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Charter News #2

posted Oct 19, 2014, 8:20 PM by Laurie Becker
 September 19, 2014

“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”  -Robert Frost

The purpose of this newsletter is to keep families informed about events and activities that pertain to all programs; such as Board updates, WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), LCAP(Local Control Accountability Plan), All-Charter events, and other pertinent information.  It is also the newsletter for the general public to find out some specifics about all the individual programs we serve. We will be sending this newsletter out every other week.  You will be receiving regular emails from the teacher(s) of your specific program to keep you updated on homework, classroom activities and specifics on field trips and special events for your child. 

Month 1 Complete!

Our new school year is off and running, filled with lots of excitement and anticipation. We have so many classes, activities and field trips going on that on some days we bump into each other coming and going! If this first month is any indication, we have a very busy year ahead!  We are so proud and fortunate to be part of such an amazing, close-knit school community! 

~Rhonda & Roberta

Charter School WASC Update

I will be updating the Charter community about our WASC process as the date of our visit draws close.  Parent and Student involvement is an important component of the process and is shown shown through surveys, classroom participation, testimonials, committee involvement, testimonials.
What is WASC?-Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

What is Accreditation?  -Certification from WASC that validates the integrity of the school, fosters on-going improvement, supports student learning and assists the school in setting goals for improvement.  Accreditation is a way of certifying that our school meets standards expected by educators, employers and institutions of higher learning. WASC accreditation schools meet an acceptable level of quality, in accordance with established, research-based WASC criteria.

How long does it take?  -WASC is an ongoing process that cycles every 6 years. The accreditation process is a perpetual cycle of assessment, planning, implementing, monitoring, and reassessment (self-study, visit, and follow-up). It is designed to mirror the School Site Plan, or for Charter schools, our Charter renewal process.

What will the WASC committee want to know? -Our WASC report is centered around the Focus on Learning process guide. The accreditation principles enables a school to demonstrate:
High achievement of all students in relation to schoolwide learner outcomes (Character, Communication, Citizenship, Critical and Creative Thinking) and academic standards.
Our use of multiple ways to analyze data about student achievement including student and staff perceptions/interviews, examining student work, and observing students engaged in learning.
Evaluation of the program effectiveness in relation to -impact on student learning based on Schoolwide learner outcomes, critical learner needs, and academic standards: and -meeting an acceptable level of quality in accordance with the WASC criteria.
Alignment of prioritized findings to a schoolwide action plan focusing on student achievement
Ongoing improvement/accountability
Total involvement and collaboration of all stakeholders.

Who cares? -Students and parents should care because many universities require it, Cal Grants require it, many districts accept credit only from accredited schools.  The Charter staff cares because it is a renewal condition of our Charter document. The school board cares because it is validation of an ongoing six-year cycle of quality, demonstrating capacity and competence in support of high-quality student learning and ongoing school improvement. 

So, where are we in the process?

-We are currently writing and revising our Self Study report, in preparation for our March visit.  Our visit for WASC accreditation status is scheduled for March 9-11, 2015.  We received WASC candidacy status in August 2011.

What can you do now to help us?
-You are an important part of our WASC process.  Charters are public schools of choice, and we know that you chose us for a reason.  We would like to hear from you and your student!

Please email us your testimonial

Why did you choose to come to us?  How is your experience?   How is our school (your program) helping to meet the educational needs of your student/family?
We want to include personal words in our Self Study and have them posted on the Charter website.

Teachers as life-long learners

Oftentimes our teachers take their own time to extend their own learning in order to further enrich their students. Here are two stories: 

Over the summer, Marcy Reynolds traveled to Washington and participated in a week long, multidisciplinary, neuroscience-focused project aimed at middle-school students education and work with the brain.
This last weekend, Carter Milhous and Melissa Stockton participated in the Monterey Bay Teacher’s Institute’s Ocean Plastic Pollution Summit. This summit is designed for teachers ready to go in-depth into plastic pollution issues and solutions with their students.  Please Google Mike Biddle, MBA Polymers if you would like to learn more!

Toyota Drive For Schools Fundraiser Begins!

This is the 10th Anniversary for this wonderful fundraising event sponsored by the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and The Capitola Auto Mall Dealer Group. In addition to the new Toyota Prius or Subaru Outback you can win (or choose $25,000 cash!) they have added TEN $1,000 cash prizes and the chance to win over 100 other exciting prizes! The complete prize list is located at

You can buy tickets from your teacher. Tickets are $5 each or 6 tickets for $25. 100% of all proceeds will stay with your Charter program. Sales end on Sunday, October 19 and the drawing will be held October 26, 2014 at 1:00 pm at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Good luck!
Special Community Opportunities   


Please join us for an evening, introducing CGI, Cognitively Guided Instruction in Math
with Presenter Carolee Karen Hurtado from the UCLA Mathematics Project

When: THIS Monday September 22nd, 6:30 - 8:00
Where: SLE MU Room 
Tips will be provided to parents to support student’s growth and success in mathematics!

