I can see in the acorn the oak tree. I see the growth, the rebuilding, the restoring. I see that is the American psyche. There is so much we can draw understanding from. One of the lessons is the development of courage. Because without courage, you can't practice any of the other virtues consistently. -Maya Angelou
Dear Charter Families,
A huge thank you to our local firefighters and first responders. They were and are tireless in their efforts in saving as much of our mountain communities as they did. Our appreciation is endless.
It feels like ages ago that I sent out a ‘formal’ Charter News email that shared school plans. Let’s call this a ‘Take Two’ effort at officially starting school courses and activities in earnest. Currently, the fire evacuation has been lifted for all but the farther reaches of the community. And still many are not able to come back due to electrical and/or water constraints. Resettling and cleanup has begun for the community in general and the SLVUSD schools in specific.
This past week, August 31-Sept. 4: Charter teachers have reached out in a variety of ways to their families, offering options for students and their parents to connect. Each time teachers and students connected, the more the teachers learned about their students’ personal interests. They also brainstormed together how to best use Zoom and other online tools in the months ahead.
All but two of our staff members have been able to settle back in their homes. The two who are still displaced are settled, as best they can be, in their temporary housing, staff who are back in their homes are cleaning things out and re-establishing their sense of the new, new normal as best they can. Our hearts and thoughts and plans are intertwined with yours; all trying to stay as calm as possible and work to unite our SLV Charter communities and find the best ways for our students to learn together. We are still stabilizing, recalibrating, finding stillness in our hearts, and getting ready to secure the right pace and rhythm for our students. Your health and wellbeing are first and foremost always, especially now as we navigate through varying stages of grief, loss, and stepping into renewed plans.
Next week, September 8 - 11th: Teachers will officially begin completing their 1-1 conferences. They will be checking in to make sure that students and parents understand how to access the online platforms and applications that they will be using; answering any additional questions you may have.
We will continue to distribute materials to families who need them. The District’s Insurance company is now cleaning up the various school campuses. The priority will be to have one location at each school site to be the hub of distributing materials. Charter teachers and staff will be organizing materials starting Tuesday, Sept. 8th, and will reach out to their families who still need books and supplies to schedule a time to pick up.
If you are one of our many families who have lost their homes; please email me directly and we will give you the supplies you need to start school again.
If you still need a Chromebook for your student or are having difficulty with accessing the internet, please email your teachers or me and tell us so we can get you what you need ASAP.
Week of September 14- 18th: Each program will begin their weekly classes. Teachers will be emailing you about your students’ weekly schedule. Please note that attendance and grades/academic progress will be enacted starting this week.
Having your student engaged and connected to their learning is of primary importance to us. We know that Distance Learning isn’t the easiest way to learn for many students. Teachers too, have a hard time staying engaged without ‘live’ student interaction. On the other hand, I have seen students thrive in the Distance Learning, online environment. We will continue to collaborate together and reach out to various experts to learn better techniques and tools. Most importantly, we will continue to reach out to you and your student to hear from you what works best for them.
Welcome back to the next steps into consistent school routines. Please email any or all of us if you have questions or you need help in any way.
R & R Coffee Check-in for parents:
You are invited to our
R(honda) & R(obin)
This is an open zoom meeting invitation for Charter parents to join Rhonda Schlosser, our Charter Administrator and Robin Bates, our Mental Health Specialist. This meeting is open to all to spend time with us, brainstorm issues, listen to your challenges and successes, and offer support in our road ahead together.
Next two meetings are:
- Tuesday, September 8th from 10-11 (soon yes, but we felt some may be ready!)
Join Zoom Meeting: R&R September 8 Coffee Check-in
- Thursday, September 24th, starting at 10:00 am
We look forward to “having coffee” and conversation with you!
From our Mental Health Counselor: Robin Bates: Home
I looked up “home” in the ol’ Mariam-Webster dictionary, and the first definition is: “one's place of residence”. The second definition is: “the social unit formed by a family living together” and the third is: “a familiar or usual setting: congenial environment and also: the focus of one's domestic attention”. It seems that in times like these when our houses are threatened or destroyed and we are faced with raw feelings that we may have never or rarely felt before, many of us are left thinking about what our own definition of “home” is. My definition has changed over the past few days, from the moment I was called to evacuate, to discovering the fate of my own house, to the days afterward trying to collect myself, care for my family and connect with loved ones.
