Charter News • February 28, 2021

“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
~Amy March, in Little Women

Dear families,



Re-opening: additional information.  For all Charter programs: 

I understand that it could be difficult to make a firm decision without knowing all the details, but the basic question the survey asks pertains to us knowing who is wanting to come back, and who would prefer to stay in the current DL format for the months remaining in the current school year. So far, there are between 20-25% who are saying that they want to stay with Distance Learning only.  Transportation, health concerns, comfort in the DL format are all considerations for families.


Regardless of the program, the on-site options will be for a limited number of hours, ensuring safety protocols of masks and social distancing at all times, whether working on an indoor or outdoor activity.  The more we know who would like to attend on-site, the more we can work with the number of students and design our cohorts accordingly. When designing our cohorts, we will look at the balance of ages, friendships, academic content to the greatest extent possible.


The Charter has 7 different programs, most of them based on Homeschooling/Independent Study, Nature Academy is the only program that is a fully seat-based program. Our site-based enrichment hybrid reopening options will stay in alignment with each program’s original format/emphasis. The Nature Academy will be creating a hybrid on-site option that will have similar times to SLVMS.  We do not want to add additional work to our small staff or change a now-familiar DL programming for the students; whenever possible teachers will maintain their current online teaching as they are currently.  Our on-site focus will be a combination of small group content support, team-building, and social-emotional activities.


In the next couple of weeks, I will be working with the teachers in the various programs to firm up the specifics about their hybrid site plans. We will be sharing more as soon as the plans are consolidated enough.


Thank you for your patience as we move forward.



P.S.: Don’t forget to review your teachers' emails each week!  They are working so hard to keep your students engaged and learning at their best, but we need your help too by reading our emails and checking on their work.


P.P.S: Please read on for dates for Robin’s and my Zoom meetings.  This Tuesday, March 2 at 10:00, join Robin and me for R&R Coffee Chat ZoomReflections on Homeschooling will be held on Wednesday, March 3 at 10:30   Parents love to hear from other parents as well, and so I hope for a strong number of various homeschooling attendees. 


And please read the article on the importance of staying aware of your child’s social media presence.  It’s a bit long but worth the while. We know that children are spending more and more time on social media and chatting with their peers. Unlike talking to someone who is in the same room, chats do not allow children to ask clarifying questions, read facial expressions and thus oftentimes words or comments can be misconstrued.  Children can no longer engage with each other in physical or constructive activities and thus stimulation ofter comes through overdramatization or gossip.  Every year, student's personal social media dramas and woes overflow into our Charter programs, affecting students' comfort levels in the classroom.  It is critical that parents talk to each other about your children’s on-line relationship become hurtful. Staff will step in when we can, but without parents working with parents, the negative consequences rarely go away.


Due to a slower than expected move on the construction, we have decided to postpone the Town Hall meeting regarding the Charter consolidation onto the Quail Hollow site. Stay tuned for further information as the construction at Quail Hollow moves further along.


And please continue to read the emails from Dr. Bruton regarding the steps toward expanding our on-site opportunities for students and the steps required to fully open schools back up. 


All the Best,    





VIRTUAL CHARTER INFORMATION NIGHT DATES:  Our annual Charter Information Nights are coming up in March! 

Please share our Information Night flyers with anybody you may know who is interested in enrolling with us next year, including appropriate FB groups, if you like.

All Homeschool-Hybrid Programs Information Night: March 9th, 2021, 6 pm

Nature Academy Information Night: March 16th, 2021, 6 pm

Registration for Nature Academy Info Night Here




Internet Safety:

Note: The information in this article was taken from  It is a fabulous resource for parents to help navigate these complicated digital waters! Additionally, I have found very solid information and suggestions on communicating with your child about social media from  TECH TALK TUESDAYS Weekly Newsletter from filmmaker Delaney Ruston, MD  I encourage you to take a look.

Also - as parents I believe it’s very important that we continue to talk to each other about what we’re seeing, learning, and hearing from our teens. Parents can be a HUGE resource for each other and it’s a way to expand your “digital village” to help protect these teens.  You can create “united fronts” on rules and learn more perspectives about your teen’s digital life. 


