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Charter News 2014-15 #4

posted Oct 22, 2014, 2:14 PM by Laurie Becker   [ updated Oct 22, 2014, 2:47 PM ]

College Awareness Week Oct 27-Nov 3

Dear Families,

As a school that spans kindergarten through high school, we support a broad time span in a student’s academic and social-emotional development. College Awareness holds a different focus based on the age of your child. And a parent’s philosophic perspective and financial background may impact the focus on College Awareness as well. Regardless or your child’s age, or background, College Awareness can always begin with developing Habits of Mind. These habits can support the nurturing of an intellectually and psychologically balanced person, one who feels confident and competent to take the next step in attaining their highest dreams and ambitions.
  • At an early age College Awareness can mean that we nurture a ‘can do’ attitude in our students. Help them develop the use of their creativity and curiosity. Have them work with academic content with growth Mindset, where they understand that their time and effort to do their best makes the difference in their achievement. Encourage them to ask more questions than they can answer, and to explore where to go or who to ask to get more information.

  • As a child gets older, College Awareness means that we can expand our student’s world to include the awareness of the broader picture; the need to determine the steps and planning necessary to complete a project, the importance of using a standard measure to determine accuracy and a level of proficiency in their work. It means that their dreams and interests can be supported, and that their interests have a context and value in the community and in the world.

  • Middle School, or at least 8th grade is not too early for students to know that specific interests and aspirations have specific expertise and steps, prerequisites that are important to know about ahead of time and plan for in their high school career and beyond.

  • If you are ready to start exploring college options for you student, please don’t limit your search to colleges in California or to those whose names are familiar. There is a plethora of options in our country, and they now span online options as well. It is not always true that out-of -state colleges, or private colleges are more expensive than our local options. The important thing is finding the right fit and preparation of your student. A good source for further information is the website Colleges that Change Lives.

  • Lastly, remember the road through life is long and winding. Every individual has more than one opportunity to take that next step. A person’s interests and ambitions change as their knowledge expands and their world takes shape. Career Aptitude Tests are one way to access a student’s current skills and interests to help explore potential careers. Here is a website that can get you started. 4 Free Aptitude Tests to Find Your Perfect Career’


Fall Creek Trail Closed Indefinitely to Students

In the past month, students have been stung by bees or bitten by yellowjackets while on the Fall Creek trails, either in PE or Science classes. Fall Creek was closed to students and classes until we could have someone look into this problem. Vector Control came out to sweep the area for nests and hives and let us know yesterday that they had removed what they thought was the source of the problem.

Unfortunately, something must have been missed, as several students and a teacher were stung while running in PE. Because this problem is clearly not resolved, and this is a safety issue, we are closing Fall Creek Trail indefinitely to students. The lack of rain seems to be adding to the problem, and hopefully when rains come, the problem may be reduced, but for now, we will remain cautious.

What’s Going on in Our Charter School?

There are lots of interesting educational activities going on in our school!
Keep reading for a brief rundown. . .

THANK YOU to everyone who came out and helped us set up our wetlands project!

This was quite an event all accomplished during the demolition of the old portables! Our school is the ONLY one in the state to have completed our wetlands project with SAVE THE FROGS! You are all to be commended on your hard work!  Thank you Laurie Bruton for approving this project.

This was a wonderful experience for our students in grades 3-5 (as well as their parents) to learn from experts what it takes to take a project from an idea to completion.  We teamed with the Save the Frogs founder Dr. Kerry Kriger, who has made it his profession to work across the USA and around the world to prevent the extinction of amphibians.  Another part of the team was Tom Biebighauser from the Wetlands Restoration and Training organization, based in Kentucky.  Together they brought college students, environmental educators and consultants, wildlife managers, and private landowners to work alongside our students to rebuild our wetland habitat originally created in 1997 when Quail Hollow was a fully active elementary school site. Dr. Kriger and Mr. Bibighauser shared their expertise through slide shows as well as with their hands-on work in redigging, re-lining, and re-establishing our wetland habitat. They even picked native seeds from neighboring wetlands and planted them in our new wetland area.You can learn more about the initial design of our project by visiting this link


The SLV Homeschool Program held their first Family Potluck. They are also finishing up their first block of classes/activities/field trips and gearing up for Block 2. There will be some fabulous classes and activities offered from now until the end of the semester.  Be sure and check them out.  SLV Homeschool will also be hosting a Fall Crafting/Costume Parade/Pumpkin Carving Extravaganza on Thursday, Oct. 30. This is always a fun event, so stop by for some Fall Fun!


