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Charter News January 12, 2017-18

posted Jan 22, 2018, 1:35 PM by Rhonda Schlosser

“Democracy transformed from thin paper to thick action is the greatest form of government on earth.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond.”

Gwendolyn Brooks

Dear Charter Families,

Happy New Year and Welcome back!

We hope that your winter break has been relaxing and time was well spent with family and friends. It’s hard to believe that we are on the second half of the school year already! There is still so much more learning to do. As we move into this three day weekend in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. we should take time to reflect on his contributions that have helped make our country a more unified and democratic nation.

For those of you who may want to honor his contributions by supporting a volunteer activity, here is a link to some activities planned in Santa Cruz County.  Learn More and Register.  Or perhaps you’d like to see a parade?  Martin Luther King Parade

Enjoy the weekend.


NOTE: All newsletters will be archived on our website if you would like to confirm any information.  Specific pertinent information can also be found on our website so if you have an opportunity, please give it a review.

From Our Counselor, Jen Sims: Curiosity leads to connection

Where would we humans be without curiosity?  Sitting in a cave somewhere, that’s for sure.   For better or worse, it is curiosity that has advanced our society to where we are today.  It is such a natural emotion and this becomes obvious when I spend time with kindergarteners.  Five and six year olds will outright ask the questions that adults might wonder, but keep to themselves: ‘What is that in your nose?’ (I have a nose ring), ‘What did you look like when you were a kid,’ (Braids and overalls)  ‘What does your breath smell like?’ (Followed up by, ‘Here, smell mine!’).  I can see that they are only just now in the process of learning about filters and sending their curiosities into the shadows.  Because they’re little kids, I indulge them and answer as honestly as possible because, why not?  They are learning and growing.  But something happens as kids mature – while they might be encouraged to pursue intellectual curiosities, it seems to me that there a subtle message to slow down or stop all together questions about people’s feelings or internal experiences.  It’s just not polite!

What happens when we start to learn that people might not want us to know everything about them?  When I visited my 5 year-old niece last year, she used the words ‘appropriate’ and ‘inappropriate’ over and over again, which told me that she had gotten too curious and asked too many questions.  I could hear my brother’s voice, “Molly, that’s not appropriate!” I also couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought of all the uncomfortable situations she may have caused.  They don’t say “Out of the mouths of babes” for nothing!  Children are so often our reality checks about who we are and how we feel about things.  It can be uncomfortable and it doesn’t make for polite society, but is it really inappropriate?

How many times a week do you tell other people, including children, that you are fine when you are really and truly not fine?  I do this quite a bit myself, for all of the same reasons as you.  Children, with their fresh perspectives and beginner’s minds, are tuning into all aspects of us – body language, facial expression and felt energy.  When we give them a cognitive response that does not match any of these other aspects, it is confusing!  When it happens again and again from multiple sources, we just become tired and immune to the interaction.  Thus, “How are you?,” an open ended question supposedly motivated by curiosity, gets an auto-response of “Fine.”  No real information has been imparted, ‘fine’ is not a satiating response to one’s curiosity, but this is the accepted starting point for most of our current conversations.  A not-really-connected connection that we’re so used to that the incongruence doesn’t even bother us anymore.

When I think about how different the world would be if we were able to be more honest with each other about our feelings, it is overwhelming.  Things would have to change so much, the cultural shift would be massive.  As it is now, we use these pleasantries as a way to keep each other safe and it works.   It saves time and helps us stay focused on the things we need to accomplish.  But what it can also look like is lots of people floating around on little islands wondering what in the heck other people are thinking and feeling.   What we do next is fill in the blanks and make up stories about others that may or may not have anything do with reality.  With the advent of the Internet, the ultimate curiosity machine, we can even look for information about someone to confirm or deny our theories without ever talking to them.   The curiosity will always be there and when we aren’t able to talk about it, it comes out sideways.

