Charter News • August 22, 2021

“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly”.  -Richard Buckminster Fuller

 

Dear Charter Families,

It was so terrific to see all the bustle of students in classrooms, parent orientations and parent volunteers on campus this week.  I saw a lot of classroom learning engagement, reconnecting with old and new peers, lots of smiles, and relaxed interactions from parents, students, and teachers. We can expect some understandable adjustments, emotional ups, and downs as students adjust to coming back to school, especially when it is a new site for many of our students but as the weeks unfold and we work together for the good of the students, these adjustments will lessen.

If you are new to our Charter, my Charter News emails are sent bi-monthly and offer various information including relevant updates from all programs, Dates from All Charter opportunities,  articles and links from our mental Health counselor, pertinent reminders from our Superintendent.  This first one is longer than usual,  as I have many updates to start the year.

  • Please read on to hear updates from Robin Bates, our district Nurse Sarah Dahlen, Covid protocols, reminders of  transportation, free meals, 

Every month I will share an article from our mental health counselor, Robin Bates. We are very fortunate to have her. She is a treasure that I hope all of you will learn to appreciate. Robin and I work to design a theme for the year that will best encapsulate the Social-Emotional skills and supports students' needs. This is based on what has been seen, heard, and shared with us from our community regarding social-emotional and mental health needs. This email contains her August message with skills to share with your children.

  • Please make sure to read your teacher’s email updates as each program has special updates for its students.
  • Also please read our Superintendent’s updates for the latest news regarding Covid safety protocols. I have added critical information from his latest email for you in this email.
    • If you are not receiving his emails, please contact Danelle Matteson, our Administrative Assistant and she will double-check that your email is connected to the District email list.

There were a lot of changes over the summer and the Pandemic has slowed construction, delivery of many of our orders, as well as finding employees for some of our positions.  Thank you for your patience as we get every new student enrolled and get all rooms in fully functional order.  

There were new Independent Study regulations over the summer that made some changes to our Homeschool teachers’ responsibilities. Additionally, we are still enrolling families who are wanting to have their student's education to be supported via Independent Study for this year due to the State mandate to have all schools offer an Independent Study option.  We have had a significant increase in the number if families enrolling and are hiring or increasing our previous teacher’s positions to support the demand.

A huge thank you to all the parent volunteers who stepped up over the last several weeks to help with our move and are supporting the various steps of opening up a new school.

  • Special Thanks to:
    • Clara Elliot who is managing the rebuild of our library, and teacher resource room, and to all the parent volunteers: Kristen Ghbeish, Lauren Reedy, and the many student volunteers
    • The Reedy family: Mom Lauren and daughters Claire and Evanne who, with help from the Hultin-Booth family put together our 6 new metal tables and 6 new benches!
    • The Spracklin, Armstong, and Reedy moms and their kids for moving wine barrels filling and planting them, moving tables, and putting up some temporary shade cloths and canopies as we wait for our permanent shade structures to arrive.
    • To Master Gardener, Melanie Burgess with helping with the dirt and plants along with her plans for our future gardens.
    • And to our wonderful custodian, Paloma Vashon, to Danelle Matteson, our administrative assistant, and Janet Hendricks, our registrar who are working double time during this unique start of the school year.

Every year we have staff turnover and this year is no different. What is different is how much longer it has been to find replacements. All of these staff hires/position changes have been within the last few weeks:

  • Rachel Hagar, who supported both 6th-grade QHIA and QHHS last year retired.
    • Ben Vanderplas is now supporting our 6th-grade QHIA at 60% on Monday-Wednesday He is also supporting the many new Independent Home Study families on his other two days.
    • David Keuter has been newly hired to support our Quail Hollow Homeschool program on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • Terri Kessler, Resource Specialist, supporting all our students also moved on.
  • Melanie Entner has just stepped into this important role.
  • Also new this year:
    • Barb Matessa will be our instructional aide, supporting all teachers and students
    • Tina Mulhall will be our campus supervisor for our lunch period.

Thanks for sharing your family and children with us!

~Rhonda

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Pandemic Safety Updates and Protocols: Here are some good links to perhaps bookmark regarding Covid Safety protocols: RETURN TO SCHOOL POLICY.  

  • Please print this guide out and refer it if you are considering whether your child should come to school
  • The California Department of Public Health undates their information regularly. CDPH GUIDELINES.  
  • If your child is symptomatic at home, we ask that you take them to their primary care provider for testing or one of our free Santa Cruz County testing sites. Please click on the following link for a list of County testing sites COUNTY COVID TESTING SITES.
  • ROUTINE STUDENT COVID SCREENING:  Separately, the district is working with the County Office of Education to provide routine screening of staff and students.  Once we have the ability to provide routine testing, student tests will require parental consent. If you are interested in routine screening for your student, please click on the following link INTEREST FORM FOR ROUTINE STUDENT COVID-19 SCREENING TESTING.
 
