Charter News  • Oct 21, 2019


Dear Charter Families,



WHAT WE DO IN OUR PROGRAMS: Lifeskills in Action: Recently all of our programs have deepened their focus on discussing Lifeskills in their classrooms. The Nature Academy established these Lifeskills as an integral part of their program, linking them into their academic studies and student self-reflections since the program’s inception over 20 years ago.  There is sound research that verifies the benefits of incorporating Lifeskills into students learning. There are various lists of Lifeskills; we take ours from the work of educator Susan Kovalik, who spent the majority of her professional life developing a model for curriculum and instruction based on brain research.  


Our teachers discuss these skills with their students throughout the days, weeks, and months.  Many programs have their students determine what specific goals they will focus on in order to help with their academic learning. Some programs choose 1-3 skills to focus on for the month, or for a particular learning period. No matter what way the teachers and programs integrate the lifeskills, we all are confident that integrating the development of Lifeskills within the school day has lifelong benefits for your student.




Here a current focus in one of our middle school classrooms:

We are focusing on; INTEGRITY - when I conduct myself according to a sense of what's right and wrong.  


Please read on to hear about our Craft Fair, our new mid-week Math and Music option for k-8 homeschool, updates from our programs, and a special morning Parent Advisory Committee meeting.


Thanks for all you do to support your children,





PARENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE: IMPORTANT PARENT INVOLVEMENT: NEW MEETING DAY AND TIME!! 10 am on Tuesday, November 5 (coffee,  light snacks provided)

Topics will include LCAP priorities update, CRHS move possibilities, Charter renewal awareness, potential district bond.

Thank you to the parents who attended the last meeting.  When we met, all parents agreed that meeting on Tuesday at 10 am would be best for them and they are hoping other parents can join at this time too!

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.



NEW OPTION: MID-WEEK MATH & MUSIC for our K-8 homeschool community

I am pleased to offer the opportunity for our Elementary Homeschool students to participate in a Mid-Week Math and Music Morning for grades 1-5. There is an added value of having students work with Music and Math together; Music is really a Math language. So when your child has an opportunity to work with both Math and Music during the same day they will be able to see more easily how the two subjects compliment each other and notice their common elements.  There is even research that shows that the two can strengthen the same neural pathways. 


Additionally, we are offering our 6-8th-grade students (and their parents/guardians), a guitar class.


It is great to see so many students participating in these classes! 



From Tech Talk Tuesday: WHAT TEENS DO TO REDUCE SCREEN TIME:  Here are a few that were mentioned in a current Tech Talk Tuesday. SEE WHAT TEENS DO TO REDUCE SCREEN TIME

  • Use tech to manage tech. “It's called SelfControl and is helpful for staying on task as it completely blocks any site you want (i.e. Facebook) for an allotted time you set. This is quite helpful for reducing temptation.”
  • Unfollow things that are a time sink for them. They’ll stop following “satisfying videos” sites also known as “oddly satisfying videos.” Soap cutting, baking, playing with slime, eggshell crushing, paint mixing, etc. fall into this category. 
  • Make themselves accountable. They may do this by telling a friend or a parent or posting on social media about a new goal for the week.
  • Turn off notifications. They’ll turn off post notifications on Instagram or Snapchat.

Decide not to get social media in the first place. “I don’t want that time sink.” 

  • Remove their devices at night. 
  • Remove games from their tablet or phone. This simple action reduces temptation.

Replace “online” with “in-life.”  Students ask themselves, “Am I really enjoying this, am I happy?”  which can prompt some students to him to call a friend and go out and skateboard which he now does a lot more and it makes him really happy. 


The Community Opportunity Link is provided as a courtesy for parents and students by the San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District to receive information on current local events and other student opportunities. These opportunities range from scouting, sports, arts/drama, local community events, as well as other parent resources.

In an effort to reduce paper, flyers will not be sent home to students; all approved flyers will be posted to this District-created website.



Winter Holiday Craft Faire

Hello Charter families,

It's time to start planning your ideas for our All Charter...

Winter Holiday Craft Faire, Friday, December 6, 2019!

