the world without needing to travel anywhere!

Developing a sense of right and wrong that is not based on reward or punishment is essential when it comes to empathy. Working with your child to promote an internal moral compass can help motivate them not only to engage in compassionate behavior, but also to take action when necessary. Older children can learn more specifically about ‘moral disengagement’ and research projects like the Milgram experiment, in which participants were urged to administer an electric shock to another person by a man in an authoritative white lab coat. Despite the fact that the people being shocked were screaming and passing out (they were actually faking it), participants continued to shock them when directed to do so by the authoritative man. Having a cognitive awareness of this possible tendency in humans may help your child make a different decision.

I’m so looking forward to spending this year working with the children, parents and staff of the San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District. If you have any questions or concerns about your child, or would like to sign them up for counseling, please contact me at

Parent Advisory Committee: The Charter’s Parent Advisory Committee is a great way to stay involved in the Charter and to help guide the direction of the programs at the broader level.  Parents in this committee learn about and help shape the Charter’s guiding documents such as the Charter Petition, Local Control Accountability Plan, WASC, classroom support, public relations, etc.  I would like at least one representative from each program to have a voice on this committee.

We will meet the Second Thursday of each month throughout the year. Please come to the First meeting on September 14 from 3-4pm to learn more.   This is a great way for the Booster Club representative to share with each other as well!

If you have additional questions, please email me!

Unique After School Performing Arts opportunities open to All Charter students.

Amber Walker, one of our Charter teachers who specializes in the performing Arts leads two fun and fantastic opportunities that are available to All Students in Every Program of our Charter.  Please read on for more details.  They have become annual favorites for many of our students.

Thrill the World! 2017 (Michael Jackson's "Thriller" Event) Rehearsals

When: Thursdays: Oct. 5 and Oct. 12 and Fridays Oct. 20 and Oct. 27 from 3-4:30 pm

Where: Rm. 29 (the dance room) on the Quail Hollow Campus

No need to sign up ahead of time. Just show up.

This event was founded in 2006 in Toronto and has now spread to six continents. Every October people in cities around the world dance to "Thriller" at exactly the same time.  Preparation and counting down worldwide is part of the fun, but the feeling of being connected to others and dancing together as one is a Thrill like no other!  Celebrating the truly inspirational genius of Michael Jackson in a living and moving way is what keeps people coming back year after year.  This year the event will be held in Santa Cruz on Saturday, October 28, 2017, at the Louden Nelson Center lawn at 3 pm sharp.

All Charter Musical: Cinder-Idol-What the World Needs Now!

Last year we had a great turnout, with 60 students from each and every program in our Charter participating.

Amber will have an informational meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 3 pm for students and parents. The meeting will be held room 17 at the Quail Hollow Campus.

You will get a synopsis of the script, hear about characters and musical numbers, and get detailed info on the rehearsal schedule/requirements.

This year, the play will be, "Cinder-Idol-What the World Needs Now". Once again, it will be an original script written by Janinne Chadwick, which Amber directed and choreographed in 2005 with LPRT (Little People's Repertory Theater.) It is the classic tale twisted together with today's reality talent show craze, with step-sisters resembling the Spice Girls, Motown fairy godparents, 80's big hair rockers, and music ranging from pop, rock n' roll, Motown, and the Beatles.

Come to our meeting to find out more details!

Auditions: 3-5:30pm, Mondays/Tuesdays, Oct. 16, 17, 23, 24 in Rm 29

Rehearsals: 3-5:30 pm, Mondays, and Tuesdays in Rm 29

January Rehearsals: 3-6pm at the SLV PAC, Jan. 8, 9, 16, 22, 23

Tech Rehearsals: 3-6pm, Mon. and Tues. Jan 29 and 30 at the PAC

Dress Rehearsal: 3-6pm, Wed. Jan. 31 at the PAC

Performances for SLV classes: Thurs. and Fri., Feb. 1 and 2 at 10:30 am

Evening Performances: Thurs., Fri., and Sat., Feb. 1, 2, and 3

If you have any questions about any of these dates, feel free to email me at  I look forward to sharing my love of performing arts with your students!


Amber Walker  - Charter Teacher -Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA)

 😀 Put your smiles on and brush your hair, Charter picture days are coming soon! More information will be sent closer to the picture dates.

  • September 11th: Nature Academy 6-8 grade: (during PE period)

  • October 5th: Quail Hollow Homeschool, Quail Hollow Integrated Arts, Fall Creek Homeschool, Coast Redwood High School, Coast Redwood Middle School Picture Day: (time TBD)

             P.S. These pictures will be taken outside for a natural background.

  • October 16: Nature Academy 6-8 grade Picture retake day: (during PE period)

  • November 9th: Picture retake day for all homeschool programs :  (time TBD)

CAFETERIA NEWS: Breakfast is $2.50 and Lunch $3.50. Application for free and reduced lunch can be found on the SLVUSD Nutrition Webpage:

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

Wednesday, Sep. 13: Character Day  All programs will be participating in this Nationwide event in a variety of ways.

Coast Redwood HS:  Auditions for the Fall 2017's student-directed play will be held on Tuesday, September 5th and Wednesday, September 6th  in the SLVHS - MPR starting at 3:00 pm. Callbacks will be announced if necessary. You MUST BRING a ONE MINUTE DRAMATIC OR COMEDIC MONOLOGUE. Preferably off-book. SPORTS: X-COUNTRY Practices are starting after school and open to all. Meet on the track. You must have your athletic paperwork completed.

Coast Redwood MS: The Trowbridge opened their home and hosted the Welcome Potluck. Delicious food, swimming, ping-pong, basketball, and trampoline were some of the activities that brought the students together.

Nature Academy: To kick off their support with Empathy, all students watched the film Inside Out together on Friday.

Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA):First Field trip to Montalvo Arts Center to see Ramayana-The Indian Epic, Sep. 18

Quail Hollow Homeschool: Will have their annual Homeschool Family Campout at New Brighton State Beach Campground September 19-21.  

Fall Creek Homeschool:  Parents have signed up to support the classroom and discussion on Field Trips and online resources for the year were shared.

Mountain IS: Parents met for a long range planning meeting as an opportunity for everyone to contribute ideas and start planning this year’s classroom enrichment activities and special events.

Dates to remember:

September 4: No School --Labor Day Holiday

September 7th:  Nature Academy Back to School Night

September 11th: Nature Academy 6-8 grade: (during PE period)

September 14: Parent Advisory Meeting: 3-4 pm in the Charter Fall Creek Office.

October 5 and October 12: Vision and Hearing screening

October 5: First Rehearsal for Thrill the World event 3-4:30 at the Quail Hollow Campus

October 5th: Picture Day: Quail Hollow Homeschool, Quail Hollow Integrated Arts, Fall Creek Homeschool, Coast Redwood High School, Coast Redwood Middle School Picture Day: (time TBD)

             P.S. These pictures will be taken outside for a natural background.

October 10: All Charter Play Cinder-Idol informational meeting at 3pm for students and parents. room 17 at the Quail Hollow Campus.

October 16: Picture retake day: (during PE period) Nature Academy 6-8 grade

October 27th:  End of Quarter 1 grading period

November 9th: Picture retake day for all homeschool programs : (time TBD)

November 10th:  No School-- Veteran’s Day

November 17: End of First Trimester

November 20th-26th:  Thanksgiving Break

December 22nd- January 7th:  Winter Break

January 25: End of first Semester