Curiosity about emotions is counter-cultural.  This is important to remember when working with your child to develop a curious stance around emotions.  Unfortunately it seems to me that judgment is more the cultural norm around emotions, rather than curiosity.   Many of the children I talk to seem to believe that if they are not feeling happy, they are doing something wrong.  Some will ask me at the end of a session if they did a ‘good job’ because they didn’t cry or show emotion.   Some struggle not to feel what they are feeling and turn to self-injury or addictive behaviors.  They all feel like they are doing something wrong if they aren’t feeling a certain kind of way.  But feelings are like the weather – they just change all the time.  They aren’t out to get you; they just give you information on how you need to care for yourself.  When we look at a weather forecast, we don’t take it personally, we say hmmm…will I need an umbrella?  A sweater?  Oh, I should layer because lots of changes will be happening today.  We look ahead at the ten-day, the whole month even because we are so curious and want to know how to prepare.  What if we took the same approach to emotions and worried less about why they were happening and more about how to healthily cope with them as they arise.  Some days are just sad days.  Some days we worry.  At any age, the only way out is through.  To sit and feel the feeling until it passes without resistance.  And just like the weather passes, no emotion has stuck around forever.

Curiosity, not judgment. In discussing curiosity with the students this month I am relying heavily on the quote; “Don’t judge your insides by other people’s outsides.”  I work with children who get tripped up by this all the time.  They think that because someone looks a certain way, they ARE a certain way and then start a comparison game.  That kid looks happy all the time, but I don’t feel happy all the time!It’s a downward spiral, but curiosity can put and end to it pretty quickly.  In my groups, students have the opportunity to share about their lives and someone will usually exclaim, ‘I was wondering that about you!!’ or ‘Hey, that happened to you?  Me too!’  Every time this happens something shifts and relationships deepen.  Curiosity almost always leads to connection, whereas judgment lends itself to isolation.   So often this is gets in the way of the empathy we are working toward.

Encourage your child to develop Empathetic curiosity.  A great way to do this is any opportunity to explore what it is like to be in other people’s shoes.  Group situations usually lead to this kind growth, as do books, movies, friendships, travel, and the ability to process all of these experiences with a trusted adult.   Most of all, if you as a parent work to keep your own feelings in alignment with your words, your child will learn first hand not to be afraid to speak their own truth about what is happening inside.   They will not be afraid of your emotions if you aren’t.  This will also help them to be unafraid of learning about the thoughts and emotions of others.  Fear shuts down curiosity, again acting as a barrier to empathy.

Help your child get curious about their feelings.  Very curious.  When you remove fear and judgment about emotions, it opens up a world of possibility.  I, like every other living therapist, love Pixel for giving us “Inside/Out.”  What a great way to talk about emotions.  So often emotions can feel random and out of control, stuck in the past, or missing the part of the story that would change things and we just can’t figure it all out.  At any age you can start working with your child to flesh out their own internal life – I know this to be true because this is what I try to do with people at any age.  Some questions you can ask to help your child get to know their emotions are:

-       What is the name of the feeling?

-       Where do you feel it in your body

-       What color is it?

-       How big is it?

-       It is solid or liquid?

-       Is there a movement that represents this emotion?

-       Is there a posture that you do that makes it feel worse?  Is there one that makes it feel better?

-       When this emotion arises, what do you believe about yourself?

-       Draw, dance or write about the emotion

-       Does the emotion have a name?

As you can see, there are endless ways to get curious about emotions.   This is a great time for you to model curious emotional exploration, and if you have a teenager that might make fun of you just say, ‘I know, I’m totally wacky.  But go with it.’ The more comfortable your child is with their journey through their internal experiences, the less anyone will ever be able to rock their boat. They will also deeply understand that others are having their own internal experiences.

