Charter News  • February 8, 2020


“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”  




Dear Charter Families,



At our last Professional Development day on January 31, the afternoon’s session was on Trauma-informed practices in the classroom. This included discussing Brain basics and the neuro-sequential model of instruction that helps to ensure that students can stay motivated and self-regulated in the lesson and activities.  The staff also learned, (or re-learned) the importance of making sure that they are conscious of the self-care they need throughout the week to keep themselves at their optimum ability level.  • What can adults do to help create a feeling of safety for children? • What do you do to feel safe? • How do you know when a child is anxious and/or overwhelmed?  • How do you know when you are anxious/overwhelmed? • What do you need or wish for yourself in terms of self-care? • What does it sound like, look like, feel like? 


A teacher cannot expect to be always capable of reading the needs of the students while teaching if they don’t take the time to care for themselves. This is true for parents as well!  What do you do for your self-care?


The cold and flu season is still upon us, and I am sure I am not alone in being grateful for a three-day weekend to give everyone some extra time to rest up.   


Have a great Monday off, and see your child on Tuesday, February 11.






From our Counselor: Hello families! I am sitting at my table right now, feeling the first hint of warm air from the bright sunshine. Spring is around the corner!  


As I visit the classrooms and talk with them about relationships, it’s wonderful to hear them tie in what they’ve learned about themselves these past few months.  I believe many are beginning to see that healthy friendships begin with a healthy relationship with ourselves. I heard students talk about “using Wise Mind before making an apology” and “calming down my amygdala” before thinking about a conflict with a friend.  Yesterday a 7th grader said to me, “well, I think it’s really important to forgive yourself as you are getting ready to go make amends with another person”. What insightful comments! 


Today as I was walking through the campus, I saw a group of middle school friends playing their daily game of lunchtime tag football.  It was a 50/50 mix of boys and girls on each team. The boys got there first and said to me with a really sweet and honest tone, “we always wait for the girls to finish their lunch before we start”. The girls brought a new friend who appeared a bit nervous about playing football for the first time. She stood with me and watched for a while, until all of the kids turned to her and said, “would you like to play with us?  We’ll teach you how!” It’s so very heartening to see an act of inclusion in a world where exclusion or feeling left out is so common. 


On the other hand, as children grow into their ‘tween years, their friendships become so important that they can often lose track of themselves and fall prey to peer pressure and influence in even the subtlest of ways!  Research has shown that humans tend to mimic the humans they are closest to. I have also read research that suggests even our heartbeats and breathing try to synchronize with those we are physically closest to! This mirroring is largely unconscious and very powerful at all stages of life. Peer pressure and mirroring aren’t “all bad” - we see powerful examples of it in groups like sports teams, symphony orchestras, play performances, and dance, etc. 


However, it can be so difficult for children to keep track of who they are when their friend groups are changing but becoming more and more important. Children often come to me struggling with their friendships - feeling left out, or different, or like they just can’t “synchronize” with others.  Other children are trying to relate with children whose behaviors they don’t quite agree with and they are left feeling conflicted or confused. Others spend their time alone, even if it means they suffer being lonely in silence.  


In our theme of “Me, You and the World”, we are continuing to look at our surrounding relationships and how they impact us.  Peer pressure is a big topic for children in school communities, and I hope to bring discussions, activities and videos for us to learn more about how our friend groups and communities influence us. has some great tips for kids dealing with peer pressure:

  • Hang with people who feel the same way you do. Choose friends who will speak up with you when you're in need of moral support and be quick to speak up for a friend in the same way. If you're hearing that little voice telling you a situation is not right, chances are others hear it, too. Just having one other person stand with you against peer pressure makes it much easier for both people to resist.
  • Learn to feel comfortable saying "no." With good friends, you should never have to offer an explanation or apology. But if you feel you need an excuse, think up a few lines you can use casually. You can always say something like, "No, thanks, I've got a belt test in karate next week and I'm in training.”
  • Listen to your gut. If you feel uncomfortable, even if your friends seem to be OK with what's going on, it means that something about the situation is wrong for you. This kind of decision-making is part of becoming self-reliant and learning more about who you are.  
  • Plan for possible pressure situations. Think ahead about how you'll handle social challenges that could be tough to resist. Decide ahead of time — and even rehearse — what you'll say and do. 
  • Arrange a "bail-out" code phrase you can use with your parents without losing face with your peers. Texting is great for this! 
  • Blame your parents! I often tell my children, “you can always make me the bad guy if you need to!”  such as saying something like, "Are you kidding? If my mom found out, she'd kill me, and her spies are everywhere!" (this is a fun one!).
  • If a situation seems dangerous, don't hesitate to get an adult's help!  You may not only be helping yourself by doing this but others as well who may not feel able to speak up.


