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Charter News: Dec. 5, 2016

posted Dec 15, 2016, 12:44 PM by Rhonda Schlosser

Creativity is especially expressed in the ability to make connections, to make associations, to turn things around and express them in a new way." -Tim Hansen

Dear Charter Families,

As you know, our charter programs are based on a shared commitment between our teachers, the parents, and their children.  A student can only do their best if all three stay interconnected in a consistent, positive and supportive way.

Whether you have your student enrolled in one of our K-8 homeschool programs, in our 9-12 homeschool based high school, or in the Nature Academy, your positive, nurturing involvement makes all the difference in your student’s overall success.

This success includes not only doing well academically, but also in learning how to positively support the learning environment, to stay curious, happy, and to find value in what they are doing.

One of the strengths in the Common Core standards is the focus on digging deeper, looking at things in more than one way, and understanding different perspectives. Students are asked to show a deeper understanding of what they are learning than has previously been required of them, demonstrating greater critical thinking and analytic skills. These skills take practice and need to be supported between the teacher-parent team.  Hearing about these skills just at school is often not enough.

I decided to reschedule the topic for our second Parent Education night that was canceled for a couple reasons: first and foremost because the topic is foundational in providing the support your child needs to become a lifelong learner. Secondly because many parents emailed after it was cancelled stating they were interested and were planning to attend!

The evening is designed for parents who want to encourage their children to think more critically. It will help parents design questions, tasks, and projects that will help students go beyond basic knowledge and develop critical thinking strategies.  If a child is stimulated and curious, then engagement follows.  This cannot happen without the ability to question and think critically.  This is a skill that all students and their parents will benefit from.  

Tuesday, December 13 is the date for our next Parent Education Evening with Martha Kaufeldt. She is a dynamic, professional educator who packs a lot into her presentations.  Everyone who has attended her sessions in the past have said they learned a lot as a result of attending.

ALSO!  The evening will begin with an opportunity to meet our Mental Health Counselor, Jen Sims.  Come at 5:30 and learn more about how she works with our students, learn about the themes she focuses on in order to support our elementary and secondary aged students.

There will be light, healthy snacks for both parents and students.  We have put a deadline on the signups of December 9 this Friday!  The previous parent night had to be cancelled due to lack of sign-ups, but after it cancelled, several parents called to sign-up!  I know that everyone’s lives are busy, but please, don’t wait until the last minute to sign up. Please RSVP Danelle or me to sign up for this special and important opportunity.  


PARENT EDUCATION NIGHT: Tuesday, December 13.   Come early for a special opportunity with our Counselor, Jen Sims.

Parent Advisory Committee: NEXT MEETING: December 21, from 3-4

Please ask your program representative about the presentation Dr. Bruton shared at our last meeting about the State of the District.  At our next meeting with will be discussing:

  • Safe Schools Plan  • LCFF/LCAP: Supplemental funds  •  WASC report update

  • Questions/ Interests/idea

Next meeting date: January 11, 2016

Math Tutor available for Secondary math support

-Mondays, from 12:30-3:30 in CRHS Portable 5 for High school students.

-Thursdays from 2:15-3:30 in the CRMS classroom P28 for middle school age students.

Mark is excited and ready to help any student who comes to work with him.  No need to sign up ahead of time.. Please make sure your student comes prepared with their math homework or questions about skills.

In Our Community:  A Letter to the public from our County Sheriff


November 17, 2016

Dear Santa Cruz County Community:

With the conclusion of the presidential election I know there is a lot of fear and confusion  in our immigrant  communities  regarding  statements  that  the  federal  government  intends on dramatically increasing deportations in the near future.  I have been contacted recently by several school districts  who  report  that  children  are  expressing concern about being  detained and deported at school.

It is the practice and policy of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office to not entangle ourselves with  federal  immigration  policies. Sheriff's Office personnel do not and will not investigate immigration  status. As your elected Sheriff, I believe it is imperative that we continue to build trust and we continue our practice of fair and impartial  policing with all of the communities we serve.

Enforcing  federal  immigration  policy  at  the  local  level  erodes  trust  and  causes  fear  in  the immigrant communities  we serve,  resulting in victims under reporting or not reporting crimes to local law enforcement.  I am deeply committed to ensuring this does not happen.  It is the job of local  law  enforcement  to  make  sure  our  community  members  are  safe  and our  children  can attend school without fear.  This is our job and this is what we will continue to do.



Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) As part of the new accountability requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the U.S. Department of Education is requiring school districts nationwide to identify students who are armed forces family members.

Is either parent/guardian on active duty in the US armed forces: Army, Navy, Air Force,  Marine Corps or  Coast Guard or on full-time  National Guard Duty?   

If so,  please let us know by emailing or calling Holly Thomas at 336-5167.  

Your cooperation is greatly appreciated!

