Charter News  • September 8, 2019


"It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed." ~Charles Darwin

Dear Charter Families,

A big Thank You to all the parents who attended Back to School Night or initial Orientation Meetings to start your student’s year off. All Charter programs have such wonderfully dedicated parents and it has been so nice to see the more ‘seasoned’ parents welcoming the newer parents into the programs.  

Volunteerism is a huge aspect of every single one of our programs. We couldn’t do what we do without it!  It is a strong teacher who opens the door to have parents in their classroom to help. Among other things, parents helping in the classroom allows for observation of the learning and teaching process, an ability for parents to try on a different hat as a facilitator/helper in front of their child, and for all students to see different ways of working on the same assigned activities. Teachers like to have their students see how other adults figure out how to solve math problems,  to have help in encouraging students writing, or simply have an extra set of hands for an activity. If you are willing, leading an elective is a great way to help out.

You may hear your student say that they do not want you in the class with them, but believe me, in my nearly 30 years as an educator, as well as hearing from the collective experience of all of our teachers, it is very important for your child to see that you want to take the time to work alongside their teacher and classmates..sometimes even through high school but at least through 8th grade!  I have seen nearly every one of our teachers has parents working in their classrooms in a variety of ways; it’s always a beautiful partnership. It can also benefit your relationship with your child outside of class as well. Here is what one parent shared with me on how they feel about volunteering in their child’s class: 

“The best way to volunteer is to take off your hat as the parent, forget that your child is in the room, and to put on the hat as the helper. You are there to do what you’re asked to do and to do your best while respecting the class rules and culture. In so doing, you assure your child, his or her friends, and the teacher that you not there to watch nor to hover over them, but that you are there to help every child to succeed in their learning. And by doing that you become a role model to your child and to her or his friends. They then not only respect you, they appreciate you. You also become a partner to the teacher. They welcome and trust you. Last but not least, you are now truly the “third leg of your child’s development stool”—another super worthy reason to be volunteering in your child’s classroom!”

Even for those of you who are homeschooling your students, volunteering in their class can greatly enhance the way you work with your child and/or bring a different perspective into your own experience. I want to encourage any of you who haven’t yet done so to try it out.

Please read on to learn more about • volunteer fingerprinting, • an article from our Mental Health counselor with ideas to try at home, • various reminders, • as well as what is coming up in our programs.

Thanks for all you do with and for sharing your children with us. 


From Our MH Counselor, Robin Bates: Hello families! Welcome to the 2019-20 school year! I hope you all had a wonderful restorative Summer. 

This is a very special year for me because both of my children will be joining SLVUSD Charter for the first time (one in Nature Academy and the other in Fall Creek Homeschool). I will have two hats this year: one as a counselor and another as a Charter parent.  Hopefully, it will help for you to know that I’m walking with all of you Charter parents arm-in-arm as we help navigate these educational waters. I am here for consultation support or just as a good listener if need be.

With my counselor hat on…..I’m so happy to be back in the Charter “hive” and getting creative about classroom activities. Over the Summer I learned a lot from my clients and also had time to reflect on what I learned last year and what I believe our students and our world at large need for their mental health.  I believe we need to go back and start with the basics: awareness of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.  

We live in a culture of distraction from our basic emotional needs.  When we feel uncomfortable, we are confronted with a multitude of ways to ignore and escape from the way we feel.  Sometimes, we can even lose contact completely with the truth of our feelings and we become submerged or lost in behaviors of escape- social media, video games, shopping, partying, gossiping, excessive eating or exercise, and so many other behaviors that can become compulsive. If we do not have conscious contact with our feelings, thoughts or behaviors, we become hijacked and no longer have a choice to create change.  

Me, You and the World is our theme for this year.       It all begins with awareness.

Feelings can be uncomfortable.  Negative thoughts can hurt. Behaviors can cause problems for ourselves and others.  But without awareness, we are simply trying to force a change without understanding our underlying needs. 

I hope to have some fun with the students in class as we explore their emotional intelligence and offer some tools for making new choices. I have this funny slideshow where they will be asked to figure out what each person is feeling based on their facial expression in the slide that I can’t wait to share with them.

We will spend October exploring emotions, November with thought patterns and December with behaviors. 

Things to practice with your children at home:  try to “stop, look around and breathe”. We stop what we’re doing, look around internally and externally, making a mental list of what we are observing, how they are feeling, and take some cleansing breaths. Take so real time to do this. For breathing, younger children can use words like “sad, happy, mad, jumpy, bouncy, new, imaginary, my favorite, etc” and then imagine they’re “blowing bubbles” as they exhale, or put their hands on their tummy and imagine “blowing up a balloon”, watching it rise and fall.  Older children can describe their feelings with words, colors and images, describe their surroundings in as much detail as possible, and then draw a “figure 8” with their finger and breath in around one loop and exhale around the next loop (lazy 8 breathing). 

