Charter News • March 31, 2019

“Is the spring coming?" he said. "What is it like?"...

"It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...”

Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden


Dear Parents,


Spring Break has officially begun. I heard from students that skiing, hiking, visiting extended family, and just plain relaxing at home are some of the activities they are looking forward to.  I hope you can take advantage of the few sunny days in the forecast, as it looks like we are still in for more rain this coming week.


A week off of school is also a good time to read and discuss a good book together.  Reading aloud to or along with your child from a book that is not tied to school work will help them to become not just a ‘school-time reader’ but also to know that there are books that can stir your soul, make you laugh or cry, or just enjoy a simple story together transported away from the daily deeds and screen time distractions.

Goodreads has some great lists for various age levels.  For those who may be interested, here are a few lists from their 2018 choice awards, the only major book awards decided by readers.  



Educator Jim Trelease explains why reading aloud to your child, no matter what her age, is the magic bullet for creating a lifelong reader.  “A child’s reading level doesn’t catch up to his listening level until eighth grade. You can and should be reading more complex books to younger kids. They’ll get excited about the plot and this will be a motivation to keep reading. There is really complicated, serious stuff going on that kids are ready to hear and understand, even if they can’t read at that level yet.   Reading aloud to your kids is also are a good way to grapple with difficult issues. For example, you can tell your child, “I don’t want you to hang out with so and so,” but that’s a lecture that will probably go in one ear and out the other. But if you read a book about a kid who gets in trouble by hanging out with the wrong crowd, your child is going to experience that directly, and she/he’s going to experience it with you at her side, and you can talk about it together.”   -Adapted from The hidden benefits of reading aloud — even for older kids


May you continue to enjoy our Spring Break and thanks for sharing your children with us!




California State Testing.  When we get back to school, we will be easing into the annual State Testing. The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) System consists of the following assessments: English Language Arts/literacy, and Mathematics (Grades 3-8 and 11) and California Science Tests (grades 5,8, and 12).  


I know that for many parents and /or students this annual testing time is far from their favorite thing to do.  And yet I also hear from many students that they actually like it! ...And then there is the majoring you who just accepts it for what it is: a requirement for many grades that our teachers do their best to make as comfortable as possible for each student.  


I want to thank you in advance for helping your student to be prepared and make the best of these assessments. It is a requirement of every public school to administer the tests each year.


Parents can opt their students out of the test, however, as a Charter school, having a 95% participation rate is a requirement.  (And unfortunately, as a small school, it doesn’t take many parents choosing to opt out to get us below 95%.)

  • The tests are one snapshot of your student's intellectual ability, shown through a specific lens and online format. As teachers, we consider many many other factors in supporting your child’s learning; class and home work, projects, individual and collaborative assignments, and various formative assessments.
  • There is no time limit to the tests.  Students can take as long as they need to to complete each one.
  • Teachers incorporate many breaks within each testing session, as well as snack breaks.
  • The tests are computer adaptive, with the questions becoming easier or harder based on if the student answers correctly.


New this year, The students who opt out are counted as not proficient toward our overall school ratings, bringing the school scores down. If our scores decline, the Charter can go into program improvement, which means another layer of review and reporting is required to make sure we are doing all that we can to support each student’s ability to learn.  


Smarter Balanced is the name of the on-line assessment system that is used to administer the assessments. “Using computer adaptive technology, our tests are customized to every student. When a student answers correctly, the next question will be harder, and a wrong answer will lead to an easier question. This format lets students show what they know.”


There is also a physical fitness test (PFT) for students grades 5, 7, and 9. The main goal of the test is to help students in starting life-long habits of regular physical activity. The test has six parts that show a level of fitness that offer a degree of defense against diseases that come from inactivity. The test results can be used by students, teachers, and parents.


If you would like to know more about the testing here are a couple of sites designed for parents What Parents and Students Should Know.      California's Smarter Balanced Assessments: A Primer   There are many other websites with information on the tests and I invite you to learn more on your own. I am more than happy to talk to anyone who would like to learn more; you know where and how to reach me.  



Special ALL Charter Event!   All Charter Talent Show

Calling all acts for our All Charter Talent Show, to be performed at the SLV Performing Arts Center (PAC) on Friday, May 10, at 7:00pm.

Acts should be no longer than approximately 3-4 minutes in length. Solo dancers, group dancers, solo musical artists, bands, monologues, stop-motion videos, short films...any and all visual and performing artists are welcome! - Student/parent collaborations are also highly encouraged!

We will display 2D and 3D artwork in the lobby of the PAC.

*This year we are auditioning Emcee's! If you are interested in being the emcee for our show, please respond to this email.