While not residing in my own home, I was forced to look for my “home” in other ways, often without realizing it. And, I was finding it! I found my home in my family and my friendships. I found my home with my children. I also found my home surfing with colleagues, friends, family, and students. My new definition of home is this: “the place where I can feel free to be myself, no matter what”. This is how I felt in my house, but it’s the same way that I feel in my most treasured relationships and places in nature. I found a new definition of what it means to be home.
As parents and family members, we often invest a tremendous amount of time, money and emotions creating a home for our children. When the threat of losing it is looming, we all can be faced with experiences that we struggle to even process. Children may feel our own emotions in their bodies. You might see their clinginess, oppositional behavior, regressed behavior, irritability or temper tantrums. You might also see children who are “checked out”, not really paying attention to their need for food, water or rest. Remember to allow some time and space for them to get grounded in their own ways, and for your own self-care (physical, emotional, intellectual - as this is often the best way we can support our children). I will write more in the coming weeks and months to support you in this, but first and foremost, this:
One thing I like to tell my clients who are experiencing big stress and emotions is this: “really the only thing you need to do right now is breathe”. It’s that simple. The following are some easy and powerful breathing techniques to try at home. You could try doing them together as a family, or in those moments you allow yourself to just focus on you.
- The 4x4 - I love this one. It’s the easiest one for me to remember. You breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4, and then hold again for a count of 4. You can imagine that you are creating a square when you’re doing this, or even use your finger or your eyes to trace a square in the air or on an object. You can even add another dimension to it and practice it in sets of four.
- Ocean Breathing - I have a video on our website that demonstrates this. Mind-Body Videos
Visualizing water during stress associated with a wildfire can be very soothing on many levels. You sit comfortably, imagine you hear ocean waves and you are sitting or standing at the water’s edge. Then when you inhale, imagine you’re pulling a long cleansing wave toward you. When you exhale, your breath is being pulled back with the current and returning to the sea. Imagine your breathing sounds like ocean waves. You repeat as many times as you need. You can imagine that the water is literally cleansing your mind and all of the thoughts you are spinning with.
- 4x7x8 times 7 technique - in yoga practices, many teachers understand the power of the breath in regulating emotions. Take a longer inhale than exhale, and you’ll increase energy. Take a shorter inhale and longer exhale, you will decrease excess energy. In this breathing exercise, you start by breathing in for a count of 4, holding for a count of 7, and exhaling for a count of 8. Try it! 7 times, actually. When I worked for Kaiser in the Chronic Pain clinic, this was a very popular technique to manage anxiety and pain. I also know people who breathe like this during dental procedures and it works. That should tell you enough!
I look forward to walking through all of this change with all of you! Together we can find our “home” in our relationships and community. My office hours will be Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8-4. Feel free to send me a message if you have questions, concerns, or inspirations.
Robin Bates, LMFT
CAFETERIA NEWS: Information regarding meal services during distance learning and applications for free and reduced lunch can be found on the SLVUSD Nutrition Webpage at: http://slvusdcafe.com/
The Santa Cruz County Food Services Directors have been working together to provide meal services for ALL students impacted by the CZU Lightning Complex Fire.
If you have lost your home in the fire, you automatically qualify for free meals.
If you have been evacuated from your home, you automatically qualify for free meals.
Free Meal Pick Up starting September 15, 2020. No Registration Required
(Pick up for multiple-day breakfast and lunch) Available for ALL children 18 years and younger
Pick up at BCE or Tri-Campus Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:30am-1:30pm
Please contact Alisia Muroz-Rojas, Student NutritionServices Manager, at email@example.com or 831-335-5384 with any questions.
