Charter News • May 11, 2019


“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” – Albert Einstein.

Dear Parents,

This past week was Teacher Appreciation week.

Each of the Charter teachers is very unique and special as a person and as a teacher who put his/her heart and soul into their profession.  Every day throughout the school year they work with your students to not only learn at their Personal Best but also to be their Personal Best with themselves and with others.

Each and every one of them is dedicated to do their best and to be role models in what we are working to instill in your children.  Each and every one of them shows a strong passion and commitment to their work. They are flexible and responsive to creative ideas and different ways of thinking and doing things. And they are all collaborative and respectful of the diversity of learning styles that our programs offer. I cannot say enough about how much I appreciate all of them.

I trust that you also, share my feelings of gratitude to have them as the staff of the SLVUSD Charter programs.

Please read on for more information about end of year events, our programs still accepting applications and next steps in our lottery procedure. I have also added a brief summary and a link to a pertinent article from Screenager Filmmaker, Delaney Ruston, MD on Middle School students and Social Media.  Delaney’s articles are not too long and she adds several reference links for those that want to learn a little bit more.



A big shout out to Hana Goulart from The Nature Academy. She received an award from the SPCA for winning their poster contest and a humane themed book.

Her poster will be up in the Downtown Santa Cruz Library for the month of May. They will give it back when they take it down. It is also up on their website under the Poster Contest tab.


SLVUSD Parent LCAP Survey, 2019 As a Charter School, we develop our own LCAP goals based on our Charter and assess our progress within a separate report.  For this reason it is important that the Charter Staff hear specifically from the families that we serve. We are seeking input that directly impacts your child.

The short survey that was sent to you last week will help the Charter review and refine priorities and determine goals for our Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP). Thank you to the 25 parents who have already filled it out for us.  I will be emailing the survey link out again so that we can have as large of a representation of our parents' opinions on how we are supporting your students as we can.

Please take the survey more than once if you have more than one child in our programs.

Thank you for your input!


Middle School: The hardest years for screen time: by Delaney Ruston, MD Screenagers' Filmmaker

It is no question in my mind that, on average, the most challenging years to parent around screen time is in middle school. It can take a caregiver on a brutal emotional rollercoaster ride.

Three years ago, researchers at Arizona State University published a study in Developmental Psychology where they surveyed more than 2,200 mothers with children of all ages about how they were feeling about their lives. The researchers then compared mothers who only have children in one age group. You’d think the moms of babies missing out on sleep would be the most stressed. Not so. It was the mothers of middle school age children who reported the highest levels of stress.

But we do not need a survey to tell us this. Those of us with tweens and new teens are living it. I just want to take this moment to validate how freaking hard it can be for some of us.

Why is it so hard? In middle school, kids’ bodies start to change, the hormones start pumping, and their brains begin firing impulses, urges and strong emotions. Our kids start being exposed to risky situations and behaviors. The video games are more violent, the YouTube content is more illicit, social media turns into an emotional landscape, and peer pressure is more prevalent than before.

How we interact with our middle school age kids changes too. The sweet, loving kid who loved to hug and listened to everything you said now flinches when touched and fights many of our rules and expectations.  

Please click here to Read More.  And to hear what has helped me.


Preparing for next year: Applications and Lottery Process: We are still accepting applications for our Homeschool programs for next year.  

  • Coast Redwood Middle School is planning to expand!  There will be more openings for interested families and their students. There will be additional support in Math next year and we are planning an optional third day.

  • Quail Hollow Homeschool and Fall Creek Homeschool still have openings available for next year. There will be additional support in Math next year and the teachers have additional plans of ways to add additional support for homeschool families requesting it.

  • The Nature Academy lottery was held this past Friday, May 3.  We held the lottery for Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA) on May 10 at 3 pm in the Quail Hollow Charter School Office 325 Marion Ave. Felton.
  • We have posted the lists of the lotteries at both the Quail Hollow and Fall Creek Office.
  • The next step is that we will now be emailing those that made it into the classroom and will confirm their acceptance.  
  • If there are any who choose to not accept their classroom slot (some do decline for various reasons), we will begin to contact the families from the top of the waitlist to offer the opening to them.  
  • We will keep the waitlists in our Quail Hollow and Fall Creek offices for families to review. The waitlists remain until spring in the case that a student chooses to exit the programs within the school year.