In an article called “What are the Basic Social Media Rules for Middle Schoolers?” wonderful website,, the first paragraph states….

The reality is that most kids start developing online relationships around the age of 8, usually through virtual worlds such as Club Penguin. By age 10, they've progressed to multiplayer games and sharing their digital creations and homemade videos on sites such as YouTube. By age 13, millions of kids have created accounts on social networking sites such as Facebook.

Word for word, it’s a great paragraph to remember. Many kids in middle school have already been developing online relationships for several years before they get to the 6th grade.  However, in middle school, when, developmentally, there are big thoughts and feelings that children don’t quite yet have the skills to manage, students often turn to the familiar ground of social media to explore and express their ideas with few boundaries to stop them until sometimes it’s too late.  Words are said that should not have been said, and there they are, in print to be read again and again, and sometimes misused.


Unfortunately, many learn the hard way the risks and dangers of online relationships when messages are misread or misunderstood, conflicts escalate with significantly less support than they would have gotten in a real person situation.


A child’s friends on social media sites (who may be a little more than a name and the short phrases and memes that are shared) can be as real and impactful as a friend who has been physically in their lives for years.  Do you, as their parent/guardian, know all the friends that they are socializing with online? Have you taken the time (regularly) to check on with your child about how their online friendships are developing?  For those that they talk to often, have you talked to your child about where they live, perhaps about their family as you would a friend who comes to your home?  Can you tell if there has been a conversation online that may be impacting your child?  Is there trust between you and your child so that they feel comfortable talking to you about what their on-line life is like?


This same article lists some rules to remember for these kids as they navigate the social media world:

  • Follow the rules. Many social sites have an age minimum of 13 for both legal and safety/privacy reasons. Encourage kids to stick with age-appropriate sites.
  • Tell your kids to think before they post. Remind them that everything they post can be seen by a vast, invisible audience (otherwise known as friends-of-friends-of-friends). Each family will have different rules, but, for middle school kids, it's a good idea for parents to have access to what their kids are doing online, at least at first, to be sure that what's being posted is appropriate. Parents can help keep kids from doing something they'll regret later. 
  • Make sure kids set their privacy settings. Privacy settings aren't foolproof, but they can be helpful. Take the time to learn about default settings and how to change privacy settings on your kids' favorite sites, and teach your kids how to control their privacy.
  • Kindness counts. Lots of sites have anonymous applications such as "bathroom walls" or "honesty boxes" that allow users to tell their friends what they think of them. Rule of thumb: If your kids wouldn't say it to someone's face, they shouldn't post it!

And about online drama (found on…

To adults, digital drama and cyberbullying may seem one and the same. But to kids, there's a difference. Unlike cyberbullying, which involves repeated harassment of someone, digital drama is the everyday tiffs and disputes that occur among friends or acquaintances online or via text message. A guy may change his relationship status to "single" immediately after a fight with his girlfriend to make a statement. A teen may post a comment about someone else knowing that people will see it, friends may chime in, and people will talk about it. In the same way that the word drama describes a performance, kids usually engage in online drama with an audience in mind.

In some cases, digital drama can escalate into an offline fight -- either verbal or physical. Here's how you can help your kid avoid this:

  • Help set boundaries. Understand that these days relationships often are played out both online and offline. Kids need their family's guidance in establishing appropriate boundaries for healthy relationships.
  • Take a time-out. With constant access to texting and posting online, kids don't get a break from the back and forth that can keep digital drama going. Have some device-free time (daily) to give kids a chance to cool off.
  • Let them know you're always there for them. Remind your kids often that you're always available to talk. While you're at it, remind them about the school counselor, a favorite teacher, a coach, or even a friend's parent. Knowing that they have a trusted adult to talk to may encourage teens to open up more.
  • Use media to talk about drama. Reality TV shows often present extreme behavior as entertainment. Discuss why these shows are less likely to depict positive conflict resolution. Also talk about how these shows can encourage negative stereotypes about female friendships.