Water Donation for affected families: Amber Walker, our very own QHIA teacher, and her husband, Michael, have prepaid an account at Pure Valley Water in Scotts Valley for any of you who are in need of clean water. Please read on for Michael’s personal note:
Hello San Lorenzo Valley Community,
My wife, Amber Walker, is a teacher at SLVUSD Charter. I have prepaid an account at Pure Valley Water in Scotts Valley for any of you who are in need of clean water. This is for anybody who is in the “Do not drink, do not boil” zones listed from SLVWD. Currently, that is north of the Alba Rd/Hwy 9 intersection. https://www.slvwd.com/sites/g/files/vyhlif1176/f/uploads/slvwd_dnd-dnb_notice_approved_completed_8.29.2020_0.pdf
For the custom account name to get water, or to donate to the account for others, one of the following will work:
-Send a personal message on Facebook to Michael Agnew
-Send an email to Amber Walker firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are in need, please go get up to ten gallons. You can go back and get more as the need continues, or until the account runs out. If you do not have a container, you can inquire with Pure Valley Water if they have any available to donate to you. This can change day to day as they are receiving some container donations.
Stay strong, reach out for help, lift each other up, and take care of yourselves.
With so much love for our community, - Michael Agnew
MISSION: SLV Surf's Up!: From Rosie Hope, Charter Nature Academy Teacher
This mission was started to help support the families of the Santa Cruz Mountains that have been impacted by the Santa Cruz Lightning Fire. My goal is to get surfboards and wetsuits to families in need so that we can get back out into the water to heal the traumas that we have faced in these times. Please answer a few quick questions to help get the process going!
My priority is to get equipment to families that lost theirs in the fires (burn or looted). Next, I would like to lend equipment to any family that cannot access theirs due to the evacuation or for any other reason, Lastly, I would like equipment to go to kids from the SLV that are interested in getting into the water!
If you have never surfed before we can help with that too!!
Please fill out this form if you are interested in receiving equipment:
Take care, Rosie Hope
Games, Puzzles & Activities Ready for Pick-Up: This opportunity is from teacher Marcy Reynolds from Coast Redwood Middle School.
Dear Charter Families,
In response to our request for games, puzzles, and other family indoor activities there has been a tremendous and loving outpouring of quality materials from the homes of those in our extended community to Rhonda in Santa Cruz and me in Palo Alto. We are very grateful for this enthusiastic response and now are looking to transfer the materials into the hands of our wonderful charter families for you and your kids to enjoy.
Why, in the age of computers, would you want to play a board game or build a table puzzle? Besides stemming boredom while staying out of the smoky air, here are some benefits that accrue through engaging in this sort of play:
Development of: *3-dimensional/tactile intelligence *Academic skills *Verbal communication skills *Friendly competition/sportsmanship skills *Teamwork skills *Perspective-taking skills *Vocabulary development
Games and puzzles also help support: *Sustained, focused attention *Soothing anxiety *Family cohesion *Changing focal length *Multi-sensory stimulation *Stimulating imagination
Why not give some a try? If you look at the spreadsheet list of materials you will see that we have items for every age and interest, even pre-school. We are in the continual process of improving the organization of items on the list, gradually clumping them together by type and adding descriptions. That process is not complete, so please do scroll down to the bottom of each list to see all the offerings. Right now we have divided the materials into separate tabs: Games, Puzzles, Building Materials, Math Activities, Science Activities, Language Arts, Visual Arts, and Performing Arts. We do also have books, but most have not been listed. If you are interested in books, please mention that to the person currently holding the materials you are interested in and they can leave out the book bags/boxes for you to look through when you pick up your items.
What’s Going on in Our Charter School? ..little snippets of some of our programs.
This is a snippet from teacher Katie Parmenter to her families in the Quail Hollow Homeschool program. Apropo for the times:
I heard this beautiful analogy today that I want to share with you: Redwood Trees are resilient. They are programmed to survive and thrive. The roots can grow out from each tree up to 100 feet. They connect their roots with other trees' roots to form a strong, stable, root system.
Another AMAZING thing about the area in which we live is... YOU! This community of people is what makes it so great! We are like the redwood trees. We are resilient. We will survive and thrive. We will support each other and become stronger - like the root system of the redwood trees, reaching out for support.
And from Kay Mendoza at Coast Redwood High School:
Here we are gearing up, again, to start school online. We are pleased to hear from our families who have found housing in a variety of incarnations. You might say we are at a "crossroads of life." Deny the unhealthy fear and embrace an amazing opportunity to start anew, or allow fear its reign and simply lose out on so much. We are grateful to know so many families are embracing opportunity and, much like our redwood forests, are resilient. This is what makes the SLV community such a special place to live.