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

CRHS: This past week was filled with college and career conversations, multiple intelligence assessments, figuring out the over-the-lifetime value of a high school diploma, of a two-year (AA) degree, of a (BA/BS), and the value of a graduate degree. They also discussed various careers, entrepreneurship, and internships.     Meeting of the Tribes #2 went very well. Our emotional/mental health counselor, Jenn Sims stepped in to give our students a health lesson, as did our college counselor, Jen Kelly, who discussed Cabrillo Night. Wade, Keidi, and Kay discussed school business and other pertinent information. Keidi gave a lesson on friendships and nurturing the CRHS culture and continued respect of one another.

CRMS: Project Presentations: The next four weeks will be filled with wonderful presentations by the students.  Partner Bios:  Students brainstormed interview questions and conducted an interview with their partner to find out more about them.  They took notes on their interview and have  started writing a biographical paragraph about their partner. Art: With Leean’s help the kids made prints from their original photos, using two colors of ink this time.  They also mounted their black and white prints from the previous week.  Freedom vs. Safety Discussion: Discussing school rules and lockdowns gave us a great opportunity to discuss the Freedom vs. Safety continuum. Students were asked a dozen different questions and they responded by placing themselves along the continuum –were they more toward the safety side or more toward the freedom side?  It was great to hear some of the discussions that arose as the kids shared their perspectives with each other.

Nature Academy: 6th graders are gearing up for their  trip this coming Tuesday to Gazos Creek with Naturalist Tim Corcoran from Headwaters Science school.   Students in 7th-8th grade are refining their response to literature essays based on Freak the Mighty.  They are working on their crank boxes their unit project in Science and had an art lesson in Chinese Ink drawings.  

Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA) Amber will be presenting an update on this program to the school board on Dec. 7, and they asked if our students wanted to perform something. The majority of the students wanted to perform the opening number of “Hamilton” in a spoken word format! Art analysis “Paul Revere’s Ride” Direct Art Instruction-alcohol inks on tile: this is a wonderful, fluid, art process that uses “floating” ink on top of isopropyl alcohol that is poured on the surface of the tile before it evaporates. Lots of science concepts involved too They came out beautifully, and were sold at the Craft Faire. Line Dance-learned the Wobble and students worked in groups to add original choreography and teach each other.

Quail Hollow Homeschool: Music: All together we​ reviewed and sang the 12 Days of Christmas and began a special song to perform for the Winter Holiday potluck. History:They learned and discussed Roman contributions to architecture - specifically arches and watched a brief video and then had our own challenge to complete; Sugar Cube Arch Challenge Science: Participated in an experiment on surface tension.  What floats and at what point will it begin to sink?  What causes that to happen?  There was emphasis on making a hypothesis and the scientific method. Typing:  Students were shown how to log on to chromebooks with their school account information and given an account on They began to practice proper typing form.  Art: Read Mr. Seahorse by Eric Carle and took advantage of the

lovely weather to do a tissue paper collage of a seahorse.

Fall Creek Homeschool: A unit on the moon began by singing the song ‘Moonshadow” by Cat Stevens/Yusuf. They had a general discussion about what we already know about the Moon and were awed at some Moon statistics.  They looked at a photo of a full Moon projected onto the big screen and identified some key geologic features and discussed what could have caused them. They marked these features on hard copies of the full Moon photo. They listened to a book called Stargazers by Gail Gibbons. They split into groups and worked with drawings of pentagons and pentagrams. A number of children made the discovery that if you use a magnifying glass you can continue to subdivide the figures into infinity. The used various items to create craters in pans of simulated Moondust (regolith). We varied the size and weight of the impactors and the angle of direction from which the impactor hit the “Moon”. We measured the craters’ diameters, depths and patterns of ejecta rays. They reviewed related vocabulary: crater, impactor, ejecta, debris, regolith, ray, angle, lava, basin, velocity, and terminator.

MountainIS:. In art they used chalk pastel to create an organic abstract. They read Straga Nona by Tomie de Paola. And, students worked with their "buddy up" pairs to build as many words as they could using the letters T-H-A-N-K-S. Also, in music they were introduced to the Peter Piper tongue twister. They had a great field trip to the Aquarium. It was so neat to hear the kids talking to each other about the interesting scientific facts they learned while checking out the amazing exhibits. We got to see the sardine feeding in the deep sea aquarium, visit Baja with its reptiles, scorpions and tropical fish and even see the bat rays getting fed! They are learning about earthquakes - the kids are full of great facts about the natural disaster and were excited to put to test their engineering skills with a fun STEM activity. Using just a few materials and jello as the 'earth material' groups of 4 built 3 story structures to withstand the trembles and shakes of a 15-second earthquake. They also wrote or illustrated stories about earthquakes using the elements of a story. It was a great way to see how they could implement their newly learned facts into a creative story while working with a partner.

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.)

  • Dec. 13th, Tues 5:30 - 7pm. Parent Education Night: "Using Projects and Problem-solving to Engage Every Learner!"

  • December 23rd- January 8th: No School--Winter Break

  • January 16th: No School--MLK Bday

  • January 20th: End of 2nd quarter

  • January 27th:  No School--Professional Development Day for teachers