BC Homeschool has been exploring the moon and culminated their studies with a perfectly timed Lunar eclipse. They have been busy conducting experiments, going on treasure hunts and listening to stories about the moon. They have also learned about gravity and tides. The class had a very special visitor, Gilroy the ball python! Gilroy spent the day in the classroom and was very well mannered. Shireen Doyle has been teaching for us while Katie is recovering. Thank you, Shireen! With Katie back, they are continuing with their Astronomy night, October 29th.


Fall Creek Homeschool is getting ready for their first field trip of the year to Crystal Bay Farm on Oct. 22. This will be an exciting day of picking berries, flowers and pumpkins. The class has also begun writing letters to a pen-pal family, the Anderssons, who recently moved to Idaho. The students also visited the Coast Redwood High School experimental garden and had a tour led by Trystan Cruz, brother of Ivan. They saw vegetable beds made from hay bales and a greenhouse where they are measuring how hot standing water will get inside to see if they can do aquaponics. They also saw the rain barrel which uses roof gutters to collect water for the garden and their drip irrigation system. Before the students left the garden, there was a surprise pumpkin hunt where each child found a small pumpkin hidden somewhere in the garden. It was a fun day!

Fall Creek is looking for donations of 9 empty 20 oz plastic soda or water bottles, so if you have any, please save them for the class.


The Coast Redwood Middle School class has produced their first edition of the class newspaper. They have been very busy keeping a close eye on their bacterial cultures. They are also discussing brain growth and which activities encourage brain deterioration.  Students also received photography lessons that included basic camera care, functioning and how to use ISO and Aperture settings. Then they took some photos, uploaded them into Iphoto and then to Google’s photo program so that they’ll be able to edit them from any computer or Chromebook!

There was also a high energy debate about whether viruses were alive or not. In the debate format they used, children stated their evidence, one-at-a-time, allowing those on the opposite side to physically change sides if they felt the evidence warranted it. There was very little shifting from one side to the other, but many of the kids came up with compelling arguments.  They are also continuing their work on Mindfulness- it’s amazing how big a difference even a minute can make!


The high school students are continuing with their English, History, Spanish, Science, and Math classes as we round the halfway mark of the 1st Semester. Homecoming time at SLV this past month saw many students taking part in the festivities, including our CRHS teachers.  The PSAT challenged many of our 10th and 11th grades students as well. The Horticulture class is continuing to setup the garden on the CRHS campus and performing an ongoing composting experiment. Donations are appreciated and specifics materials/needs can be communicated by emailing Kay Mendoza.  An outdoor classroom area in the garden is in the design stage as well.  Look to see the space taking shape as 2nd Semester begins!


The Nature Academy students spent two nights camping and kayaking on the Russian River. On the way to the campsite, the students stopped at the Golden Gate Bridge and were able to walk across. They spotted lots of dolphins in the SF Bay and drew their own rendition of the bridge. Back in the classroom, the students have been very busy creating autobiographical posters, studying King Arthur, making heraldry shields, doing construction challenges and building trebuchets.  Parents are also helping out with electives, some of which include, typing, cooking, jewelry making

This week culminated in a ten mile long hike on the Skyline to the Sea trail from Big Basin to Waddell Creek.


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

  • October 24: All Charter Skate Day (Santa Cruz Roller Palladium, 1-3 pm)
  • October 25: Thrill The World: All Charter Event in Santa Cruz
  • October 31: Non-school day, (Professional Development for teachers)
  • November 11th:  No school-- Veteran’s Day
  • November 10th - 14th:  HICKLEBEES Book Fair at the Quail Hollow campus.
  • November 26th- 28th:  No school-- Thanksgiving Break
  • December 20th- January 5th:   Winter Break

SKATE DAY!: October 24, from 1-3 pm at the Roller Palladium in Santa Cruz  Come join other families for some exercise and fun. Cost is $3.00 at the door, unless you want inline skates, which will cost a bit more.

Thrill the World-2014!

Come support our student and parent performers in their Thrill the World Event happening this Saturday. WHEN: October 25 at 2pm sharp!  WHERE: Louden Nelson Center Lawn, Santa Cruz.

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.