I’m looking forward to seeing everyone around campus! 

Robin Bates, LMFT




From our Nurse and the Health Department: Coronavirus information and FAQs

The CDC and state and local public health departments are closely monitoring developments regarding an outbreak caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The first case in the United States was announced on January 21, 2020 in the State of Washington. On January 26, 2020, two cases were confirmed in Southern California. Public health departments are working to identify anyone who might be infected to prevent further spread of the outbreak. To date, there are no confirmed cases in Santa Cruz County and residents are at low risk of becoming infected.

When new viruses surface, there can be lots of anxiety and stress. It’s important to stay informed. We acknowledge the impact that this outbreak is having on our community, and on those who have friends or relatives who are affected. We are thinking of you.


What you need to know

  • In the unusual event that a child or staff member is identified who recently traveled from Wuhan, China, and who has any of these respiratory symptoms (fever, cough, or shortness of breath), he or she should be sent home from school/work, and the school should contact the Communicable Disease Unit at: 831-454-4114 (Monday-Friday 8AM-5PM) and 831-471-1170 (after hours and weekends) for additional guidance.

We encourage all students, parents, and staff to take common-sense precautions to prevent the spread of all infectious diseases, including common illnesses like colds and flu

  • Encourage students and staff to stay home when they are sick.
    • Those who have a fever at school should go home and stay home until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
    • Separate sick students and staff from others, ideally in a separate place, until they can be picked up to go home.
  • Promote hand hygiene among students and staff through education, scheduled time for handwashing, and availability of soap and water or hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Teach and encourage proper cough etiquette—cough or sneeze into a tissue, sleeve, or arm (do not use hands).
  • Perform routine surface cleaning.
  • Consider not attending large gatherings, as this is where cold, flu, and other respiratory viruses often spread.

We will monitor the developing situation and inform you of any additional public health recommendations.



PARENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Important Parent Involvement: Next meeting will be February 18, at 10 am in the Fall Creek Charter Office:  Topics will include: School Safety Plan, Annual Parent Survey, further discussion of move possibilities

We now have a strong group of parents that are consistently coming to these meetings.  This means that our discussions and plans can more easily be deepened and synthesized. Thank you to Kristin Ghbeish, Thuy Nguyen, Chana Landi, Jacquie Spracklen, Kelly Bradford, Lee Dean, Lauren Reedy. Any of these parents are happy to share updates to fellow parents during the parent meetings at the various programs. We would still love to have a consistent representative for CRHS and QHHS.

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


Parent Educational Opportunities: All SLV parents are invited to this information night about vaping.  Please contact Danielle Winters for more information. [email protected]

Vape Information night


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

CRHS: Omega Nu Scholarship Program. Purpose: The Sigma Alpha of Omega Nu Scholarship Program was established in 1957 to assist qualified students who are planning to attend a public California University or College (i.e. any campus of the University of California, California State University system or a California Community College). These scholarships are based on financial need and scholastic achievement. Award Amounts: Last year we awarded $80,000.00 in scholarships, including 13 renewals. The scholarship amounts ranged from $800.00 to $5,000.00. This year we will be awarding $86,000. Application Deadline: Completed applications must be submitted to the school's counseling or scholarship office by TUESDAY, MARCH 31, 2020. 


CRMS: Outdoor Parkour: Andrew and Jake were back with their Wild Emersion wonderfulness.  They mentored the kids in vaults, rolls, landings, moving through small spaces quickly, and camouflage.  I think this was definitely the highlight of the week for many of the kids. Climate Science: We looked at various definitions, discussed the concept of mass, and then jumped into atomic structure. We compared atomic mass and size of different elements and the kids built one or more models of their choice of the first 20 elements in the periodic table using clay. Writing:The kids wrote claims, counterclaims and lists of reasons supporting both. Gardening: We were all out in the garden last week making mini habitats to increase the biodiversity of critters in the garden. Class Business: We updated our Healthy Redwoods Sales Record to reflect December sales of lotion and hydrosols. Robin Bates: Robin’s theme this month was Making Amends, which included the acronym G.I.V.E. and play-acting some scenarios. 


