Charter News•May 21, 2023

Dear Charter Families,


Now that the State testing is over, except for a few students finishing their make-up tests, we are settling back into the end of year wrap up events. 

Our homeschool programs are busy with their essential end of year grading and 1-1 personalized conferences. Students and parents are wrapping up their final benchmarks,projects, and assignments. The Nature Academy students will be at their end of year excursions all this week and CRHS will have their graduation ceremony this Friday.


With this in mind, I wanted to highlight a few special parents in this Charter News that have made a massive difference in our Charter this year.  Please read on to hear about some of these special parents. We wouldn’t have our K-8 library or our three great garden areas without Clara and Melanie. And our PAC and Booster Clubs wouldn’t be as solid and productive without the continued dedication of a couple handful of parents.


I have also included some special events still happening through the end of the year and into the summer.


Thank you for sharing your children with us,




Introducing our new CRHS Science teacher, Micaiah Sutter: 

I grew up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, attending Quail Hollow Elementary, SLV Middle School, and SLV High School. After high school I joined the U.S. Army and learned my first vocation as a mechanic. I was a professional mechanic for several years, also serving as a volunteer firefighter and first responder while living in southwestern Missouri. I returned to my home state of California to pursue higher education, graduating from Humboldt State University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Botany. Following my degree, I spent 2 years on the Big Island of Hawaii working as a field botanist with the U.S. Forest Service, caring for over 5,000 native endangered plants. I love Hawaiian music, culture and mythology. I returned to California for the last time to pursue my calling: teaching. I earned my Masters in Education from UC Santa Cruz. The last 5 years I have spent designing and teaching science classes in Watsonville while pursuing a few of my favorite activities; travel, music (I play the violin), woodworking, philosophy and experiencing the natural beauty of our area. 


DEADLINE is May 31!  Vote SLVUSD Charter for Best Charter School in Growing Up Santa Cruz Magazine  Please go to the link below and vote for SLV Charter School in the category of Best Charter School.  You can even win free Boardwalk tickets just for completing the survey!  (Schools are on page 12 in the survey)     Growing Up in Santa Cruz Survey


Fundraiser for all the Charter Programs: We still have 4 more shifts to fill for the Redwood Mountain Fair fundraiser. A big thank you to those who have already signed up;11 for QHIA, 10 for Nature Academy, 10 for FC/QH, 7 for CRMS, and 4 for CRHS.  This event is a fun way to work in a fundraiser.

Click here to sign up for the 4 remaining shifts Mt. Faire Volunteers




Clara Elliot: This amazing woman was the leader who created our TK-8 library. It was an empty classroom full of boxes of books gathered from our various programs moving to this site, and is now a beautiful library that draws staff, students, and parents to it everyday today.  Clara tirelessly sorted through the collections, helped us determine what to keep or toss, then help decide what to put in the library versus in the Teacher Resource Room. She learned the Follett Destiny management system, categorized the books and managed many parent and high school student volunteers as they shelved the books, using an organization system that would work for our unique needs. She also helped with the choice of decor; her suggestions for rugs, tables, shelves were wonderful.  Her personal touches of posters and sayings made our library a very welcome place for all our grades.


Throughout the year, she introduced the use of the library to all our K-8 students, helped with various research projects, led story hour to the younger students and trained our teachers and volunteers how to check books out and back in. As a contracted employee, she went above and beyond her hours, volunteering countless hours to ensure that the library space was one that she felt was ready for action, and all needed next steps in the coming years. Unfortunately for the library, she has decided to step down from her support in the library to focus her energy more to her students’ homeschooling.   

We will forever be reminded and grateful of your work, Clara. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.


P.S. (I am in the process of hiring a librarian for next year and will share out when the process is complete)



Melanie Burgess: The most dedicated parent and devoted gardener who, for nearly seven years (maybe more) has tirelessly worked with the students and teachers to maintain our gardens and the essential student education around sustainable gardening practices needed in order to help connect our future leaders to the care of the environment.


Perhaps you didn’t read the various synopses that I shared in the Charter News over the year about her work, so I will share a bit of what her efforts have given our site and your students.  Once a month, she takes a grade level group to their respective gardens: one for K-5, 6-8, and 9-12.  Each class lesson has a educational component supporting a developmentally appropriate understanding of sustainable gardening, particular to our school sites habitat, as well as a hands-on component.  The gardens were designed with students having a voice in what would be done when appropriate. The TK-5 garden is shadier than the others with a walking trail through it. The middle schoolers garden has a focus on plants and herbs that can be good for teas. The high school gardens are more for the practices and knowledge that integrate in their Horticulture course. She maintains data on the weather with the students and integrates this into their lessons. 


She has refreshed and revived each of the three gardens areas that we have, moving dirt, purchasing amendments and plants.  She creates the lessons so that the students gain knowledge on identifying the soils and their nutrients needed, water needs, native and invasive species, insects, how to combat pests in a humane manner.  She is also working with the students and fellow teachers who want to stay fully involved in the restoration of the site; converting our empty triangles and plots of rock and dirt into inviting areas for all the Charter students and community at large.


We are lucky that she will be coming back to expand on the work she is doing with the students.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Melanie, for the tireless work you do for the Charter and our staff and students. 


Thanks to our parents who contributed to our various Booster Clubs and/or Parent Advisory Committee.

Luckily, there are key parents who are deeply involved in the actions of the Charter and programs that represent the voice and needs of each or our programs. As much as I would like to name each of you individually, I would be afraid I would miss one of you who work more behind the scenes in your support for our various programs. Suffice to say that we had 10-13 parents regularly come to the PAC meetings every month, 11 that helped to manage the various Booster Clubs, and within that, 6-7 parents were actively involved in both groups.  


This level of involvement and understanding about key Charter requirements, reports, funding and daily needs for each program gives me great confidence in a smooth transition with your next principal. I will be sharing this information with Ms. LeRoux next time she and I meet.  I know she will be happy to hear that she not only has a strong staff, but also a supportive parent base.


Board of Trustee Meetings The next School Board meeting will be on Wednesday, June 7th 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


Sees Candy: Grad Night 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 gifts for 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 the link below to order until May 31 


Family/Student Community Opportunities:

Free parenting workshops coming up in May and the first weeks of June.


NAMI Family Support Groups

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Santa Cruz County, offers many incredible free classes and supports groups. We would like to draw your attention to the Family Support Group for Parents and Caregivers of Youth (PCOY), which happens every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month. We know many of our youth are struggling with anxiety, depression, and other mental and emotional concerns, and we have heard directly how concerned their family members are. This is a free, drop in resource where parents and caregivers can meet each other and share stories, information, and hope



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


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

__________________________________________________________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.)

  • Monday, May 22, 2023: Quail Hollow Integrated Arts 8th grade Advancement 10am-1pm
    • Tuesday, May 23, 2023: Fall Creek Homeschool 5th grade Advancement 11am-1pm
    • Friday, May 26, 2023: Coast Redwood High School Graduation 10am-12pm
  • Monday, May 29, 2023: District Holiday
  • Tuesday, May 30, 2023: Coast Redwood Middle School 8th grade Advancement 10:30am-1:30pm
  • Wednesday, May 31, 2023: Nature Academy 8th grade Advancement 10:30am-12pm
  • Thursday, June 1, 2023: Last day of school