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Charter News: March 11, 2018

posted Mar 14, 2018, 3:23 PM by Rhonda Schlosser

The hours of folly are measured by the clock; but of wisdom, no clock can measure. ~William Blake

Dear Charter Families,

I hope you all remembered to change your clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time.

This coming week is a short week with no school on Monday as it is our last teachers’ Professional Development day for the year.  

The week is also the District’s VAPA Awareness week.  Please take a minute to read below about the variety of presentations that you can visit or attend throughout the week on our campuses.  

Jen, our counselor, also has a great article for you to read.

AND!  We have our annual information nights this month.  March 13 is our night to learn about all our various Hybrid Home-School programs.  March 20 is our Nature Academy information night. Come, bring a friend and learn more about our dynamic programs and some exciting changes.  


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: Beyond Tolerance

Originally, it was my plan to spend this month talking about ‘Tolerance’, but when I brought it up to the staff at the Charter School last August, I got a groan from one of the teachers.  “Tolerance,” he said. “What is that, like you just barely accept something?” I didn’t have an attachment to it at the time, so I easily agreed to go with ‘Acceptance and Understanding’ instead.

Looking back, he was right.  Tolerant is how my mother asked me to act around my annoying little brother.  With tolerance, the assumption is that we don’t like what’s on the other side.  We build walls to have tolerant relationships with our neighbors. Thinking about it like this, it seems obvious that to achieve empathy we have to go way beyond tolerance.

This is not to say that tolerance doesn’t have an important place.  There’s resiliency building in learning to tolerate something, for example: learning to wait, adjusting to the personality clashes that a sibling brings to your life, or learning to be the loser at something.  Being able to roll with things, be a good sport or develop ways to deal with people are great tools for life. All require tolerance. When it comes to our hearts, however, we need more than that. We need acceptance, understanding and connection.

Acceptance leads to connection and connection leads to acceptance.  It works both ways and we all need both. I often work with students to re-regulate after an upsetting event in their life.  They may be angry or heartbroken, afraid or ashamed – whatever it is, they are stirred up inside. I find that accepting them where they are and finding ways to connect can lead them pretty quickly back to center.   Children, and really all people, want to be seen. They feel better when they are seen because that is a connection. They want to know that how they are being in the world is okay. And most of all, they want to know that even though they aren’t okay in the moment, they’re not kicked out of the tribe.

The need for acceptance is about survival.  It is really hard to disconnect from the group when we as humans are wired to survive in packs.  Students of all ages tell me that they hate certain things they feel like they have to do to fit in; that they are just faking it out there.  It breaks my heart but I also get it – Imagine my surprise when I showed up for my 8th grade year to discover all of my friends now worshipped Duran Duran and I knew nothing.  I ended up faking an entire Duran Duran fandom just to not be cast out of my friend group.  I wish I had that time back. I want all of the students that I work with to have the ability to pursue what they love regardless of how someone else may feel about it.  Unfortunately, kids get rejected for their authenticity all the time and since the need for acceptance is so strong, they end up shifting who they are inside…for a while at least.

How do we help our children withstand this pressure to conform, especially when something inside says their very life may depend on fitting into the group?  I believe that the most substantial way we can help is by working with them to find where in life that they feel accepted and a part of things. Kids who feel accepted for who they are, whether by their families, classrooms, sports teams, theater groups, friends, school club, pets, or even just one single person have a better shot at carrying their truth out into the world with them.

Being connected to something has a positive impact on our mental health and ability to self-regulate.  In 1978, psychologist Bruce K. Alexander created an experiment to look at the causes of drug addiction.  For one subject group of rats, he created a huge ‘Rat Park’ with lots of space and other rats. The other subject group of rats was kept in individual cages.  Both test groups were offered morphine and water; overwhelmingly the rats that lived in the communal rat park chose water over the drug. The rats that lived in cages, however, chose morphine.   When addicted rats were moved from cages to the rat park, they would begin to choose water.   This study demonstrated the damaging effects of social and emotional isolation on rats. Humans as well, when we are isolated either figuratively or literally, we become despondent and can turn to addictive vices to regulate our internal systems.

We need each other.

I see many students at the SLV Charter and Boulder Creek Elementary schools thriving because their teachers have worked to create a caring culture that promotes acceptance.  Teachers coordinate activities both in and outside of the classroom that foster relationships and provide that opportunity for connection, not to mention the discovery of differences in the world.  From my perspective as a school counselor, a student who feels at home in the classroom and mostly accepted by their peers is usually doing okay. This does not mean that there are never problems or disagreements, but the focus on contributing to the greater community provides focus and containment.  The common language of community is what usually transcends the differences between us, allowing us to form real relationships and the connection that we so need. When we get to know each other beyond what we see on the outside, our acceptance of each other deepens.

