Charter News • January 12, 2019

Charter News

January 13, 2019


“It always seems impossible until it's done.” ~ Nelson Mandela

Dear Parents,


Welcome to 2019!  The New Year is well underway and I hope you and your children are looking forward to some fun, interesting, and/or exciting new plans to share with each other.  We all work better when we can think of something positive or rewarding. It is good to remind each other of the importance of maintaining healthy routines and open communication.  Doing so helps to ensure that you can best support each other in the daily schoolwork and home duties we have to complete.


We all know that putting forward a positive attitude and thinking from the shoes of the other person is the best way to keep our collaborative efforts working smoothly. But sometimes when are rushed to get things done, we forget to put this into practice.  I remember how easy it was to ask my children the quick ‘How was your day?’ or ‘Did you finish your schoolwork?’ Inevitably they answered with one word and I often left it at that, moving on to tell them what to do to help with dinner. And I also remember how easily it could feel like we were living next to each other rather than with each other!


I invite you to try some new phrases with your children as we move into the second semester of school to help maintain a positive and supportive relationship around their school life.  Phrases such as ‘What was a highlight of your day?’ ‘Let’s double check your schoolwork together’ can usually stimulate more than a one-word response. And don’t forget how beneficial the use of ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ can be.


Here are a few other suggestions that I gleaned from website searches on creating a positive environment:  • Begin with gratitude. • Maintain respectful language •  Smile more • Praise the efforts and completed tasks • There are only opportunities, not problems  •Encourage positive thinking (growth mindset) • Don't sacrifice the important for the urgent • Consistency is key   


Thank you for sharing your children with us. Please read on to hear from our counselor and more about the programs.  




From our Counselor: Giving Emotions and Thought Patterns Their Own Names

Welcome back, families!  


I hope you all had a restful and joyful holiday!  Here we are, already in 2019!  January always feels like a month of gentle touch-downs for me as we all return to our jobs, tasks, routines, and school.  I hope you are all moving into your schedules softly and one-step-at-a-time!


As many of us are exploring our goals and resolutions for the year, we might be attempting to put our best foot forward these days….trying to leave old habits, emotional baggage and negative thinking behind us.  But too often we get the boomerang effect in February and we ask, “what happened?!”.


This whole phenomenon makes me think of the wonderful Pixar film, “Inside Out”, in which the emotions of the main character (Riley) are anthropomorphized into characters and Riley’s brain is laid out like a kind of brain map.  The movie begins with Riley’s main emotion character, “Joy”, protecting all of Riley’s memories and attempting to block “Sadness” from coming through. All of her attempts to avoid Sadness fail until she realizes at the end of the movie that memories and experiences can have both Joy and Sadness in them.  In fact, Joy realizes that Sadness is necessary in order for Riley to process and learn from her experience.


Giving our emotions and thought patterns their own names can be incredibly useful.  By naming an experience as a separate character, we are admitting that it is only a part of us and not all of us.  We can get some separation and even some temporary relief by simply naming what we are feeling.


For example, I’ve had clients name their anxiety “the bad neighborhood”.  They may chuckle and say, “well, here I am in that bad neighborhood again”.   A child or adult can call their self-doubt “Mr. Doubtfire” or their inner critic  “The Bully”. I call my inner critics “The Committee” (that’s right - I have a whole table full)! Sometimes a painful experience can shift and become almost playful while doing this!  My own children have their own names for different parts of their personalities/feelings and they’ve discovered patterns and tools for managing them.


This is a great topic for some good ol’ fashioned art therapy!  The possibilities are limitless! Some children may be invited to create mind-maps similar to Riley’s in “Inside-Out”, or create small drawings of memories or colors for each feeling. The important thing is - we’ll have some fun and keep it playful!


Happy New Year to all of you!


Robin Bates, LMFT



PARENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Please come: Wednesday, January 23rd from 3:00-4:00 pm. We will be discussing our safety plan and continue with reviewing long-term priorities. Every year we review our School Safety Plan.  This is a comprehensive document that receives input and approval from teachers and parents as well as all the district staff that is involved with the actionable plan.


There are not representatives from every program yet, but I trust that those that came once, can come again.  I would like to hear from all programs when it comes time to prioritize and plan next year. If you would like to learn more, please feel free to contact me directly. [email protected]

The Parent Advisory Committee is a critical component to ensure that parent input has a consistent say in the development of our programs that make up the Charter school.  




Next Thursday, Jan. 17 from 6-8 pm in the PAC, SLVHS ASB and Cougar Club are co-sponsoring a showing of "A Brave Heart" the story of Lizzie Velazquez, who has a rare genetic disease. Parents and students from all SLVUSD schools are invited. The movie chronicles her journey from cyber-bullying victim to global anti-bullying activist. After the film, there will be a facilitated discussion with the audience about how to constructively stand up to bullying and create a more inclusive space at SLVHS.

RSVP for your free ticket here. Pizza will be available for purchase from 5:30-6 pm prior to the movie. 



What’s Going on in Our Charter School?  ..little snippets of some of our programs.

CRHS: The students are back to work in their courses and have some new after-school Art and Drama opportunities available to them.  In their advisory class, counselor Mary talked to them about post-secondary vocabulary and admission requirements for CSU.  


CRMS:  We have been busy with parent/student semester planning and planning activities in preparation for the second part of the school year.  Thanks for all of the wonderful things you are doing with your students through your homeschooling efforts.


Nature Academy: 6th,7th,8th classes are have a field trip coming up next Friday, Jan. 18th to the Pacific Edge Climbing Gym. Students will also be going to the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History as part of the day. 6th grade class had a long talk yesterday about the expectations of this classroom and refined our class norms. The class narrowed it down to three things (listed below) and were adamant that we kept the descriptors. In this class we...   ...are nice ...are responsible and respectful to everyone (no vandalizing, blurting or cursing)  ...use Lifeskills by doing our best and staying organized, positive and helpful. Please extend the conversations at home about how your children are behaving in the classroom.  We will be starting the Gods/Goddess project in social studies this week. Please check in with your children about their ongoing assignments.


Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA): We had a wonderful time this week, very low key with students getting into the swing of how to manage their independent study hours in the classroom. They are so happy to be together, and we are thrilled to be back with them. February 12: Field Trip to Cal Academy of Sciences


Quail Hollow Homeschool: We have enjoyed seeing all of our families as we have been doing our mid-year meetings. 4th and 5th graders have started music classes again on Fridays; they are learning to play the Ukelele and read music. We can hardly wait for a concert!


Fall Creek Homeschool: We have been busy with parent/student semester planning and planning activities in preparation for the second part of the school year. There are two upcoming field trips to the local sandhills and quarry which tie into our theme this year. 4th and 5th graders have started music classes again on Fridays; they are learning to play the Ukelele and read music.


Mountain IS: We kicked off the year with some writing about our break or another special moment in our lives. In the spirit of the new year, we've also taken the time to reflect on our lives, specifically our "purpose," asking ourselves what kind of difference we want to make in the world. We also discussed our upcoming play this year! It's based on the often overlooked portion of Charles Darwin's writings, emphasizing cooperation, collaboration, and love (yes, love!) in human evolution & throughout the natural world.



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.)

  • January 21st: No School: Martin Luther King
  • February 11th: No School
  • February 18th: No School
  • March 12: Information Night: All Hybrid Homeschool Programs
  • March 19: Information Night: Nature Academy
  • April 1st-5th: No School-Spring Break
  • May 23rd:  Open House- 5:30-7 PM: Nature Academy
  • May 27th:  No School-- Memorial Day