The 3x3 is another great tool that is fun and easy for slowing down and paying attention.  They list three things they experience with three different senses (three things I see, three things I hear, three things I feel).  For an added twist, have them try and pay attention to more than one at a time!

As the year progresses, we will expand our awareness of “Me” into “You” by looking at who we are in our friendships, our communities and eventually..”the World”. We will try and zoom in on what kinds of environments we provide for ourselves and others’ growth and wellbeing. It’s a topic that was very big for me in graduate school.  I learned that the learning in our classroom came from what we all brought to it. And, isn’t that true wherever we go? And in any community - humans and other creatures as well? It should be a fun year with lots of classroom social explorations!  

I hope to see all of you and your children around their campuses and classrooms and that we all support each other for a great year!

Robin Bates, LMFT

P.S.  My office is in the Fall Creek Admin building and I am available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Feel free to email me with any questions, ideas or concerns at

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Greater restricted Cell Phone use while on campus. The difficulties of social media with students is coming more and more into the forefront of everyone's attention.  There are a greater number of articles from mental health, medical, and educational organizations about the various negative effects that excessive use of cell phone can have on students. Anxiety, cyberbullying, addiction, lowered self-esteem; inappropriate cell phone use is one of the main reasons that I see students throughout the year. This year we are instilling a stronger limit on student’s cell phone use during school hours;  Turn it Off and Let it Be.  From the time a student comes to school to when they get picked up, we are asking students to keep their phones off and in their backpack. A teacher may make an exception if they find it necessary.  Parents, please tell your student about any after school arrangments before you dropping them off. If you need to reach them, please contact Danelle, Holly or me through our offices and we can get a message to them for you.  Thank you for helping with this!  

Your Student’s CAASPP scores:  Last years Student Score Reports (SSRs) are NOT going to be mailed out to the parents from the State.  The District is in the process of making a webpage (thanks Vickie!) with instructions for how to access the SSRs electronically as they are now delivered from the State directly to our Student Information System. 

Once the system is in place, I will get a webpage link to parents so they know how to find their student’s scores in PowerSchool.

Thank you for your patience as we get this new online system ready to share with you.        

San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District Volunteer Information: Special Note to Volunteers for the 19-20 School Year    If you plan to volunteer after October 1, 2019, you must have completed the appropriate Tier I or II requirements and turned in all documentation (Volunteer Agreement Form, TB if needed) to the Site or HR Department at the District Office by September 27, 2019. Paperwork turned in after this date will delay the start of when you may volunteer again for SLVUSD.  Please note that most fingerprints take less than a week to clear, but sometimes take over 30 days. 


To make this process as easy as possible for our volunteers, a School Nurse will be available on designated Volunteer Sign-up Days (see below) in September to conduct free TB Risk Assessment Screenings.  Representatives from the HR Department will also be available on these days to process Live Scan fingerprint forms for you to take to the County Office of Education. Please bring your state-issued photo ID.

Volunteer Sign-up Days


  • SLVE:  Back to School Night-Thursday, September 12 from 3:00-6:30 in the library.
  • Tri-Campus:  Tuesday, September 17 from 2:30-4:00 in the cafeteria.
  • District Office (325 Marion Ave, Ben Lomond):  Wednesday, September 25 from 10:00-12:00 in the HR Department.

 You may go to any site on the designated day and time for that site.


To expedite the process, the Volunteer Agreement form and Handbook may be downloaded from the District website ( under the Parent/Student tab. 

   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 30th: Nature Academy 6-8 grade: (during PE period)
  • October 3rd: Quail Hollow Homeschool, Quail Hollow Integrated Arts, Fall Creek Homeschool, Coast Redwood Middle School Picture Day: (time TBD)
  • November 4th: Nature Academy 6-8 grade Picture retake day: (during PE period)
  • November 12th: Picture retake day for all homeschool programs :  (time TBD)

Consequences of Teen Vaping When the Charter and SLVHS administrators come across an article that seems appropriate and timely for our students and families, we will post it at the front of the newsletter. Thanks to Claire Hackett, from SLVMS, for sending this one about a CDC report of hundreds of teens nationwide being recently hospitalized for seizures and severe lung illness associated with vaping. One of these students died. The dangers of teens vaping are real and have serious consequences. A link to the article is below.