This is an opportunity to share our creative talents and support each other's artistic endeavors by selling and purchasing each other's crafts and/or crafted food items. Both students and parents are encouraged to make and sell their craft items! We have had everything from photo cards, friendship bracelets, and earrings made by students, to essential oil blends and exquisite quilts made by parents. It's great fun for the kids to sell their creations and buy from their friends, bartering is always on hand as well : ) *Please note that this is not a bake sale. Handmade crafted food, such as jams, gift-wrapped caramels, fudge, etc. is different than putting out a tray of brownies to sell at your craft table. Please indicate what kind of "food craft" you are making when you sign up.

Please email Amber Walker at [email protected] if you would like to participate and have a space to sell your wares (It will be a shared table space, approx. 3ft. X 3ft.) 

 The deadline to reserve a table is Monday, November 18, 2019.

When: Friday: December 6, 2019     Time: 10:00am to 2:00pm

Where: Multipurpose Room at the Quail Hollow Campus (up by the charter office, next to the QHIA classrooms.)

In addition, please respond to Amber if you would like to volunteer to help set up and/or take down tables and clean up after the event. Four people each to set up and clean up would be fantastic!         Time to get crafting!


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!

*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: 3-5:30pm, Tues./Wed., Oct. 22, 23
  • Middle School/High School Auditions: 3-5:30pm, Monday/Tues., Oct. 28, 29
  • Rehearsals: 3-5:30pm, 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 [email protected].



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


CRHS: On October 24th our Spanish clas visited the Dia de Los Muertos Exhibit, “Pasajes y Puentes”--Passages and Bridges-- at the Pajaro Valley Arts Council in Watsonville. Cabrillo College and Career Night 2019, Monday, October 28, 6:00 pm 8:00 pm For more details click here - College and Career Night 2019 Come out and learn about the science, arts, humanities programs, and health, public service, and business programs. Meet University representatives, and explore workshops that offer valuable information in the areas of financial aid, making community college work for students and a transfer workshop. Pizza lunch for the first 10 students who return their scavenger sheet completed to Mrs. Kay on Tuesday!


CRMS: Project Presentation Preview Meetings. Please have your child come prepared to present their research and project to me as if they would be presenting it to the class. Usually, there is enough meeting time after the project presentation preview to check-in with any homeschooling or classroom questions you might have as well. Story Writing: We worked on writing sensory details, using descriptors, and developing character traits.  Most of the kids are ready to consider what adventure their character is going to have. Climate Lab:  The kids guessed how long it would take a balloon filled with air and a balloon filled with water to pop when a flame was applied.  After the demonstration, they evaluated their hypotheses in light of the evidence. They also graphed and analyzed their data from the related lab activity we did two weeks ago.


Nature Academy: 6-8th grade is going roller skating on Friday the 25th. 7/8th New electives start today: Fundamentals of Drawing (room 10) and Flying Discs (room 23) Students completed reading and writing about the Giver.  They went to Live Earth Farm in Watsonville for a 2 part experience. Part 1 will take place in the garden to learn about medicinal plants, bees, and pre-refrigeration preservation. Part 2 will be a collage workshop focusing on identity and goals. 6th-grade students are working on making new goals for themselves. Parents, please make sure that your child's doable action is tangible. We are also working on writing stories for our favorite memories from our trip to Big Sur.  SS: We have moved into our ancient Mesopotamia unit. Students will be learning about the first civilization and the rise and fall of the city-states in Mesopotamia. They are also working on a Mesopotamia map. -Math: We are still working on Area but moving into finding the formula for the area of triangles. PE: This week we are playing soccer during PE. Electives: We are working on our yarn and chord baskets.


Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA): We got back into the swing of things with our Improv Block, finishing up Square 1 Art pieces, and students began a Found Poetry project with Marie, using text from various sources, including excerpts from science books. We had an earthquake and fire drill; the kids were super respectful and did a great job. Thank you for your support with Drive for Schools! We will announce our grand total from this fundraiser soon. Finally, thank you to those parents who came to our Fall Potluck. These potlucks are for our parent community to talk about successes and challenges and support each other through this hybrid educational program. We had some amazing discussions, we appreciate you all.