Bookshop Santa Cruz Young Writers Contest

Bookshop Santa Cruz is celebrating the talents of young writers in our community with a contest designed for ages 6 and p. Entries may be on any subject and in any genre - including fiction, nonfiction, biography, autobiography, mystery, poetry, science fiction or fantasy.

Each entry must be an original work, no more than 2,100 words, and submitted in the appropriate age group: 6-9, 10-13, and 14-17. First, second, and third place winners frome ach age group will receive Bookshop Santa Cruz gift certificates. Plus, the winning entries will be published together in a collection this November!

DEADLINE for submissions is Sunday, October 12, 2014.

Pick up an entry form at the store or visit their website: for rules, guidelines and more information.

Underwater Robotics Workshop For Students

(grades 5-12), Teachers, & Parents.
NOTE: This is a great collaborative team challenge.  We encourage students and families from all of our programs to go to the informational meeting and learn more.  It would be great to have some teams from our Charter programs.

Saturday, November 1, 2014       Morning session 10 a.m.-12 p.m.        Afternoon session 1-3 p.m.

Join the Seymour Center and the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center for this workshop designed to teach students in grades 5-12, and their teachers or parents, how to build underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs). Learn how to incorporate marine science, technology, and physical science concepts into your curriculum by spending a day at the pool building an ROV!

The workshop will introduce participants to the MATE Center’s ROV program and explain how students can participate in the annual ROV contest held each spring.  Students and adults will have the opportunity to design, build, and test their own ROV using simple, affordable materials.

Location:  Each workshop session will be held at the on-campus swimming pool, at UCSC
Cost:  There is no fee to attend; however reservations are required (see below).
To register:    Visit the Underwater Robotics Workshop Registration Form.


(Please refer to your program’s newsletter for greater detail regarding dates and details specific to your Field Trips and events.)

School Picture Days

CRHS, CRMS, and Fall Creek: Thursday, Sept 25 
Fall Creek: 10-11 am; CRMS:11-12 pm; CRHS: 12-2 pm
LAST DAY to DROP CLASSES, Coast Redwood High School:  Friday, Sept 26
Thrill The World: All Charter Event, Oct 25, Downtown Santa Cruz
NON-SCHOOL DAY, (Professional Development for teachers), Oct 31.

Every Program has many events already scheduled for the month of September and October.
Please look to your program emails / newsletters to find out more details.
Some that are on the near horizon are:
Camping and Ropes Course; Coast Redwood Middle School Sept 26-28
Russian River Overnight: Nature Academy 7-8, Oct 2
Academy of Sciences: Nature Academy, gr 6, Oct 17
Though primarily for our Homeschool families, we welcome our Nature Academy families if they can ever attend

Capture the Flag:
One of the most regularly attended field games and a favorite for years, CTF is a fast paced and exciting game that is part speed and strategy, part tag, a bit of social encounter and all fun. Played once a month on the fields at Quail Hollow Ranch it is also a meeting place for parents to socialize and get to know one another.
When:  Fridays: September 26, October 17
Time:  10:30 am to 12:30 pm  
Where: Quail Hollow Ranch
Who:  Charter wide kids welcome. We play rain or shine.
No sign-ups necessary. Bring sunscreen and hats, water too !!!
Questions: ask Amber (

State Park Hikes:

A once a month opportunity to visit one of the many park trails throughout this amazing watershed of our San Lorenzo Valley. Accompanied by SLV Homeschool and other Charter teachers, all ages are welcome to hike and explore the trails with us. Each hike is approximately 2 1/2 miles. At the end of the year the annual King Kong Fun Run is hosted and involves a hike of about 4 1/2 miles to and from one of the high points in Henry Cowell State Park.
When: Friday: October 3
Time: 10:30am to Noon
Where: TBD (To Be Determined)
Who: Charter wide kids welcome. No need to sign up. We hike rain or shine. (Not suitable for dropping off younger children. Under 10 yrs old must be under adult supervision.)
Sign-Ups: No sign-ups necessary. Bring water and snacks for during and after ;-)
Questions: ask Amber (

Thrill the World-2014!
Led by Charter Teacher - Amber Walker:
This will be our 4th year representing the SLVUSD Charter School in this event! Funky Zombies all over the globe are already planning for Thrill The World 2014! The event was founded in 2006 in Toronto, and has now spread to six continents. Every October people in cities around the world dance to "Thriller" at exactly the same time in their corresponding time zone. Preparation and counting down worldwide is part of the fun, but the feeling of being connected to others and dancing together as one is a Thrill like no other! Celebrating the truly inspirational genius of Michael Jackson in a living and moving way is what keeps people coming back year after year. This year the event will be held in Santa Cruz on Saturday, October 25, 2014. Those of you who have participated previously may come for just the final two classes.
When: Thursdays: September 18, 25, October 2, 9, 16, 23
Time: 3:00pm-4:00pm
Where: Quail Hollow site, Room 16
Who: Grades K-12
Class size: unlimited
Questions: Ask Amber (