Talent Show a great Success!  What a wonderful evening!  I was so impressed by all the students.  Congratulations and Thank you to all of the students who participated; for your creativity and bravery, and sharing your talents with your family and friends. And thank you so much, Amber Walker, for the encouragement you give the students and for making it all happen, start to finish!  


A BIG SHOUT OUT to our Master Gardener, Melanie Burgess: Our wonderful Master Gardener has had her last class with all of our students.  Each grade has completed their Junior Master Gardening Curriculum and will receive certificates of completion to certify all that they have learned.  Thank you so much, Melanie, for all that you have taught our students. I have talked to many of the students from various grade levels and have heard first hand how much they have learned. All of the teachers look forward to what transformations the gardens will have with our students next year.


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

CRHS: The teachers hosted a wonderful Open House. Thank you to the board members and Dr. Bruton for visiting. These last few weeks have been very busy with field trips, writing benchmarks, CAASPP testing, a fabulous trip to Ashland, Oregon, P.E. testing, and at last Friday’s Meeting of the Tribes, guest speakers came to us from the CA. State Park Ocean Rescue/Lifeguard team. The team spoke about their personal journeys into this exciting and lifesaving career. Students learned about riptides, ocean currents, the best beaches that one may enjoy and the worse beaches to get caught in a riptide or exposed to a hazard from a cliff fall, from Half Moon Bay to Manresa. Students also learned how our state park/beach lifeguards utilize their jet ski during a rescue. It is far more complicated than we imagined. Thank you, Mary, for coordinating this event!  Seniors are busy getting ready for their graduation ceremony.  Caps and gowns are waiting in the wings for the big event.


CRMS:  The kids showed up for the Headwaters experience with their full selves, participating positively and respectfully in all of the activities offered.  It was life-changing for some and for all it was something they will remember and talk about for years to come. John, one of the teachers there commented at our closing circle that our group was like a big family, all members appreciating and helping each other and also getting on each other's nerves and working through their differences with love underlying it all. It is quite rare and beautiful to be in a group of middle school-aged kids where everyone can be themselves, where each person is seen and truly appreciated for who they are, and where all are included as they express a desire to be. We received a huge order from Muir Woods Trading Company to supply them with our hydrosols. So exciting! We are also building up stock to do direct sales on Mother’s Day at the Tannery. We have started our Legacy project, a waterfall pond for future students to enjoy.


Nature Academy: 6th: Thank you to all who helped with our amazing trip to the Vajrapani Institute. It was one of the favorite trips we have been on!  World Travel Day is coming up we will be doing our country reports and experiencing food from different cultures. 7 & 8th: Renaissance Celebration Day was on Friday, May 10.  The students dressed as notable people from the time period and answered questions about their characters with each other and parents attending the festivities. There was a fabulous demonstration and educational event on falconry. Students were able to learn about and see various falcons, owls, and even a kookaburra. There was period dancing, juggling, art activities, an auction and a feast to complete the day.


Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA): The Ashland, Oregon travelers are back with many tales to tell! What an amazing experience had by all. We have our spring parent gathering coming up and we will be talking about Testing Week, Independent Study Weeks, Pool Party/Advancement, pre-planning for next year, and solidify who our Booster Club which is crucial for our field trips and contracted teachers, both of which are essential to this VAPA program. We had a bittersweet week with students already expressing sadness over the end of the school year, even though we still have a few more weeks together! Students worked hard, focusing on finishing up writing and history projects and activities, and 8th graders had their last day in the charter garden with Melanie. Marie and I had a meaningful community building circle with the girls in class, giving them freedom to express unkindnesses they have witnessed in person or via social media, writing them on anonymous post-it notes, then participating in an “admiration exercise” in which each girl expressed to every other girl a quality they admired in them. The 8th-grade girls offered advice on how to navigate social situations effectively.


Quail Hollow Homeschool: Our day started with an introduction about Children's Day in Japan from parents Lee and Brandi.  he class painted some beautiful carp rice paper that were then turned into kites. They led us in a wabi-sabi tea ceremony. They had kimonos, fans, pictures and other beautiful things to share with us. Martin shared his country report on the United Kingdom and shared some Welsh cookies he and his family made for everyone to enjoy. After lunch and recess, friends came in and wrote a letter from their travel buddies about their experiences in Japan. (I have to say, it is really cool to see the progress in their letter writing skills!) 1st-grade friends were able to use some very special double ”decahedron" dice and 3rd-grade friends used some other special place value dice to roll digits and write the numbers in expanded and standard form. 4th and 5th grades: Reviewed formulas (recipes) for how to solve math questions, worked on more volume. We were treated to a country report by Emily on Greece. She brought in some of her favorite foods to introduce to the class.  Ayla shared a wonderful presentation about Scotland, bringing in some Scottish wool to feel and a cute Scottish highland cow!