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From Our District Nurse: SYMPTOMATIC STUDENT TESTING (Primary Health)   At this time, we are able to offer on-site symptomatic rapid antigen, as well as PCR testing, through a partnership with CDPH and Primary.Health. To get started, please pre-register your student by clicking this link:  SLV Primary Health Registration. Each student attending school in SLVUSD will need to register once. The program is free for all participants and all questions included in the registration are required for California state public health reporting.

 If you need assistance with registration or have questions about the Rapid Antigen Testing Program, you can contact a call center representative Monday - Friday, 8am - 5pm PST at 650-275-5419. For more information, please contact our school nurse, Sarah Dahlen, at sdahlen@slvusd.org.

 

If your child is symptomatic at home, we ask that you take them to their primary care provider for testing or one of our free Santa Cruz County testing sites. Please click on the following link for a list of County testing sites COUNTY COVID TESTING SITES.

 

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 From Our Mental Health Counselor: “The Rebuild”

 

This morning, I watched the families walk their children to their first day of school for The Nature Academy 6th grade class. The kids waited patiently outside of the classroom, squirming around to contain the many feelings I imagined they were experiencing.  It’s amazing how many emotions we can experience at the same time!  Rosie Hope finished up with last-minute details in her beautiful classroom and stepped out to greet the students.  She gave them their first set of instructions for entering the classroom.  They listened so quietly and one at a time, they stepped into regular fully open school for the first time in 18 months.  I felt tears on my cheeks as my mind flashed to all of the memories - the struggles, the lessons, the loneliness and fear, the discoveries, and the incredible journey we’ve all been through together. There were times in the past year where I wondered if we’d EVER reach this huge goal.  It had become a distant dream of mine for a while. And now here we are.  It’s not perfect, but when I focus on gratitude there is so much to be thankful for this morning. And there’s no doubt in my mind that every one of these children is loved by our Charter family. 


This year is the year my family is working on the rebuilding of our home.  And, each step of the process reminds me so much of the journey we are embarking on here on our Quail Hollow campus. We are at the beginning stages of Home Rebuild, and we are faced with one challenge after another.  But once we accomplished a couple of the most beginning steps (preparing our land, tree work, working with the County, and hiring contractors), a new feeling emerged.  I never liked our old laundry room, and I never felt quite safe on our old cracked foundation. But now, we have the opportunity to build a stronger foundation and rearrange our plan to better fit who we are as a family.  This new feeling is hope. What a metaphor for where we are as a Charter community! 


This is the year of “The Rebuild”, where I will focus on supporting students with rebuilding a sense of safety, rebuilding emotional resilience, rebuilding relationships, and rebuilding community. I’m guessing we are all a bit on edge for many valid reasons, and I hope to give the students many tools for managing challenging thoughts, emotions and behaviors. From there, we can examine relationships, use skills for emotional problem solving, learn about communication and manage behavior. My hope is that as the school year progresses, we notice the rebuild of our community!  It’s in a community where we can heal, and perhaps grow wiser and more resilient than we were before. 


As your children prepare to step into their classrooms, there may be a need to help them stay grounded. Remember, that stress, anxiety, and fear are produced in our midbrain, and there are ways to “trick” your midbrain out of perceiving a threat.  Here are some simple tips for children managing stress and anxiety:

  • Give yourself a big squeeze.  Hold your arms out, take a deep breath, then squeeze your chest as tight as you can without causing any discomfort as you release a long slow exhale.  It’s as if you’re giving yourself a giant hug!  It gives your midbrain the feeling of being held safely. Parents, try it for yourself.  It sounds silly, but it works!
  • Figure 8 breathing. Some of you may be familiar with this one. The kids seem to really like it.  Trace a figure 8 with your finger (it could be very small or very large - size doesn’t matter).  When your finger goes around the first loop, inhale a deep cleansing breath.  When your finger crosses over to the next loop, do a nice long exhale. Repeat as many times as you can. Find a rhythm that works well for you.  This exercise can be done without your finger, as you can use your nose in the air, your foot on the floor, or any other creative way to make a figure 8 with your body.  One student told me a couple of years ago that he would do this while walking in a figure 8 during recess. 
  • Count backward from 100 and tap your feet in synchronicity.  This one is particularly great for getting a break from worry or impulsive thinking.  Sometimes, the most powerful tool can simply be a very easy distracting task that your brain has to focus on to complete . You might find that you are creating a pattern or a rhythm as you do this. It’s great to do when you have ruminating thoughts!  
  • The 3x3. This one is a mindfulness activity that helps to open your mind and move out of fight/freeze/flight response.  Pick three senses (ie vision, hearing, and touch). Then you experience three things with each sense.  For example, three things I see (then release), three things I hear (then release) and three things I feel on my skin (then release). This can be done while lying down, sitting or even walking/running.  Remember to take a deep breath between each one to “release the sense” before moving on to the next one.
  • Stomp your feet! Stomping your feet a few times vigorously is great for bringing us right back to the here and now, which helps when we are stuck in the future or the past.  It's also a great way to release emotions that cause tension, like anger and fear. This tool is best used before, between or after classes, where they won’t have to worry about distracting other students. 