We need every kind of curiosity.  There are things that I’m not too curious about that I’m very grateful others figured out.  For example, I wouldn’t have thought it up, but wow do I love the Internet.  I’m grateful for teachers and parents who provide so much of the action behind our student’s desires to learn and know and grow.  What a game changer it would be if in addition to all of this, we were able to approach one another with the true wonder and curiosity that is in our hearts.


A unique opportunity from our Counselor: There is an exciting new opportunity for Coast Redwood High School students coming up at the beginning of next year!  

We will be offering a 15 hour Peer Counseling certification to students who are interested in learning more about being listeners, providing support to others, and furthering their own personal growth.  Not only will this be interesting and helpful, students will be able to put this on a resume or college application and it could count toward community service hours.  As an added bonus, some teachers may offer extra credit for completing this certification.  Read the information below for more information and contact Jennifer Sims at with any questions or to sign up today!


Opportunities in our Community: “Race to Nowhere” documentary


To start the coming year, the SLVHS Cougar Club is sponsoring the "Race to Nowhere" movie, a timely and provocative film exposes a silent epidemic plaguing America’s educational system. The movie will be followed by a panel discussion.

Called a "must-see movie" by The New York Times, Race to Nowhere was the first education film to uncover the epidemic of unhealthy, disengaged and unprepared students caught in the rat race of an obsessive achievement culture. Through heartbreaking stories of students from across the country, the film explores how high-stakes testing, runaway school schedules and relentless pressure to achieve has pushed our children to the brink.

Note: You must register through the eventbrite page in order to attend.

Date: Wed, January 17, 7 to 9 PM, PAC

Register for this free event on the Eventbrite registration page.

Movie trailer:

SLV students will get extra credit for attending.

Parent Advisory Committee: Next meeting will be Thursday, February 8th, from 3-4 pm in the Fall Creek Charter office. This meeting will be a follow up on what we did not cover this last meeting and will be on the new California School Dashboard online tool.


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

Coast Redwood HS: This week was spent getting back into the groove of school life. We meet with students and parents to clarify schedules and stay on track for the second part of the school year.

Coast Redwood MS: As we come back from winter break we have this month to take stock of how things have been going, to make adjustments and to set a clear direction for second semester. A semester long Spanish class is in the works for the students when they come back.

Nature Academy: 6th grade class closed up thier Egypt unit by going to the Egyptian Museum in San Jose.  7yh-8th grade class is

Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA): Our mid year parent meetings were this week. Students took this time to start out the new year with some independent study. This can be a challenging and rewarding week for the students, as they really need to step up and own their work, their time management, and self-reflection.

Quail Hollow Homeschool: This week was our mid year parent meetings. Next week we will be enjoying a Discovery play day on January 19th with our friends with indoor and outdoor activities.

Fall Creek Homeschool: We welcomed back the new year with parent meetings. And in the next couple of weeks we will have a Parent Workshop on Math skills themed around math games on January 24 from 12:30-2pm.

Mountain IS: Our class parent meeting will be Tuesday, January 16th.


SLV Foundation for Education is Raising Money for our Schools

San Lorenzo Valley Foundation for Education is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. We provide an easy way to support a broad or specific tax deductible donation to the SLV schools and clubs, including Charter and Homeschool groups. One can donate directly to any of the groups listed below, without needing to buy or sell products. For more information or to donate, please visit

*High School Cougar Club  *Drama Boosters  *Music Boosters *Art Boosters

*High School Stadium Lights  *Patron of the Arts *Middle School Panther Club  *BCE parent club  *SLVE Bobcat Club   *SLV Charter School Booster Club    *The Nature Academy


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 15th:  No School-- MLK Day

  • January 25: End of first Semester

  • January 26th:  No School-- Professional Development Day for Teachers

  • February 1st - 3rd: All Charter Play, “Cinder-idol”

  • February 12th:  No School-- President’s Holiday

  • February 19th:  No School-- President’s Holiday

  • March 12th:  No School--  Professional Development Day for Teachers

  • April 2nd-6th:  Spring Break!