Fall Creek Homeschool: We made our individual and class pages for our yearbook. We practiced our puppet plays. We heard the classic story Miss Rumphius in honor of all the lupines blooming across the county right now. The 4th and 5th graders went to the garden. We heard geology presentations from Aydria and Ivan. We watched the performances of our puppet plays. We listened to geology presentations from Owen and Leif. We wrote and drew in our Rainbow Books, reflecting on our favorite activity of the past year. We painted with watercolors using a wax resist method. Mountain IS  So we've been busy, but it's been so much fun to be in "workshop mode." Children have also been completing and beginning new personalized work. Some children were inspired to write and edit their personally inspired compositions today. Most importantly, we really saw many children taking pride in their work and their accomplishments. It was so fun to see the enthusiasm! I could see that they really enjoyed sharing their personal accomplishments at circle, as well. We had a fun-filled day with Oakes back from Africa, peacocks on telephone poles, bunnies, and gopher snakes! Oakes gave us a presentation on Tiger's Eye and gave each child a sample of tiger's eye gathered in South Africa! During work period, some of us practiced for the test next week, insects of the biomes of Africa, and other personalized work. We also worked hard on the Auction project and it's incredibly beautiful!



Need help buying groceries? Apply for CalFresh! May is CalFresh Awareness Month

It can be hard to eat healthy, nutritious food when money is tight. CalFresh, formerly known as food stamps, is a nutrition benefit program that helps struggling families pay for food year-round.   Families that cook together, eat together, talk together, make mealtime a family time.

In 2018, approximately 25,516 Santa Cruz County residents participated each month in the CalFresh Program.  While many families in our community utilize CalFresh to help put food on the table, creating a healthy start for children and fostering healthy eating habits during these critical formative years, many more are eligible but don’t realize it.  

Who may qualify?

  • Families with children, single adults, couples, and individuals who are homeless may receive CalFresh if they meet income and residence requirements.
  • Effective Summer of 2019 Supplemental Security Income recipients, if they meet other eligibility requirements
  • Adults may still be eligible for CalFresh even when they have a job, a home, or a retirement account.

Easy to use

Eligible households receive monthly payments on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card that looks and works just like a debit card, to purchase the food your family needs.  

Help you can count on

  • CalFresh benefits can be used to purchase food from participating grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers markets.
  • Any money left on your EBT card at the end of the month rolls over for use the following month.

Click, Call or Come in…

Apply online at:  or


SUMMER PROGRAMS: Interested in giving your students the experience to see a live Shakespeare play?

Santa Cruz Shakespeare is excited to offer our second annual Student Matinee Week Program in August and September of 2019. We are proud to present Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors as the Student Matinee Production.

During the final week of our 2019 Season, a professional production of The Comedy of Errors will remain open for five student-only matinee performances running from August 28-29, and September 3-5. These 10 am matinees are for students and their chaperones only, and include a post-show discussion with the actors after each performance. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that every single high school student in the Santa Cruz County and beyond has seen a live, professional production of one of Shakespeare’s plays by the time they graduate! Tickets are free for Title I schools, and only $10 per student for all others, with additional limited scholarship opportunities. Plus, we will provide a free adult chaperone ticket for every 15 students who attend. For more information, such as our FAQ page, and to sign up for our Student Matinee Week, please visit us online at

Last year's Student Matinee Week was such a success, that we hope you will join us for our Student Matinee Week 2019! Please contact us if you have any questions or comments; I am more than happy to speak with you by phone at 831-460-6396 x5 or via this email address. I look forward to seeing your school in The Grove Theater!           Best, Alexandra Schroeder; Education Coordinator


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 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 4th: Coast Redwood Middle School 8th grade Advancement Ceremony
    • June 5th: Nature Academy 8th grade Advancement Ceremony 9:00 am
    • June 6: Last day of school for students: early out: 12:15


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