Charter News•April 30, 2023

Effort is only effort when it begins to hurt. – José Ortega y Gasset


Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort. – Franklin D. Roosevelt


Dear Charter Families,


We are now stepping into the Month of May.  With the last school day on June 1, we can certainly begin the countdown in earnest. PLEASE, make sure to READ ALL your teacher’s emails and updates as every one has special events of various sorts, including their own unique graduation/promotion celebrations.


For our secondary programs especially, it is also the push for students to complete all their curriculum and assignments,  Thank you for supporting them to continue to put in their best effort in all their work.  Remember that for Nature Academy and CRHS, students cannot attend their end of year excursions if their work is not completed.


This week is the start of The Nature Academy beginning the CAASPP testing, CRHS beginning their Math section.  All other programs are continuing with their make-up sessions.  We all thank you very much for participating and asking your students to take the time to do their best.  We are within range of making our required 95% participation rate and for that I am truly grateful. 


And once again, I want to thank ALL parents who are stepping up to creates and /or support all the special events that each of our programs are offering this year.  These events could not happen without strong parent support.  A recent one was the semi-annual Nature Academy Renaissance Fair.  I was there to observe part of the luncheon spread, as well as the Auction, where students used their Florins to bid on various donated items: It was such a fun culminating event for the students.  So many parents stepped up in so many ways: planning the event, securing the venue, organizing volunteers, securing so many great auction items, prepping art, juggling, and interview items for days ahead of time, sending in auction and food items, and coming out and helping everything to flow smoothly for the various events.  A big shout-out to Shawnee who took on the role of Organization Queen, which included convincing her husband Dave to act as auctioneer!


Speaking of end of year events, our K-8 teachers will be hosting Field Games for all our students this Friday, May 5th from 12:30-3:30.  This is offered to all of our students and is designed as collaborative activities, so that all of our students can end the year enjoying some fun field play together.  


Also!,  Please read further to find out about the Homeschool Parent Booster clubs special ICe Cream event at Highland on May 4th: open to ALL parents and their children.  There is also a final article from Jen Sims, as well as reminders for some special opportunities and events. 


And!  All of our programs are finishing up their unique yearbooks.  Thanks to those that are sending in pictures and helping the students with the layout.


Thank you for sharing your children with us,




ALL Charter Ice Cream Social: Thursday, May 4th

Come out to the All-Charter Ice Cream Social! EVERYONE in the SLV Charter community is invited -- students (K-12), teachers, staff, and all of their families. 

This is a rain or shine event - Bundle up!  Bring a spoon and umbrella!   Eat ice cream!

WHEN: Thursday, May 4th, 2:30 - 4 pm

WHERE: Highlands Park Playground area

The ice cream is generously being donated by Marianne's Ice Cream in Santa Cruz, and we will have a non-dairy sorbet option, too! (FYI: We will collect donations at the event to cover incidental costs and to create a starter fund for the SLV Charter Boosters.)


Special Ice Cream Social Thursday, May 4th, 2:30-4pm at Highlands Park Playground

 Hope to see you there!

~ Melissa Sniffen, FC / SLV Charter Boosters


CAASPP testing: We are beginning our annual CAASPP testing in our programs, starting next week for CRHS, CRMS, and QHIA.  Your teachers will be sharing more specific information regarding which tests and the start times.  The state tests are only one measure or a students understanding, they are untimed, and will not count against their grades. 


Unfortunately, the State has ramped up the reason we need to have our students take the annual State assessment, with school penalties if we do not have enough students test. 

- In addition to the importance of our needing at least 95% of students testing in all school, (which for Charter schools is a already a critical aspect of the charter renewal process) next year, for the first time, students who do not test will now be labeled by the state as having failed it, thus their negative scores will drop the Charter’s overall testing scores.


This is something we have no control over.  So, we are asking each of you who has a student of testing age to please help us by having them take the test.  - If we do not get at least 95% of our students testing, we will fall into program improvement.  - If our overall test scores are lowered, then we fall into another level of school improvement requirements.