I can accept you but not this behavior/action. All of this talk of acceptance does not mean acceptance of poor behaviors that harm self or others at an individual or community level. Separating someone’s actions from their basic essence, however, may allow them to confront these issues more clearly and objectively.   

Sometimes I ask a student what their goal is for the day and nine times out of ten they will respond that they want to be good.  I try to remind them that they already are good, but what do they want to accomplish? A child is not their behavior. Being able to follow the rules does not make you good or bad, it means you have a skill to follow rules.   

I like to say, “I did not like your choices, but I still like you.”

Acceptance almost always means seeing something good.  I think we can teach our students about lots of different cultures and the sameness and differences between us until the cows come home, but the bottom line is that we usually start to accept something or someone when we perceive something good about them.  It could be a heroic act that they perform or something familiar that they do that makes you feel connected to them. Work with your child to see the good in others (and themselves), what makes them special and interesting. What things make us the same and connected?  We all want to be noticed for the things we do that are unique and feel accepted when they are seen. This is a skill that can be applied across all situations!

What if we spent as much time accepting ourselves as we do criticizing ourselves?  I know what my brain is like and I can’t imagine anyone reading this has never struggled with self-judgment or doubt.  It would be pretty revolutionary if we all strove toward self-acceptance as a practice and really, what’s stopping us? Therefore, the real step one in teaching children how to be accepting is for us adults to be accepting of others and ourselves.  Practice acceptance every day. Bravely accept who you are and get so busy with that that you no longer have the need to change anyone else! Let acceptance be the message that we pass along for our future communities.

Read more about the Rat Park experiment here:   

SLVUSD Charter Information Nights:

Hybrid Home/School Programs: SLVUSD Charter School is hosting an Information Night on Tuesday, March 13 at the SLV Middle School Library (second floor) from 5:30-7:00 pm located in Felton.

Nature Academy: Tuesday, March 20 at the SLV Middle School Library (second floor) from 6:00-7:00 pm located in Felton.

Questions regarding Charter Information Nights? Email Danelle Matteson at or call 831-336-5167 or 831-335-0932

Opportunities in our Community:

VAPA Awareness Week

SLVUSD Visual and Performing Arts Awareness Week

  • Tuesday, 3/13 - Friday, 3/16: Art display: HS Multi Purpose Room (MPR).  Bring your classes through to see 2D and 3D art displays from all schools in the district.  All adults/staff are also welcome to walk through. The MPR will be open after school from 3-4 on Tuesday through Thursday.

  • Tuesday, 3/13 – Friday, 3/16: Charter Art Display at District Office

  • Tuesday, 3/13 - Friday, 3/16: Performances in Performing Arts Center

--Movie showing: A New Color—for MS and HS (description below) (Email Amber Walker to attend)

--Rehearsals: West Side Story: Tuesday-Friday from 3 to 6 in the PAC (Drop in and observe our talented students in this classic musical! Students should be supervised.)

--SLVE Dance performance: Thursday, 3/15 from 12:30 to 2 in the PAC (Email Katie Feickert ( to attend)

--Classical Evening of Violin, Ballroom Dancing and Opera, performed by current and past SLVUSD students. Thursday, 3/15 at 7:00 in the PAC. Donations accepted.

  • Musical Showcase Rehearsal: Weds, 3/14 and Fri, 3/16 at room 25 at the Middle School. 10:05 to noon, and 12:50 to 2:41. Students will be rehearsing various Broadway songs and dances. (Email Will Guilford ( to attend)

  • Mini-Maker Space/DIY: Friday, 3/16 at Quail Hollow Site from 10-1. Come see students create projects and do hands on activities with tech.


Film Story: A New Color

“You can’t change your beginnings, but you sure can put a nice, beautiful ending to the story.” - Edythe Boone

Long before Black Lives Matter became a rallying cry, Edythe Boone embodied that truth as an artist, an educator, and a great-grandmother. When a personal tragedy ignites a national outcry, everything that Edythe has worked so tirelessly for is at stake.

From humble Harlem beginnings herself, the indefatigable Edy has for decades introduced underserved youth and seniors to the transformative power of art. Filmed in an observational style over three years, A New Color creates an opening to see the world through Edy’s eyes and her artistic legacy commemorating the great events of her time.  Those events keep coming, as we see when the death of Edy’s nephew becomes a national symbol of racist policing.