Quail Hollow Homeschool: We used the Statue of Liberty for inquiry and size comparisons. We looked at certain measurements of her, made the same measurements for us, and then some friends began to find the difference in size between the two. We watched a book being read, Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers and brainstormed where she might be walking.  We read You Wouldn't Want to Be a Worker on the Statue of Liberty and the timeline for it to be built.  We listened to directions and then went on to build our own statues - choosing a base, mixing colors, building a form, covering with material - just like they did for the real statue. And we (almost) finished our watercolor drawings and wrote a part of the poem in our best writing. We worked on an experiment to see what would happen when pennies are exposed to vinegar (acid).  We came up with a question and a prediction as to what we think will happen. Mystery Science activity: What Would Happen If You Didn't Have a Skull. Students discussed and observed different skulls, their features and openings. They worked on a Paper Skull Activity. We ended the day by working on various graphic organizers to organize our thoughts and knowledge about The Statue of Liberty,


Fall Creek Homeschool: We had a lesson about ferns – the next class of plants after lichens and moss. We went on a “fern finding walk” up to the pond where we also saw algae and many types of lichens and moss. The class took turns working in small groups on activities about emotions and feelings with Robin Bates, our school psychologist. Our field trip to Gizdich Farms was really great. The students got a very extensive tour of the apple orchard and we brought apples back to the classroom to make applesauce and dried apples. We colored detailed drawings of Malus Domestica – the apple tree – for our botany notebooks. We listened to an apple song about the chambers of seeds in each fruit. They colored food webs illustrating the symbiotic relationships of two different pine trees and the birds and moths that work with them. We listened to the book Roxaboxen about a community of children who build a “town” similar to what is going on in our play yard. We each received 2 white quartz rocks and had an extended time outside to develop the yard activities a la Roxaboxen. We planted amaryllis bulbs and set avocado pits to sprout. 


MtIS: We're really getting the hang of our new systems and environment. Children are progressing every day! Hopefully, after reviewing the binders in our meetings this month, everyone has a good understanding of your child's progression through their personalized learning during the morning work period. As a group, we're revisiting some themes from last year, as we move back into our work with the biomes of our planet. By November, we'll be ready to explore a new part of the world, Europe. This will give children the opportunity to use our research guides and begin creating presentations for one another on the plants, animals and/or people of the biomes of Europe. This week we touched on how the sun's light does not discriminate who/what it shines on. Although it does not hit the planet in the same way, all the time, it shines on everyone in its path. We reflected that the kindness we bring to school is similar in this way. This generated the question, "What kind of kindness do you bring?" Each child wrote down the kindness they brought to school: "Joy, Sharing, Love, Helping Others, Dancing!" were some reflections that come to mind. It was really exciting to see some of the children actually acting on their reflections during the day, helping others and being inclusive with one another! 

...I'm so lucky :) 


In the Garden with Melanie Burgess:

QHIA 6th:  We discussed how to attract beneficial insects into the garden to control some pests. We then planted several herbs in the cement block circle including lemongrass, lemon thyme, chives, and oregano.  We found a purple carrot and harvested a watermelon and we ate them. 

Fall Creek K/1st/2nd Grade:  We discussed planting calendula in the garden, what calendula needs and where we should plant them.  Our high school mentors worked with the students in small groups helping them find the perfect calendula spot in the play yard.  Students planted the calendula, added some good soil around the plant and applied straw mulch around the plant to protect and keep it moist.  

CRMS 7th:  Students added soil to a bed that fell during a storm last year, this was a big job well done!  We discussed bringing in beneficial perennial plants and herbs into the garden. Students planted bachelor buttons, pineapple sage, rosemary, and stevia.  Students applied straw mulch around plants and watered all of the garden plants.  

CRHS: We started the day making avocado fries with garlic and herbs from the garden.  While the avocado fries were cooking in the toaster oven students planted beneficial flowers, lobelia, yarrow, bachelor buttons, stevia, lemongrass and purple peas in the kale bed they planted two weeks ago.  Students watered their new plantings deeply. Students flower pressed borage and nasturtiums then ended the day writing in their journals.  


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.)

  • Thriller Dance Rehearsals: Oct. 25 from 3:00-4: 00 pm
  • All 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