About High School -  As teens’ relationships and experience online continue, they can literally live their lives from their phones - checking friends’ status, updating their status throughout the day, watching TV shows and following YouTube stars.  Here are some more tips to practice as their experience becomes more complex:

  • Think about your online reputation, or “footprint”.  Remind teens that even if they think it’s private, anyone can eventually find what they’ve shared on social media.  This includes colleges, future employers, and organizations. Ask your teen to think about how others might interpret their shares and posts.
  • Anything they create can be cut, pasted, altered, and shared around to a wider audience. Once they put something online, it’s out of their control forever. Have your teen think twice and be cautious about the subject and material they post.
  • Avoid drama.  This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s easy to slip into or want to be “entertained” by others’ conflicts and controversial shares.  Do not forward harmful messages and photos (unless they are sharing a screenshot to a safe adult in order to get help). And DON’T EVER attempt to impersonate someone else and post for them, even if it seems harmless.
  • Don’t post your location! Even though it’s tempting for teens to brag about where they are, it’s not safe.  Assume they don’t know everyone who can see the post.
  • Watch the clock. Set limits on chunks of time.  Social media can suck up hours and hours without a participant even realizing it!

Robin Bates, LMFT & Rhonda Schlosser


From Dr. Bruton: Safe Reopening/Expanding on-site services.

Currently, school staff are being vaccinated or will be scheduled to be vaccinated in preparation for in-person classes. Returning to in-person classes will proceed in phases as school staff is adequately immunized. Specific dates for reopening each grade level will be determined based on the completion of state guidelines, and the vaccination and immunization timeline for staff.


The SLVUSD district administration and SLV Teachers Association and SEIU continue to work together to prepare for schools and classrooms to reopen. Districts in Santa Cruz County are predicted to begin reopening in mid-March and early April.  Preschool, kindergarten, and special education groups will most likely be the first started and will be followed by other elementary grade levels. Middle and high schools will follow as health conditions allow but will continue to offer as many in-person services as possible. More detailed information and specific dates will be provided as soon as they are available.


Thank you for your patience and support for staff and students.


Dr. Laurie Bruton



Parent Advisory Committee: Next Meeting Date: Tuesday, March 9th at 10:30am.

Join Zoom Meeting


We will continue to focus on our LCAP; Local Control and Accountability Plan as well as plans for supporting the outside area of our Quail Hollow school site and Library needs.  It is important that our Charter parents are informed of the reports and processes that our Charter is held accountable to.  Please attend this meeting if you are wanting to step up for a more active role in the growth of your student’s Charter school.


Everyone is welcome to attend these meetings, however, please remember that it is important to have a consistent group of parents to represent each program in the Charter.  This Committee helps advise on various Charter annual activities, reports, including the budget and Charter renewal.  They then report out in their various program parent meetings and gather additional information from the parents in the programs.


Zoom opportunity: Reflections on Homeschooling. 10:30 am Every 1st and 3rd 

This will be a time to discuss critical questions on your minds and various learning strategies for all age groups.  The idea may have been initiated for those new to the homeschool process,  but based on my 30 + years of experience, I know that this forum will be a great opportunity for more veteran homeschoolers as well.  I’d love to hear the voices of old and new on these Wednesday Zoom times.  

Join Zoom Meeting

Reflections on Homeschooling: 10:30 Every other Wed of each Month

R & R Coffee Chat Check-in for parents:

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.

Join R&R Zoom meeting: March 2,18

  • March 2
  • March 18

We look forward to “sharing coffee” and conversation with you!

Robin’s Consistent Meetings: In addition to classroom support and 1-1 sessions, Robin is holding regular group support meetings. For more information, contact Robin Bates, LMFT [email protected]

  • 2x times monthly - R & R coffee parent meeting
  • Thursdays at 12 - support group for parents with CZU home loss
  • Thursdays at 3 - support group for highschool students - "The Unwind"


Parents' Support Group for Home Loss

Thursdays at noon

Hi families. I'm learning first-hand that losing a home is a major major loss. The experience of grief can be unexpected and overwhelming at times. I created this group for us to come together to support each other, share our struggles and successes in hope that we don't feel alone in this long process of healing.