STUDENT REGISTRATION:  Thank you for your patience as we work through the glitches in the District online registration process.  The IT department changed the process a bit, which will ultimately streamline the PowerSchool data system...though for many of you, especially those new to our Charter, this also caused many PowerSchool registration delays.  If any of you have still not received a SnapCode or are still having difficulties completing our online registration, please contact Amy Kuo, our Data Specialist   


CAFETERIA NEWS:  Application for free and reduced lunch can be found on the SLVUSD Nutrition Webpage:   

From this link, you can also learn more about the Free and Reduced Meal Program. Benefits of Qualifying for the Free & Reduced Meal Program include 

  • Free and Reduced Meals at School
  • Discounted Services for Internet and PG&E
  • Reduced or Waived Fees for Testing and College Applications

Performing Arts Opportunities for All Charter Students!:  Mark Your Calendars. The following activities are After School Performing Arts opportunities available to All Students in Every Program of our charter:

Thrill the World! 2019  Rehearsals: When: Thursdays: Oct.3 and Oct. 11 and Fridays Oct. 17 and Oct. 25 from 3:00-4: 00 pm

Where: Multipurpose Room on the Quail Hollow Campus (up by the Charter Office)

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! This year the event will be held in Santa Cruz on Saturday, October 26, 2018, at the Louden Nelson Center lawn at 3 pm sharp. There is also an option to perform in a flashmob on Halloween in Ben Lomond.


All Charter Musical: Title still pending

Amber will have an informational meeting on Monday, Oct. 14 at 3 pm for students and parents. The meeting will be held in the multipurpose room 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. *There are some new guidelines this year, so please make note of this meeting. 

K-5 Auditions: 3-5: 30 pm, Tues./Wed., Oct. 22, 23

Middle School/High School Auditions: 3-5:30pm, Monday/Tues., Oct. 28, 29

All auditions are held in the multipurpose room on the Quail Hollow Campus

Rehearsals: 3-5: 30 pm, Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, *beginning Nov. 4

Performance Week: January 21-26   *Please note that our rehearsal window is shorter than in past years, and our performance week is sooner. All January Rehearsals, beginning Monday, Jan. 6, are mandatory.

San Lorenzo Valley Unified District Parking: From our Director of Maintenance, Operations, and Transportation

Welcome new and returning parents alike.  For the first week of school, many of you dropping off and picking up your children have probably noticed a stronger presence of staff to help ensure the parking lots continue to flow as smoothly as possible.


It has proven to be effective to monitor the parking lots and ensure only clearly marked parking spaces are used and only designated pick up and drop off lanes are used.  As many of you are painfully aware, the result of vehicles parking in Red Zones or dropping off students in the Bus lanes or in the parking lot causes a gridlock.


All of the school sites greatly appreciate your participation when following the rules.   We do however have a few folks that insist upon ignoring the rules. We have been speaking to many and leaving notes of clarification for others during the first week of school.  Unfortunately, we have also had to issue a few tickets for some drivers that refused to move their vehicle when contacted by District staff.


These tickets are legitimate, meaning they are supported by law under California State Vehicle Codes.  The most common ticket falls under Vehicle Code 21113. These tickets are reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles and will affect your vehicle registration renewal if the penalty is not paid.  Tickets can range up to $275.00 so please help us avoid having to write them.


We hope that everyone can do their part and park only in clearly marked parking spaces, drop off or pick up in designated areas, avoid the bus lane and do not park in the red fire lanes.  We will continue to provide better options including more signs, striping and help to minimize the lines of traffic.

Have a splendid school year.                     ~Dan Arndt


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

CRHS: Wishing to Car Pool?  Families living in the Alba Road area and/or in the Boulder Creek area are looking to establish a reliable carpool. If you are interested please email Keidi who is coordinating this effort!  Headwaters Orientation Night  Monday, September 9th from 6:00-7: 00 pm in room P4.

Headwaters Information First Meeting of the Tribes and Month 1 attendance  Friday, September 13 from 10:00-12:00 All students attend. Meet Mary Zilge, your academic counselor, who will introduce students to important information regarding career exploration and college requirements. She will make appointments with students individually. Her onsite campus days are Fridays. 

CRMS: Project Presentations: First three pages of graphic organizers in the planning packet (or equivalent information) due to me this week. Next Field Trips: Wed., 9/11 Photography Field Day:  We'll start in the CRMS classroom where I'll share some tips on photo composition, then we'll hike out into Fall Creek State Park behind the school in search of good nature shots. • Thursday, September 12, Team Building at Mt Hermon Outdoor School • Friday, Sept. 13, All Homeschool Charter Capture the Flag at Quail Hollow Ranch. 

