Charter News • April 3, 2020

Dear Charter Families,

Before we go on our Spring Break and we all (hopefully) get off screens in as much as we can, I wanted to share some great ideas you may want to be aware of and may want to do while you are on Staycation break together.


In particular, our Master Gardener, Melanie Burgess has shared a variety of ideas to do in the Garden. We will have some pretty weather over our break, and hopefully, you will have the ability to have some family time outside. Melanie is caring for all of our gardens every week so that they will be as ready as they can be when the students come back to campus.  Many of the students loved their monthly time in the garden with her so she also created videos of her walking through each garden so the kids can see what is happening and possibly interact with her to help her plan what to do in the gardens in the coming months.


Have a lovely, peaceful, week off from distance learning with us.  I know the teachers will miss seeing and hearing from their students but we can all do with some open time for greater playfulness and creative endeavors.


More to come.  Blessings to you all,




Read on to hear from Robin, our Mental Health counselor, videos of our gardens and ideas for your own garden, various resources, and our food service hours through the break.



Thank you, Amber and the SLV District teachers who stepped up and shared their dance moves to give us all a smile    Positivity within SLVUSD



From Our Master Gardener: Melanie Burgess During this time of Shelter in Place, Melanie is the only one that is watering each of our 5 gardens and keeping them as weed-free and cared for as possible on her own.  She will be sending videos and asking for your email input through the weeks ahead as well as a way to help keep interested students involved. Please feel free to email her any questions or suggestions you may have about your program's garden after you view the video.

  Here is the link to all 5  of her videos. :) SLV Charter Gardens; April 2


From Melanie: I would like to encourage students and parents to get outside into their own gardens when possible.  Here are some ideas to do in the garden:

    • Start growing some food, herbs, or edible flowers:  Attached is the Santa Cruz County Growing Calendar to help guide our families on what they can sow in the ground right now and what can be started indoors.  Mountain Farm and Feed and Ace Hardware in Ben Lomond have seeds. Renee's Garden seeds can be ordered online.
    • Learn about gopher and deer-resistant plants: Learn about what we can grow in our soil that is gopher or deer resistant and what isn't and should be grown in a container. 
    • Make plant makers:  See attached video on a variety of ways to create plant markers.  At our school gardens, students love to paint rocks with craft paints and spraying them with an outdoor clear coat.  They last a long time.
    • Do 5 minutes of "Dirty Work":  Students know this to be 5 minutes of weeding.
    • Find unique growing containers: to add soil and grow food in. Like old buckets, wheelbarrows or ice chests.  Add holes to the bottoms, soil, and seeds.  
    • Play a hide and seek game in the garden:  Use a toy or garden decoration.
    • Start a worm bin or compost pile 
    • Explore Life Lab Garden Videos:
    • Here is one more link to Free online Pet Chicken Classes from one of our Santa Clara County Master Gardeners.
  • Take a free Zoom Class: Gardens and Seeds for a Changing World Tuesday, April 14th at 5:30-6:30 PM PST   Free, online class on Zoom Register - Open to the first 100 people
With Daniela Soleri, Research Scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and co-author of Food Gardens for a Changing World
Join us for an on-line class and discussion about how our gardens and seed saving practices can respond to a changing world, with a focus on the climate crisis. See how food gardens and community-based seed management can be an important part of climate change adaptation and mitigation. Learn about strategies you might want to try to support 21st-century gardens and seed systems. Discover ways that your seed library can be part of a local response to a global crisis, as well as an opportunity to build community and resilience.



From our Mental Health Counselor: Acceptance and Grief


According to the National Geographic website, wolves howl “to find fellow pack members when they're apart—gray wolf howls can carry for miles—and for social purposes, such as maintaining relationships within members of the pack.”  I learned that wolves howl to guide their family members back to the family when they are lost or far apart. When researchers separate one wolf, it will howl over and over for hours to be reunited with the pack.


Last night, I finally got my timing right and went out with my family to participate in the nightly 8 pm “Boulder Creek howl”.  It’s really as simple as that - lots of people go outside and howl at 8 pm, as loudly as they can. I wasn’t sure what to expect but decided to do it (imagining I’d be the only crazy person in my neighborhood wooing and howling off my deck).  But, when I stepped onto my deck, I heard a whole chorus of howls - from nearby and far - echoing through the mountain canyons. There was probably at least a hundred - bellowing out, connecting with each other through one of the most primal of sounds. I tilted my head back and howled, and immediately the tears were flowing. I realized that when I got the news about school closing for the rest of the school year, I was feeling some grief. 


Many people are struggling with feelings about losing their school year, sports teams, artistic communities, time with friends and plans for graduations. One of my favorite things to do during the school day was to go watch the 6th graders (boys and girls) play football during lunch - laughing, shoving each other, celebrating big catches and rolling around in the grass.  It truly made me so happy. These boys communicate their love by shoving, pushing, throwing down, wrestling and slamming into each other! They need this. It’s like a kind of primal medicine. Zoom doesn’t fill this need. Many could be struggling with the loss of this now.