Our teachers are very adept at making the testing environment as relaxed as possible for their students. We offer healthy snacks and give plenty of brain and physical breaks.  We encourage students to keep a positive open mindset, and think logically as they think through the questions.  If you have any questions regarding the testing process for your child, please email or give me a call.


Change to our on-site days for our new TK-1 hybrid homeschool program next year.

In listening to our parents regarding our schedule for our newly revised elementary hybrid-homeschool programs, we concurred that the benefit for families to have the on-site elementary enrichment on the same days outweighed the benefit of having a less busy  environment for the new TK-1 program. Thus, we have changed the days that our TK-1 program will meet next year.  They will now meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the same days that the grades 2-5 program will meet.  We will stagger the start and end times as we have the programs in the past to help with the drop off and pick up, allowing parents to park and bring their young ones to the classroom door, having a check-in and possible time to chat with fellow parents before you head off for the day.


Start and end times for our programs on-site classes next year:

  • CRHS classes will start at 8:30 and end near lunch time, Mon-Thurs, with elective  some afternoons, and Fridays for 1-1 meetings and additional time for Independent Study coursework.
  • Nature Academy will start each day again at 8:45 so that students who need to can take the bus. End times will vary as it did this year to support minute requirements, bus and excursion needs.
  • TK-1  on-site enrichment will start at 9 am, end at 12:00, Tues and Thursdays
  • QHIA on-site enrichment will start at 9 am, afternoon lab time will end at 2:30, Mon-Thurs., with Fridays for 1-1 meetings, Independent Study coursework.
  • Grades 2-5 on-site enrichment will start at at 9:30, end at 1:30, Tues and Thursdays.
  • CRMS on-site enrichment will start at 9:30, end at 2 pm, Wed and Thursdays.

 (All programs will have added field outings and excursions that will add and/or possibly change their weekly schedule at times through the year. Fridays are oftentimes the day for special Charter events and excursions. Teachers will continue to keep parents informed via their weekly emails.)


2023 Youth Art Exhibit: Some of our Charter students have work on display go check it out if you get a chance! March 24 - May 5, 2023, Santa Cruz County Government Center, 1st and 5th floors, 701 Ocean St, Santa Cruz. There are 400+ works of art from students from Santa Cruz County schools are on display. 


2023 Youth Art Exhibit: Some of our Charter students have work on display go check it out if you get a chance! March 24 - May 5, 2023, Santa Cruz County Government Center, 1st and 5th floors, 701 Ocean St, Santa Cruz. There are 400+ works of art from students from Santa Cruz County schools are on display. 


Family/Student Opportunities:

Multicultural Fair- Music, Food, and Art, Saturday, May 6, 10:30am to 2:30pm. At Skypark, we invite you to join us in this celebration of diversity.


Felton Library: Here are just a couple of things currently happening. Preschool storytime is on Thursdays at 11am. Make and Explore! STEAM after-school program every week on Thursdays from 3-5pm for ages 8+ (though we have had children who are as young as five come, and the upper age group who shows up right now tends to be no older than 12). They have many activities for students and families check out their website calendar for upcoming events: calendar link 


SLV Music & Art Festival at Roaring Camp Railroads

SLV Music Boosters will be hosting our Second Annual SLV Music & Art Festival at Roaring Camp Railroads on May 17, 2023. This event features students grades 5-12 and includes band, choir, and art. The gate opens at 4:00 and performances begin at 5:00. We hope you will attend this community event and enjoy a fun night out with performances from each of the talented school music ensembles, a student art display, 6 food trucks, and a silent auction. The festival is free for everyone, but donations will be accepted to raise money for future field trips, music, instruments, and instrument accessories. If you are able to donate an auction item or provide cash sponsorship to our silent auction, please fill out our silent auction donation form


SLVHS and Coast Redwood Grad Night event:  The SLV Grad Night committee has been actively planning for the end of year SLV Grad Night, a safe and sober event. Tickets are now available on the website This covers both SLV and Coast Redwoods schools.Starting April 17th, ticket pricing will be $90.


The organizing committee is looking for additional junior or sophomore parents who like to get involved to learn about running a Grad Night event, and participating in the event itself. Please reach out to one of the leads, shown on the SLV grad night web page.