The persistence of racial inequality in this country evokes for activist artists like Edy powerful and deep questions: Have Edy’s nearly eight decades of social justice work meant something? Has it been worth the sacrifice? Can building multicultural bridges through art bring about positive change? Who will carry on her civil rights legacy?

Edy’s reaction shows the depth of her clear-eyed, compassionate commitment to building a just and peaceful community. A New Color illuminates timely social issues and shows how the work of one resilient woman reverberates throughout a community to inspire a powerful chorus: “Our lives matter and we will not be disempowered by those who judge us for our age, gender, or the color of our skin.” An intimate portrait of somebody extraordinary, Edythe’s story shows not what it is to be Black or to lose a loved one, but what it is to be human.

Parent Advisory Committee: Next meeting is Thursday, April 12th, from 3-4 pm in the Fall Creek Charter office.  All Parents are invited to attend.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Information

The following resources are provided as information for our parent / guardian community on our District Website

Safe Spaces for Immigrant Families – English

Espacios Seguros Para Las Familias (Safe Spaces for Immigrant Families) – Spanish

Know Your Rights – English

Know Your Rights – Spanish

Know Your Rights at Home – English & Spanish

Know Your Rights at Work – English & Spanish

Where to Fill Out Forms – English

Where to Fill Out Forms – Spanish

Childcare Safety Plan – English & Spanish

Income Guidelines – English

Legal Aid at Work – English

Redadas En El Lugar De Trabajo (Legal Aid at Work) – Spanish

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

Coast Redwood HS:  Coast Redwood High School will host open school nights from 5:30-7:00 pm on the following dates on: Tuesdays April 24 and May 22. All prospective students and their families are invited to attend to learn about our campus community, visit our classrooms, and our outdoor horticulture classroom. Families will receive information about the many individualized opportunities high school students have to earn their diplomas, participate in athletics, theater productions, adventure field trips, clubs as well as courses at community colleges and courses through CTEP (formally ROP/regional occupation programs). Location: 7105 Highway 9 (room P-3, off the main SLVHS campus) in Felton. Questions? Email Kay Mendoza

Coast Redwood MS: We continue to work on re-designing and building our garden area. We have received a donation of wood from a former parent alum for rebuilding our planters. Our field trip to the San Francisco Zoo was great fun. We were able to make lots of incredible observations about animal communication and gather tons of data to help us with our stories.

Nature Academy: Second trimester has ended and students are working on their self-reflections as they begin to prepare for a portfolio review of their work. 6th grade parents had their meeting about the annual  week long trip to Headwaters. Students are continuing their studies in the book Tangerine and they are working on the economy of their individual country reports as well as their informational writing  on a topic of their choosing. 7th and 8th graders are working on their Whirligig projects, are in their new round of electives, and are compiling their portfolios..among other activities.

Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA): We explored Feudal Japan with mapping, note taking, short videos, and a focus on Kabuki theater! This got the students extremely engaged (they challenged me to teach for a whole day speaking with the Kabuki inflections/tone of voice). Students also came up with their Maker/DIY ideas for our Fair on Friday, March 16. We began our study of Human Body Systems.We started our letter writing genre  with a project called Letters of Hope, created by Yes! Magazine. I will enter student writing in this annual competition; winners will be published!

Quail Hollow Homeschool: We worked on making clay animals in class. They turned out amazing! This ongoing project will be finished and springboard us into our next project of story in comic book form.. We had guest readers that read various wonderful, silly stories or poems. Students are busy memorizing and practicing their lines at home for our upcoming play.

Fall Creek Homeschool: In Science we have been learning more about our ocean crisis and how the middle school students are taking this mission into their own hands. We learned about ocean acidification, "plastics pollution", how microplastics pose as false food source to marine life. We were encouraged to be citizen scientists to protect our oceans. Using students as manipulatives, students completed math exercises to organize themselves into groups, then played addition and subtraction games within those groups. Natalee led an election for Class President, including "campaign speeches" and voting. Lisa led a guided rivershed watercolor painting.

Mountain IS: We researched animal facts in a variety of informational text. We looked for similarities and differences in animal storybooks and non-fictional text. We worked in teams to develop a paragraph structure   to express what we found during our animal research. We read a new fable about how the bear came to have a short tail, then retold the story in small groups using transitional words.

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

  • March 13th: Charter Information night:All Hybrid Home/School Programs 5:30-7pm MS Library

  • March 20: Nature Academy Information night 6-7 pm. Middle School Library

  • April 2nd-6th:  Spring Break!