Nature Academy:  6th-grade:  We are completing our world maps and preparing for the quiz. Mt Hermon Ropes Course: Sept 11th 7-8th -grade:  We will be starting our first elective cycle on Tuesday, Sept. 10th. Students have been both running and working in the NA garden during PE recently.  They are continuing with their student of the Brain, studying what culture means in various countries and have started reading The Giver together in class. • Friday, Sep. 20th: 6th/7th/8th grade Big Hike 

Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA):  This short week flew by! We began our regular routine, with the morning time facilitating the math/science independent study lab. In the afternoon we focused on language arts and history and came together as a whole group for Improv, long break, and Art Curiosities at the end of the day. Please refer to our separate detailed emails about academic expectations and assignments as the 6th-grade group and 7th/8th have different subject matter.  We played lots of improv games. Ask your student about, “Four Corners” and “Wax Museum”. • Thursday, Sept. 26: Character Day Click here for info: What is Character Day?  Friday, Sept. 13: All Homeschool Charter Capture the Flag at Quail Hollow Ranch

Quail Hollow Homeschool: Classes begin this Tuesday!!! I am looking forward to seeing each of you and starting our class time together.  Some important reminders: Please make sure you send your child with a water bottle (make sure it is labeled with their name), a small snack, and a healthy, easy to eat (no prep, no candy) lunch. Wear good, sturdy shoes for playing and safety. Kinder pick up is by 12:30 pm (We will be out on the playground/field for lunch recess at that time).

  • Parent Meeting this Thursday at 1:30 pm • Friday, September 13:  Capture the Flag - QH Ranch •Saturday, September 14: Ohlone Day - Henry Cowell State Park •Tuesday, 9/17 - 9/19: Family Camping • Friday, September 27: 3rd-5th Grade Kayaking  • Tuesday, October 1: Vision & Hearing Screening (K,2,5)

Fall Creek Homeschool:  Yay! This coming Tuesday is our first class day. I am so looking forward to the start of our classes together and I know many children have been waiting for SOOOO long! See you at 10 am!  The paperwork for Month 1 is due this Friday, 9/13. This will cover the period from August 19-September 13. Fall Family Potluck When: Saturday, September 21 at 10:30 am Bring the whole family and some food to share.  This is a casual brunch and a chance to get to know some other families from Fall Creek Homeschool. Notes: *Please avoid bringing any potluck dishes containing nuts for the safety of one of our family members with a severe nut allergy.   Thank you! *Please DO Bring Your own plates, cups, and utensils." • Friday, Sept. 13, All Homeschool Charter Capture the Flag at Quail Hollow Ranch. • Tuesday, September 17: Parent Meeting  • Tuesday, October 1: Vision & Hearing Screening (K,2,5)

Mountain IS: It was so wonderful to meet up with you all in your homes and other learning environments. Thank you for having me! Home-School Binder This year we'll all have a blue binder as a home-school communication with families and as an organizational tool for the children's work. Please bring to and from school each day. More on this to come. Thank you! Nourishment

Please have your child eat a really good breakfast before they come to school We serve a small snack for 'snack math' beginning as early as 9:20 or so. Your child will need a lunch each day unless they signed up for school lunch. • Friday, Sept. 13, 10:30-12:00: All Homeschool Charter Capture the Flag at Quail Hollow Ranch  • Tuesday, Sep. 17th: first in class day

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.)

  • September 30th: Picture Day: Nature Academy 6-8 grade: (during PE period)
  • October 3rd: Picture Day: Quail Hollow Homeschool, Quail Hollow Integrated Arts, Fall Creek Homeschool, Coast Redwood Middle School Picture Day: (time TBD)
  • October 4: All Homeschool Charter Skate Day at the Santa Cruz Roller Palladium from 1-3pm.
  • Thriller Dance Rehearsals: Thursdays: Oct.3 and Oct. 11 and Fridays Oct. 17 and Oct. 25 from 3:00-4: 00 pm
  • Charter Play Auditions: K-5: 3-5:30pm, Tues./Wed., Oct. 22, 23 Middle School/High School: 3-5:30pm, Monday/Tues., Oct. 28, 29
  • November 1: No School; Professional Development Day 
  • November 4th: Nature Academy 6-8 grade Picture retake day
  • November 11: No School Veterans day 
  • November 12th: Picture retake day for all homeschool programs :  (time TBD)
  • November 25-29: No School Thanksgiving Break

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