Stay tuned for upcoming groups and offerings for good mental hygiene! 


I look forward to seeing your students around campus. My office hours are Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8-4.  My email is rbates@slvusd.org


Robin Bates, LMFT

Mental Health Specialist

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Parent Volunteers:

Volunteer opportunities will be available on a limited basis at each school site.  The registration process for volunteers is as follows:

 

New Volunteer:  You will be required to pick up and fill out the volunteer paperwork from your school site and obtain a signature from the school site administrator. Once complete, please bring your signed paperwork to the Human Resources Office. You will also be required to provide verification of a full COVID-19 vaccination and a current TB result. 

 

Returning Volunteer:  You will be required to provide verification of full COVID-19 vaccination. This documentation can be provided to your child's school site. The school site will forward proof of vaccination to the Human Resources Office. You may also bring the proof of COVID-19 vaccination documentation directly to the Human Resources Office.

 

Registration packets are available in our Charter Administration Office.

 

The Human Resources Office hours will accept volunteer registrations on Tuesdays from 7:00-11:00 am and Thursdays from 12:30-3:30 pm. The Human Resources Office is located at 325 Marion Avenue, Ben Lomond, CA 95005.

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Transportation:

Students in grades K-8 can use the District’s bus transportation to get to and from the campus. Bus information, fees, and schedules can be found at this link. Bus Transportation; SLVUSD

  • The bus will drop off students at the front of the District Office and pick up students at the top of Marion Avenue by our CRHS building (formally Ponderosa).  I will be there to greet them and help manage the drop-off/pick-up.
    • Students will use the stairs to walk up to the bus.
  • CRHS students who are taking classes at the SLVHS: Transportation can be provided from the Tri-campus or to the Tri-campus in the middle of the school day.  Please contact the Charter Administration (335-0932, rschlosser@slvusd.org) or your teacher of record if you want to use this service.

Student Drop off, pick-up:

  • All student drop-offs and pick-ups must be made safely 
    • Parents with elementary-age students need to park and walk their students to their classroom and sign them in at their classroom.
    • Middle school students can walk to their classroom where the teacher will take attendance or students will sign in.

We will have more drivers coming onto the campus, dropping off/picking up their students. Please help ensure the safety of our children by driving slowly, and staying with your young child when walking to and from your car. Older students, please do not run and watch for moving cars when you are in the parking area.

NOTE: The driveway down to the main campus is not designed for walkers and cars at the same time. Buses need to take wide turns to exit the transportation lot. Please use the stairs when going up and down from Marion Avenue to the central campus area.

 

Bikes:

  • Any student who is riding their bike to the campus needs to park their bike at the top by the Coast Redwood High School building and walk down and up the steps to and from the central campus area.

Parking:

  • Parents of elementary and middle school students can park in front of the District Office Building.
  • CRHS students who are driving to classes can park in the front parking lot and walk up the stairs to the CRHS building.
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Student Nutrition Services: FREE BREAKFAST AND LUNCH

  • USDA has extended free breakfast and lunch to all students through the 2021-2022 school year. 
  • Meals will be serves from our Multi-use Room in the central area of the campus.
    • Breakfast will be available in the mornings starting at 8:15-8:40. 
    • Lunch will be served starting at 11:45 on Mondays, 12:10 Tuesdays-Fridays
    • CRHS students can order lunch and it will be delivered to the CRHS building.
    • More details are coming from our Student Nutrition Department. SLV Student Nutrition Services.
  • The more students use this service and share what they enjoy eating, the better Alicia and her team can support us.

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Dates to Remember:

  • Wednesday, August 25:  Nature Academy Virtual Back to School Night 
  • Monday, September 6:  School Holiday
  • Thursday, September 23: K-8 School Pictures 10:00 am-11:30 am

Key Contacts

Administrator: Rhonda Schlosser: rschlosser@slvusd.org

Administrative Assistant: Danelle Matteson: dmatteson@slvusd.org

Registrar: Jane Hendricks jhendricks@slvusd.org

Mental Health Counselor: Robin Bate rbates@slvusd.org

HS Academic Counselor: Mary Zilge  mzilge@slvusd.org

 SLV Charter Website

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