Coast Redwood High School Students, you are invited to...

The Unwind

45-minute zoom group with Robin Bates

Join any week! Thursdays at 3 pm

We will take some time to check-in, explore mental health topics,

support and unwind together in a weekly group for 6 weeks. This is not a psychotherapy group, but simply a place to check in, unwind, learn and connect with the counselor and your peers. I hope to see you all there!




From the Santa Cruz County Office of Education:

NAMI Basics is a free, 6-week education program for parents and family caregivers of youth (11-17) who are experiencing mental health challenges or who have been diagnosed with a mental health condition. This course is a highly recommended resource for parents who are looking for information and support for themselves and for their children who experience challenging behaviors and/or moods. The curriculum focuses on facts about mental health and how best to support children at home, at school, and when they're getting medical care. 


The course is taught by a trained team with lived experience—they know what family caregivers go through, because they've been there themselves, and are compassionate to unique challenges.


Parents/Caregivers to register now at:


Or by contacting our office at:

(831)-824-0406 or [email protected]




In Case of Immediate Emergency Dial 9-1-1

Santa Cruz County 24-Hour Suicide Crisis Line- 1-877-663-5433 (ONE LIFE)

Santa Cruz County 24-Hour Crisis Line- 1-800-952-2335. Immediate crisis support to assess for hospitalization in a psychiatric crisis.

NAMI Santa Cruz County Help Line- 831-427-8020 x7 For individuals and family members affected by mental illness interested in learning more about local resources and navigating the mental health care system. Leave a message and receive a call back within 24 hours.

National 24-Hour Disaster Distress Helpline- 1-800-985-5990 Free counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters (COVID-19 included).

Santa Cruz County 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline- 1-888-900-4232

Santa Cruz County 24-Hour Child Abuse and Neglect Report Line-1-877-505-3299

Suicide Prevention Services of the Central Coast  831-459-9373

Crisis Text Line-Text 741-741 for 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Support


What to do in a Mental Health Crisis

If you are thinking about harming yourself or attempting suicide, tell someone who can help right away: Call your doctor’s office, 911 for emergency services, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room. Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to be connected to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.


Ask a family member or friend to help you make these calls or take you to the hospital. If You Have a Family Member or Friend in a Crisis: If you have a family member or friend who is suicidal, do not leave him or her alone. Try to get the person to seek help immediately from an emergency room, physician, or mental health professional. Take seriously any comments about suicide or wishing to die.


Even if you do not believe your family member or friend will actually attempt suicide, the person is clearly in distress and can benefit from your help in receiving mental health treatment. If you are not in imminent danger but need immediate crisis support call: (800) 952-2335 / (24-hours a day for Santa Cruz County residents to assess for hospitalization in a psychiatric crisis.)



Charter Office Contact Information: The Charter office is open Monday through Friday from 8 am-4 pm. To reduce COVID19 exposure we ask that parents call or email the office before physically coming to the office in order to make arrangements to make contact with us in person. We will have a pick up/drop-off box outside our office for parents to pick up/drop off items that need to be returned to office staff. Our office phone numbers are 335-0932 or 336-5167. You may also email us at  [email protected] or [email protected] 


We appreciate everyone’s cooperation in helping us keep office staff healthy and safe during this time so that we can continue to support our families.


Dates to Remember:

  • March 12th, Friday: No school: Professional Development for Teachers
  • April 5th-9th: No school: Spring Break
  • May 31, Monday: No School; Holiday



Administrator: Rhonda Schlosser: [email protected]

Administrative Assistant: Danelle Matteson: [email protected]

Registrar: Janet Hendricks [email protected]

Mental Health Counselor: Robin Bates [email protected]

HS Academic Counselor: Mary Zilge  [email protected]

 SLV Charter Website