I am reminded of the grieving process I learned from Dr. Kubler-Ross’s teachings - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It is normal to feel them all - sometimes one at a time, sometimes all at the same time, and sometimes skipping over a few.  And sometimes none at all! Children can express grief in very different ways than adults - it can come through in play, at night when they want to stay close, temper tantrums and big feelings about things that don’t seem to match. When children sense something out of their families’ control,  they can feel frightened. Remind them of things that haven’t changed (like the stars!). Remember that all of these emotional reactions are normal. And we will all get through this because “this, too, shall pass”. We are all so connected, regardless of how quarantined we are now. 


About acceptance.  Acceptance is the goal of grief. It’s a superpower that, when tapped into, can soften and brighten the way we live our lives. I encourage all of you to practice it daily - challenge yourselves to accept the uncomfortable stuff, the impossible stuff, and the stuff you wouldn’t share with anybody on social media!  It feels awful at first, but then you’ll free up energy reserves to focus on the stuff most important to you and your family. And our kids are watching - so we can model this practice for them!


Things to consider trying with your family at home: 

Here’s a journaling/art activity for families to do - get a blank piece of paper and draw a big circle in the middle. In the circle, draw or write words to describe the things within your control (hint: your choices). Outside of the circle, try drawing or writing words to describe the things in that you cannot control (hint: all people, places and things). You can get really creative with this, using colors and segmenting the circle into pie pieces! Then, imagine bringing your focus and energy on the inside of the circle by accepting the stuff on the outside for what it is.  Consider what tools you could use to work with the items in the circle, practicing “Good Emotional Hygiene” to keep this circle a healthy place to be. 


Let’s keep walking through this strange time together - one day (and howl) at a time. It makes me smile every time I think about how amazing it will be when our children will be reunited in person again and they realize that most of their loss was only temporary!


Robin Bates, LMFT




From our SLVUSD Nurse Health Corner by SLV Nurse Sarah

Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. I invite you to watch this video with your children regarding proper hand hygiene techniques and consider doing this activity at home: excellent handwashing video. We need to create the habit of slowing down and having the patience to perform proper hand hygiene several times throughout our day as well as not touching our faces. About the virus: 

Why Washing your hands works.

  • Since the virus is not a living organism, but a molecule of protein, it doesn’t die but disintegrates on its own. The length of time it takes depends on temperature, humidity and material type.
  • The virus is fragile, the only thing that protects it is a thin external layer of fat. That’s why any soap or detergent is the best remedy.
  • Once the layer of fat is dissolved, the molecule of protein falls apart and disintegrates on its own.

Best Cleaning Solutions

  • Alcohol or any mixture of alcohol at more than 65% will dissolve any grease/fats, especially the outer fat layer of the virus.
  • Any mixture of 1 part Clorox, 5 parts water dissolves directly the protein, which kills it from the inside.
  • Oxidized water can be used besides soap, alcohol, and clorox because peroxide dissolves the protein of the virus. All are harsh on the skin and you may want to use gloves.

 I’m here if you have questions, please reach out for help if you need.

Sarah Dahlen, SLVUSD School Nurse



From our Student Nutrition Department: SLVUSD CONTINUES TO PROVIDE STUDENT MEALS DURING SCHOOL DISMISSAL/CLOSURE  FOOD SERVICE  Student Nutrition Services will be providing breakfast and lunch to all K-12 Santa Cruz County students. 

During Spring Break meals will be available for pick up on TUESDAY, APRIL 7th and FRIDAY, APRIL 10th (only) from 9:00 am to 11:00 am at BCE and the Tri-campus. Multiple days of food will be provided each day in the “to-go” packaging to ensure that students have breakfast and lunch options during the week of Spring Break. 

NOTE: Following Spring Break, Food Service will maintain the new schedule of meal pick-up only on Tuesdays and Fridays at BCE and the Tri-campus from 9:00 am to 11:00 am with multiple days of food being provided each day. The drive-through is clearly marked and the food will be delivered to your car for this takeaway option.


You may contact the Student Nutrition Services staff at 831-335-5384 with any questions.          SLVUSD offers many THANKS to the SLV Nutrition Services Team for their outstanding service, dedication, and commitment to students.



Resources from the Santa Cruz County Office of Education: Important steps parents can take to support their child in distance learning include, but are not limited to, checking emails often for updates from your child’s school, helping them develop a new routine, creating a designated study space at home, and by scheduling breaks throughout the day. We have created a website for the Santa Cruz COE with Distance Learning and COVID-19 resources for educators and families. Please visit our newly launched resources for Distance Learning site for more suggestions on how to support your child’s education through school closures  We are hoping to use this website as a hub to house all of our information and updates in one place. We welcome your feedback and input, and we will have a Google form embedded so that everyone can give feedback on how we can better improve the website and services to support our schools and families. 



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, April 6-10: NO SCHOOL, Spring Break 
  • Monday, May 25: No SCHOOL, Memorial Day
  • Thursday, June 4: Last Day of School