Please help support grad night!   Many of our CRHS grads attend this event with their friends at SLVHS.  It is special that our two district high schools have so many ways to engage in activities together and Grad Night is their most important event!

Sees Candy Fundraiser!  

This is your final chance to support our long-standing tradition of a safe and sober grad night event by purchasing chocolate!  Please join us in giving our seniors a sweet send off after graduation. Think Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations, etc. Show your appreciation! Sees candy makes great gifts, or buy yourself a little something special. All items ship direct to you, $70 order gets free shipping. Gift cards are also available.

Use our link below to order until May 31


Parent Advisory Committee meeting; Tuesday, May 16 at 9:30

We will meet in the Library or on Zoom.  We will continue our discussion on programs and planning for next year.

For those who cannot meet in person, you can connect via Zoom  

Join Zoom Meeting:


These meetings are designed to ensure we have parent input into critical documents that are the backbone of the Charter, as well as supporting the growth and development of the campus activities and culture of the Charter as a whole.  Yearly this committee gives input to our Local Control Accountability Plan (includes our school goals and funding) School Safety Plan, Annual Parent Survey, and our 5 year Charter Petition Renewal and Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accreditation review.


County Opportunities

Eyeglasses and Eye Exams: Please contact our District Nurse, Kelly McWaid at [email protected] if you'd like information on how students who have financial needs in SC county may qualify for free eye exams and/or new or replacement glasses.


Summer CyberCamp: We're excited to announce the return of our annual summer CyberCamps. We'd love your assistance spreading the word about this unique opportunity.

  • 2023 Summer CyberCamp registration is now OPEN
    • These are FREE week-long camps, in-person at Cabrillo in Aptos
    • Ideal CyberCampers are current 8th-12th graders and community college students with basic computer skills and little to no cybersecurity experience
    • Awesome way for students to learn about cybersecurity and connect to computer science in a relaxed environment
    • Great experience to include on college admission essays!
    • Includes Cabrillo and UCSC campus tours
  • Details: 
    • Introductory Camp is June 12–16 
    • Intermediate Camp is June 19–23
      • We recommend students taking Intermediate Camp first take Intro Camp
      • An optional Virtual Advance CyberCamp is also available for those who wish to continue further
    • Both camps run Monday–Friday from 9am–3pm 
    • Lunch, snacks and all computer equipment is provided

Summer CyberCamp Flier - English

Summer CyberCamp Flier - Spanish 



Narcan Distribution Clinic The County Office of Education, SafeRX, Inspire and Cabrillo are partnering to distribute Naloxone (Narcan) for free!

Parents, guardians and youth are invited to pick up free doses of Narcan, a life-saving tool that can reverse an opioid overdose.

The free, drive-thru distribution clinic is scheduled for 12-4 p.m. April 22 at Cabrillo College in Parking Lot R. Attendees can also receive information about how to talk to youth about opioids and other drugs and get connected with local resources.

Please see the attached flyers in both English and Spanish. For more information, visit the SafeRX website.


Board of Trustee Meetings The next School Board meeting will be on Wednesday, May 3rd at 6:00 pm at 325 Marion Avenue, Ben Lomond, CA 95005. 

For more detailed information, please check out the district website SLV School Board Meetings


Student Absences: REMINDER

For Nature Academy families, everyday that your child is absent from school you need to call our attendance line at 831-336-8527 to report their absence. Please leave your child's name, your name, and the reason for the absence.

For Homeschool families if your child will be absent from enrichment classes please contact your teacher of record to report their absence.


2023-2024 SLVUSD School Calendar: The 2023-2024 SLVUSD School Calendar It is posted to the Charter website SLVUSD 23-24 calendar


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.)

  • CAASPP Testing Dates (maybe subject to slight changes)
    • Monday, May 1- Friday, May 5, 2023: Coast Redwood HS and Nature Academy
    • Monday, May 8 - Friday, May 12, 2023: Nature Academy
    • Monday, May 15 - Friday, May 19, 2023: Nature Academy
  • Monday, May 29, 2023: District Holiday
  • Thursday, June 1, 2023: Last day of school