Nature Academy: 6th- We are finishing up Egypt and learning about the New Kingdom. We will move into learning about ancient Israel this month. In math, we are working on Unit Rate and finding the cost for one. We are reading Tangerine in class as a class. Students are still working on opinion/argumentative writing. We will be moving into topics of their choosing next week. Matt Dickinson will be coming in later this month to teach Native Plants for an elective. Students will be finishing masks  and we hoping to start sewing this month! 7&8th- Math: Students will continue working on their individualized ALEKS math and working on our Problem of the Month or other problem-solving tasks. History: We will be launching into the Constitution this week! This will involve debating Bill of Rights issues and studying the parts of the Constitution. Science: We will be learning about satellites: their function, and the constraints required to build and launch them. Language Arts: We will start writing our Personal Lesson Learned Essays this week. We will also analyze excerpts of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou to deepen our understanding of narratives, which we will abridge to the anecdotes in our essays. We will continue to focus on identifying evidence to support our ideas in both fiction and non-fiction. Electives/Scratch Programming: 4th week of this elective cycle. PE:  We hiked on Monday, timed mile/badminton on Tuesday, and then weights/badminton on Thursday. Soccer on Wednesday and Friday.


Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA): This week, in addition to our Language Arts and History studies in the afternoons, our students alternated a Civil Rights study through music with our ceramics class on Tuesdays.The students created ceramic fish as individualized as the real-life specimens in our ocean : )  On Wednesday we had a very special drumming and dance class with Mohammed, from Guinea-Bissau. He brought a drum for each student and they learned how to play consistent rhythms as a group while he overlaid solo rhythms. He spoke of the importance of drumming and dance as daily practice. He also spoke to us about the importance of “now” and embodying the moment and community that we are present in. Next week we will study classical Indian dance! Alternating with dance/drumming, students participated in CommonSense Media Lessons. We watched a video, worked through scenarios and had thoughtful discussions on online Identity, how and what to share online, and recognizing “Red Flag” feelings and situations


Quail Hollow Homeschool: During our morning meeting, David shared about himself and  we welcomed new students Iona, Emerson, and Marshall to class. We all shared about something we like to do to help us get to know each other better. We sang This Land is Your Land and David led us in a fun movement activity to show how well we were listening. After snack, Shireen joined us to introduce the play.  It is called The Incredible Westward Movement! We worked on some critical thinking puzzles, made some of our own and started a game of Memory/Concentration. We ended our day with a compliment circle.


Fall Creek Homeschool: I absolutely love my Appreciation Tree! The kids made it for me as I was sick all week and not able to attend class. Thank you to all! I heard from Carolyn Dewis, our wonderful substitute, that the kids were “very sweet” and that she would love to sub for us at any time.


MtIS: In Circle we read & sang a book written with the lyrics of What a Wonderful World, by Louis Armstrong to demonstrate the impact of MLK Jr.'s dream. To our surprise, most everyone knew the song well enough to chime in!  We've also been incorporating activities and stretches to invigorate our brain during circle. In addition, we're learning to communicate better with our bodies too. Today Beth presented how to use sign language to celebrate each other as the children shared their accomplishments.  For Music this week, Sheila taught the children two songs: one was from Africa and the other Latin America. During Art class, the children completed cutting and pasting their beautiful little houses into neighborhoods. It was really fun to hear how much thought and energy they put into their villages.  Sadie is busy on the yearbook and Beth and I are capturing really cool photos of children at work. I want to remind everyone to please send Sadie a picture of your children doing some kind of homeschool work out in the world for your child's page.Thank you so Sadie! 



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.)

  • Monday, February 10: NO SCHOOL
  • Monday, February 17: NO SCHOOL
  • Monday, April 6-10: NO SCHOOL, Spring Break
  • Monday, May 25: No SCHOOL, Memorial Day