Charter News  • September 22, 2019

Dear Charter Families,


I read Tech Talk Tuesdays every week and often find the information I read worth sharing to our parents.  I have the unique opportunity of being the Administrator/Principal of this special Charter, with programs that span Grades K-12.  I get to see the growth and changes that students evolve through from age five to eighteen. I support and thus am constantly watching, learning, and reading up on the academic and social-emotional development of all of these ages and stages!


While there are many differences between the various grades, there are also many similarities.  For the Charter staff, our primary focus is to be sure that every student feels Safe, Seen, and Supported while they are learning with us.  We know that for academics to stick, students need to feel this. They also need to have resilience, to have that ‘I Can’ capacity. That’s where the importance of having a Growth Mindset comes in.


I am sure that many of you have heard about Growth Mindset. It was brought into the limelight with research done by Carol Dweck’s research in 2006.  The Charter staff encourages students in the Growth versus Fixed Mindset in their classes. It is important that parents, too, understand the importance of supporting a growth mindset throughout your child’s life. If we all use the same language with our students, the messages are definitely more able to stick! 


Sometimes we forget that the teens and pre-teens need this message as much as or more than younger students.

“How does this work? Dr. Dweck’s research has illustrated that “talent is not fixed.” People are not simply good at things — like writing, or math — while others are not. Many students say things like “I’m just not good at algebra” or “that’s a class for smart kids,” but studies by Dweck and others have shown students who have a fixed mindset see new learning experiences as a moment to be judged, not an opportunity to learn. This can make learning a painful struggle, leading many to give up.

Students who have a growth mindset, on the other hand, experience challenges as the way to learn and improve. They see hard work as being about learning, rather than a way to evaluate self-worth or assess sense of belonging academically. Overall, they learn and achieve at higher levels, even when they start out at the same place as those with fixed mindsets.”    ….EXAMINE YOUR BELIEFS Most of us grew up with conventional notions about fixed intelligence and abilities. We may have heard our own family members say (as I did) things like, “No one in our family has any math talent, but we’re good talkers.” We need to examine and change our own beliefs.


SPREAD THE WORD Show and tell adolescents the evidence that talent isn’t fixed. Watch Carol Dweck’s TED talk on the Power of Yet, and talk to young people about how they can grow the power of their own brains. Emphasize that they are in control. No one can do it for them.


Here is an article written for parents I encourage you to read to learn more:



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



PARENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE: IMPORTANT PARENT INVOLVEMENT: The parents that were consistently involved in participating in the Parent Advisory Committee have had their children graduate form our Charter.  Thus it is very critical that we have a parent from each program come and participate in these PAC meetings. These meetings are designed to ensure we have parent input into critical documents that are the backbone of the Charter.  Yearly this committee gives input to our Local Control Accountability Plan (includes our school goals and funding) School Safety Plan, Annual Parent Survey as well as our 5 year Charter Petition Renewal and Accreditation review.


We have determined six meetings within the school year for these important meetings.  We have also created a survey for those who are able/willing to participate to determine the best time for these meetings to start so that we can have the majority of interested parents attend.  Please complete the survey here: Parent Advisory Committee Meeting Availability


The first meeting will be Tuesday, October 8th, 2:30-3:30 pm in the Fall Creek Charter office.


A big thank you to all of the parents who are volunteering for their student’s classroom and special activities, including driving!  There is one more date, this Wednesday the 25th when the District is offering additional support in completing the volunteer requirements.  More information is below.

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 Day


  • District Office (325 Marion Ave, Ben Lomond):  Wednesday, September 25 from 10:00-12:00 in the HR Department.


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


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, Janet, or me through our Charter offices and we can get a message to them for you.  Thank you for helping with this!  


Your Student’s CAASPP scores: The California Department of Education (CDE) will no longer be mailing home student score reports for any of the state-level testing. Your student's electronic student score reports can be obtained by logging in to the parent portal in PowerSchool. More details about how to access the score reports can be found on this SLVUSD webpage:  Student State Tests .


You can access Powerschool through our website here: Charter Website Powerschool link


Please contact us if you have any questions.


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

Thrill the World! 2019


When: Thursdays: Oct.3 and Oct. 17 and Fridays Oct. 11 and Oct. 25 from 3:00-4:00pm

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 3pm sharp. There is also an option to perform in a flashmob on Halloween in Ben Lomond.

All Charter Musical: Wizard of Oz: Get Your Kicks on Route Yellow Bricks.  It is, once again, an original script written by Janinne Chadwick, our local playwright from Ben Lomond. All the familiar characters will be in this tale, and we'll also have munchkins singing everything from The Beatles to Funk, Glinda-Rockin' the Motown and Rock n' Roll, two evil witches/warlocks, Ozzy and the Osbourne family, and so much more!