Please respond to Amber Walker: [email protected] with the following info by Wednesday, April 24:

  • Name and age/grade of student
  • Contact information of parent or responsible adult: email address and phone number
  • Charter Program they are enrolled in
  • What kind of performance or visual art will be presented
  • Staging needs-such as mats, microphones, piano, extension cords, backing musical track, chairs, etc.  OR
  • Interested in being the Emcee.

Thanks so much! We had a fantastic Talent Show last year with performers from all of our charter programs. Let's do it again! Please email me with any questions you may have.

Sincerely,   Amber Walker   Teacher/Quail Hollow Integrated Arts



Annual Homeschool/IS Mini Maker/DIY Faire  

Our annual Mini Maker/DIY Faire is scheduled for Friday, April 19, from 10-1pm at the Quail Hollow Campus in the Multi-Use Room (next to QHIA classrooms).

It is so much fun, please consider signing up and offering a "Maker Station" for our students.

How it Works:

  • Parents and/or students come up with an easy to make project, bring the supplies, and set up a station for students to roam to, create something from scratch, and bring it home. In the past, we have had draw bots, simple books, reconstructed clothing, mechanical hands, rockets, jewelry, stress balls, bath bombs, all kind of things!  

Check out youtube or google "DIY" creations. There are so many, inexpensive projects to make out there. Consider recycling or upcycling!

Just remail [email protected]  with your Maker Project by Monday, April 15.

*Reminder: Please provide your own supplies

*This is NOT a drop off event. Students must be supervised.


Thanks so much for carrying on this great tradition!

Feel free to email me with questions. Thank you,  Amber Walker


from our Master Gardener, Melanie Burgess: - Things are really starting to bloom in the gardens and we are really starting to harvest our fall and winter plantings!  Happy first day of Spring!

QHIA 7th:  We discussed making a Scarecrow in the garden for their "Eco-Art" project.  We also went looking for ladybugs in our fava bed because fava beans bring ladybugs to the garden.  We get to see the ladybug life cycle on our fava bean plants over the next few months. Students planted daffodils where we saw gophers last year to see if the poisonous daffodils would deter the gophers from coming back, however, we found out that they do not deter the gophers as the gophers just mound dirt around them. Students harvested broccoli, carrots, peas, and arugula. Students transplanted starts of rainbow chard, beets, dinosaur kale, and mizuna.

Fall Creek 3rd Grade: Students planted watermelon and strawflowers for the May plant sale and gardens.  Students also worked on their JRMG leadership project which is beautifying a space in the garden.  Students weeded a bed and then planted an herb garden. Check out the pics! We ended the day with a few rounds of Dinosaur hide n' seek.

CRMS 7th Grade: We discussed making a Scarecrow in the garden for their "Eco-Art" project.  Students are bringing old clothes so that they can build their scarecrow in their last class next month.  Ladybugs are on the students' fava Beans. :) Students planted strawberries in the blue strawberry barrel and then planted a pea bed.  We spent some time replanting the kale bed and took measures to protect the bed so that birds could not eat the seedlings again. Oh... and we did a little weeding, too!

CRHS I and II: While students wrote in their journals as we discussed weather effects on gardens.  Then we talked about how to minimize these weather effects and how this year’s weather has affected our own garden.  We discussed reasons for student propagation successes and failures. Students harvested radishes, beets, and carrots. At the beginning of the year, our students made their own flower presses so we ended the day flower pressing grape hyacinth, calendula, and violas.


Don't Forget:  All Charter May Plant Sale will be Monday May 6th 2:30-4:30 pm at CRHS



PARENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Please come: Wednesday, April 17th at 3 pm

If you would like to learn more, please feel free to contact me directly. [email protected]  The Parent Advisory Committee is a critical component to ensure that parent input has a consistent say in the development of our programs that make up the Charter school.  


A huge thank you to Rachel Trowbridge, Melanie Burgess, and Sandy Trageser for attending the last meeting; Learning about our LCAP goals, and helping to review and revise our annual LCAP parent survey.




Preparing for next year: Application time: We have had our two general information nights are are now taking applications for all of our programs. Please visit our website  or call our office at 831-335-0932 if you or your friends would like more information from any of our programs.   CRHS will be hosting an 8th-grade parent/student information night on Tuesday, April 16 from 6-7: 00 pm at CRHS in room P3

Lottery Application Process: Nature Academy and Quail Hollow Integrated Arts

In accordance with our charter petition, student enrollment will be on a first-come, first served basis at the beginning of the predetermined application window unless applicants exceed space available by the predetermined lottery cut-off date at 3:00 p.m. of that date. Should applicants exceed space available, a lottery will be held at 3:00 p.m. on a predetermined date, in the Charter School Office located at 325 Marion Avenue room 27, Ben Lomond. Our most recent Charter petition and additional information may be found on our website. Charter Information Nights & Applications

Charter Petition (2016 board approval)



Summer Youth Program Flyer


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


CRHS: Students have continued their CBT workshop with Robin Bates. The Coast Redwood High yearbook orders are being taken now. Yearbooks can be purchased for a great price if you order by March 31st. We will be starting state testing right after spring break.