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. Here are a few changes: 

  1. Students and Parents will be asked to sign a behavior expectation contract. Actors must be able to focus and take direction independently, without their parents being present to assist in behavior support. 
  2. Performance Week (earlier than last year): January 21-26

All January Rehearsals, beginning Monday, Jan. 6, are mandatory.

  1. Participants must sign up prior to auditions (beginning Oct. 14). They may not "drop-in" once auditions have begun.
  • 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
  • Rehearsals: 3-5:30 pm, Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, *beginning Nov. 4

All auditions and rehearsals through December are held in the multipurpose room on the Quail Hollow Campus.

Please attend the informational meeting on Oct. 14 for clarification and details. Thank you to The Theater Booster Club and I look forward to another fantastic production!

Contact me with any questions


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

CRHS: ALL onsite classes are canceled next week as half of our core teaching team (Brian and Wade) are traveling to Headwaters outdoor school in Mt Shasta, Sun-Thurs. *Independent study courses continue at home. We are initiating a homeschool week to be respectful of families with transportation challenges, who work full-time or have children in other programs.  6-week progress report week Keidi and I will be on campus next week and will be available to meet with parents if anyone wishes for more clarification on classes or a progress report.


CRMS: This last week our students have been focused on their history of technology research. Regular on-site classes begin this week. We will begin our Applied math class for all 6-8 graders and 7th & 8th grade will begin sex ed classes. The optional Guitar class will begin on Wednesdays at the Quail Hollow site from 8:15-9:15 am.


Nature Academy: 6-8th graders all went on an all-day hike on the Rincon Trail on Friday. 6th graders had the most wonderful time at the. Mt. Hermon Ropes course! Thank you, parents, to each of you who helped make these trips possible. 6th graders are working on: -narrative story writing with an emphasis on powerful strong emotions to enhance the feeling of our stories. -are moving into our Early Humans unit and will be talking about the Stone Tool Project coming up soon.  - In math, they are starting our unit on Surface Area. -are moving into a Tennis Unit. -the class is working on weaving. Next week they will move into yarn and cord baskets. 7th-8th-grade class continues to: -build on their Compare and contract writing within various content areas. -Continuing discussions on American cultures and will look at patterns native to our country. -in science they are continuing their study of the brain, learning about AI and discussing algorithms and how they can impact our thoughts. They continue discussing their ideas for a problem-based project.


Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA):  This week in our whole-group activities, we learned more theater skills, including moving tableau’s, that can be applied to classroom learning and life. We watched some inspiring videos about Greta Thunberg for our current events. We had important group discussions about how we have the power to create a “new normal” for what a middle school experience can be; that here at QHIA, we put in the time and effort, creating a space where students can feel emotionally and physically safe. When issues come up, we work on them with focus and compassion, and support students in taking responsibility for their words and actions. This week was packed with learning, gardening, theater arts, and friends!  Your children amaze with all of the thought and effort they are putting into their academic work. They are coming to school with thoughtful reading journal entries and writings on the content and are prepared to work and learn.


Quail Hollow Homeschool: We had such a wonderful time camping.  Thank you, families, for your commitment to our program, building community, and putting your children first.  It is a sacrifice to take time out of your busy schedule, but this trip is always a highlight of the year and a great opportunity to meet and bond with new friends at the beginning of the year. We appreciate all of the parents for attending our first parent meeting.  The large turnout shows your commitment to making this a good year for everyone.


Fall Creek Homeschool: We appreciate all of the parents for attending our first parent meeting.  The large turnout shows your commitment to making this a good year for everyone. We continued our exploration of wet-on-wet watercolor with small circular paintings of various sizes. We recapped our previous lesson about the elements of air, water, earth and fire and how they build the dandelion plant. We heard a lesson about the world of fungi, particularly mushrooms and how they are the fruit of mycelium. The K-2 group gardened with Melanie. We made some rather complicated circular calendars. The directions had 14 steps and included measuring, tracing, and marking diameters, perpendiculars, and diagonals.


Mountain IS: It's been so great to be back with your wonderful children! They are learning the ropes of the new class-space, campus, and flow of the work period, art, and music classes. Music and Math will be starting on Wednesday, Sept. 25th at the Quail Hollow campus for those that wish to participate.


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 1-3 pm.
  • Thriller Dance Rehearsals: Thursdays: Oct. 3 and Oct. 17 and Fridays Oct. 11 and Oct. 25 from 3:00-4: 00 pm
  • All Charter Play Information Meeting: Monday, Oct. 14th, 3 pm at the Quail Hollow campus
  • All Charter Play Auditions: K-5: 3-5:30 pm, Tues./Wed., Oct. 22, 23; Middle School/High School: 3-5:30 pm, 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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