CRMS: We had Robin Bates in to talk with the kids about boundaries, creating healthy boundaries, recognizing boundaries, etc. The afternoon portion of class, plagues, and pestilence scourged the class, as their governments had to deal with a series of terrible events. Mad writing happened all over the class as they scrambled to add on to their constitutions laws and provisions for dealing with things like natural disasters, attacks, the death of a leader, outbreak of disease, drought, etc. Their countries did a pretty good job of holding things together. Poetry was "Anthem for a Dying Youth", about WWI, students lead the class in a special dance as their characters from the Village role-playing game, Trikru.


Nature Academy: 6th grade students brought their Portfolio for Trimester 2 today. Please review the contents and sign the purple slip to bring back Monday 4/8. The 7-8th-grade students added a video component to their Trimester 2 self-assessment portfolio that they shared with their parents. The video was an alternate way for student-parent conferences due to the lack of time it would take to have face-to-face meetings in the classroom. The parents who returned their reflections on the video stated it was a good jumping off point to discuss their students learning and many appreciated the public speaking component as well and many had some constructive ideas on how to refine the videos for next year. 7/8th graders had their annual ice-cream hike on Friday. A big thank you to the parents who come in and lead some of the fabulous electives the students have had so far.


Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA): The students were so engaged all week with their various projects. 6th graders have been creating life-sized posters of the different Body Systems, working in groups with mixed media and also studying Ancient Egypt They researched Egyptian Gods and created some amazing block prints from scratch. 7th/8th graders continue to grow, mature, and ask brave questions in our Teen Talk Unit. They also completing their Common Craft videos on Causes of the Civil War; involving voice-acting, sketching, multiple practices, and follow through. The 7th graders enjoyed a beautiful, sunny day in the garden before the rains came again. Ashland Meeting: I am planning to have a short, mandatory meeting for parents of students going on the Ashland trip.


Quail Hollow Homeschool: What a fabulous week! The children were amazing in their performances of  Cinderella A Modern Makeover! With each and every performance, the young actors improved. We ended up with a great cast party. Please send in pictures of the play - we need them for the

Yearbook! Also, please print out pictures that you have taken over the course of the year and send them in.  We really need contributions for our yearbook.


Fall Creek Homeschool: We finished sewing clothes for puppets, completed story outlines for writing the puppet plays and began filling out storyboards with details for each scene of the plays. The 4th grade went to the garden. We looked at a few books that described the eras of earth’s geologic timeline and the life forms that emerged in each era. The fifth graders led us through an activity of drawing life forms and sticking them to the geologic timeline in the correct era: Paleozoic, Mesozoic or Cenozoic.


Mountain IS: We deepened our connection to Africa and it's inhabitants. We presented how to use the research guides so children have the chance to begin to do reports and presentations on the plants, animals, and people of Africa. We learned a little more about Jane Goodall and her ability to observe the chimps without disturbing them, how it established trust, and how she then took what she learned to help them survive in a changing world.  Earth Day We are gathering vendors and discussing ideas. Thanks to the parents who are already helping coordinate and contact some of the vendors on the list. If you would also like to help, this is a great opportunity to participate in a small or larger task that will make this event special. Thanks!

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.)

    • April 1st-5th: No School-Spring Break
    • April 16th: Coast Redwood High- 8th Grade Information Night 6-7pm
    • May 3rd: Lottery for Nature Academy, if needed.
    • May 6th: All Charter May Plant Sale 2:30-4:30 pm at the CRHS garden. Proceeds benefit all Charter Gardens.
    • May 10th: Lottery for Quail Hollow Integrated Arts, if needed.
    • May 16th: Fall Creek Homeschool Advancement/End of Year celebration
    • May 23rd: Quail Hollow Homeschool Advancement/End of Year celebration
    • May 27th:  No School-- Memorial Day
    • May 30th: Quail Hollow Integrated Arts 8th grade Advancement Ceremony
    • May 31st: Coast Redwood High Graduation Ceremony 12:30-2:00 pm
    • June 5th: Nature Academy 8th grade Advancement Ceremony 9:00 am
    • June 6: Last day of school for students: early out: 12:15