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Charter News: March 17

posted Mar 17, 2017, 8:51 PM by Rhonda Schlosser

The joyful heart sees and reads the world with a sense of freedom and graciousness.

~John O'Donohue

Dear Charter Families,

March marks the hints of Spring, the itch for Summer, and the quickened pace of the school year.  Whew what energy! This newsletter has several updates so please read on to learn about:

  • Visiting Committee WASC update

  • Screenagers!:  Take 3

  • Intent to Return requests and Open application window for Charter programs

  • Upcoming CAASPP testing

  • New California School Dashboard

  • District and Charter LCAP parent input

  • Snipets from our programs

Enjoy the weekend, with maybe some time for outside I hear that we may be in for a bit more rain next week.



Visiting Committee WASC update: WASC visit complete!  The Western Association of Schools and Colleges completed their review of our school and left us with a glowing report of how well we are doing for our students and their families. Here are some of the committee’s commendations:

District support is critical for a program such as this, and district officers and staff are highly commended for long-term support of this innovative charter. One district officer described the Charter as a test-bed for good ideas, which speaks highly of both the Charter and its parent district.

The VC commends a broadly talented and experienced teaching staff, and appreciates the long hours and creativity dedicated to addressing the concerns of the prior visiting committee.  The VC hopes that the entire Charter community sees the WASC self-study process as being worthwhile and rewarding. The Committee also appreciates the friendly, efficient and helpful support staff, and admires how the grounds and buildings are kept with such pride.


Screenagers: Take 3!!!!  As incredible as it may sound, our March 8 Screenagers! night was curtailed once again. This time it did not happen due to calendar mix-up at the PAC.  Our extreme apologies to the parents who came, only to find that the PAC was not open.  Thank you to our staff Amber, Rosie, and Jen who were there and fielded the frustrating non-event.

But We Will Not Give Up! After ensuring that yes, indeed we can keep the rental of the DVD from the Screenagers producers, and double assurance that the PAC will be ready for us, We have scheduled a final date of Wednesday, April 19, 7-9 pm, for any and all parents and students to come watch this important film with us, at the Performing Arts Center on the Tri-campus. 7105 Highway 9, Felton, 95018

Our students watched the film with their teachers and the overwhelming response is that, while they had some criticism of the film, the majority of every class felt it very important that their parents view the film as well. We love it when our families can engage in important conversations with each other and their children. There is no doubt that the topic of screen time is an important one to ponder and make some decisions about. Parent involvement and support is so important to your students success and events like these are a good way to support your children’s education.

A brief discussion of the film will be offered right after the film.  

Tickets previously purchased will be honored. Tickets are a suggested donation of $10.  Please note:  Tickets and trailer for the film available at this NEW LINK:

You will receive a confirmation back from impact flow, which you need to bring with you to the event.  If you prefer to not purchase them online, they can also be purchased through your teachers or by contacting Danelle Matteson at 335-0932.

Again, Please take the time to read further about Screenagers.  If you are able to make it, I think you’ll enjoy it, and also enjoy talking with your kids about it afterward. This is a very important topic for our staff and we hope that you will attend the viewing on April 19th at 7 pm, in our Performing Arts Center on the SLVHS campus. Many of our high school students were not able to attend due to the conflict with a scheduled class. It would be great if they could come with you to the evening show.


Open application window for Charter programs. INTENT to RETURN FORMS:

We had a great turnout for both the Nature Academy and our Homeschool programs Information Nights.  Our information nights mark the beginning of our application windows.  We are already receiving new applications for next year for all of our programs.  You should also have received an ‘Intent to Return’ form in an email from your teacher.  Please fill this out and return it to either of the Charter offices as soon as possible. This form either holds your spot OR releases your spot for someone else to fill. Students who are returning, either to their current program or to another program within the Charter do not need to apply again.  You spot is guaranteed, provided we receive your Intent to Return form. Thank you for your speedy attention to this.


Upcoming CAASPP testing: Most, if not all of you know that, as a publicly funded Charter, we are aligned with the State adopted K-12 Standards and the Annual State Assessment that is used to measure grade level progress toward these Standards.

Below is a letter from the District that was mailed to all parents.  I have taken the liberty to send it via this newsletter so that I can add a ‘Charter perspective’ as well, seen in bold type.

2016-2017 Notice for Statewide Tests – Smarter Balanced Assessment

March, 2017

In 2010, California adopted more rigorous K-12 standards in English Language Arts and Math to ensure all students move from grade to grade with the academic knowledge and skills necessary for success beyond high school. Since we raised the bar for what we expect students to know and be able to do, we have also changed the way we measure student progress through our state tests, known as Smarter Balanced.

How much time do the tests take? The statewide tests are not timed so your child can take as long as he or she needs to fully demonstrate what he or she knows and can do. Students are tested in grades 3-8, 11 in English and Math, and grades 5, 8 and 10 in Science. We take great care to create the best environment possible for our students, with each program determining the best time frames and breaks within the testing period to support our students.

What do the results mean and where do I get my child’s results? Test results identify your child’s strengths and areas for improvement in English Language Arts and Math. This test is developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and is one measure used by many States in our country and is meant to be used as one form to measure growth and areas for improvement. Each subject will be broken into categories and will show how well your child performed in each area. The tests measure student learning on a 4-point scale. You will receive your child’s scores by mail at the beginning of the next school year.

Why does participation matter? While no single test can give a complete picture of your child’s progress, having your child take the statewide tests provides teachers and administrators with information about what educational approaches are working and where additional resources are needed. Your child’s participation is very important to ensure schools and districts receive the targeted resources they need to help all students succeed. We are required to have 95% of our students participate in the CAASPP testing every year as part of our Charter renewal.

When will my child take the test?  The San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District Smarter Balanced Assessment testing window will be between March 21 and June 8. Your child’s school will have the specific dates your child takes the tests within the statewide testing window above. Please check with your child’s school for specific testing dates.

For more information go to or contact your child’s school.  I know that some of the tests may be difficult, or even considered unpleasant for some students. It is a short window of testing each year that is important for many reasons. We respect your commitment to act on what is best for your child, and I would be more than happy to meet and talk with any parent who is concerned about their child taking this test.

Thank you.

*California Education Code section 60615 permits a parent or guardian annually submit to the school a written request to excuse his or her child from any or all parts of any test provided pursuant to Education Code section 60640 for the school year. If a parent or guardian submits an exemption request after testing has begun, any test(s) completed before the request is submitted will be scored and the results reported to the parent or guardian and included in the pupil's records. Note: Authority cited: Sections 33031 and 60640, Education Code. Reference: Sections 60604, 60605, 60607, 60612, 60615, 60640 and 60641, Education Code.

Negative Effects State Opt-out Rules can have on SLV Charter:

  • Opt-out students now counted as Not Proficient against the overall school score

  • Opt-outs count against the percentage of students who take the test, which needs to be at or above 95%

  • In the past, opt-outs showed as if the student didn’t take the test.  They now show as if the student is Not Proficient in Math and ELA.

  • This Not Proficient designation means student in 11th grade did not meet EAP portion of test and depending on high school course of study and scores on other standardized exams such as AP, SAT, and ACT, may have to start college with remedial LA and Math courses


New California School Dashboard: Please read the attached letter that explains the preliminary roll-out of the California School Dashboard, the new accountability system in California. In addition, the California Department of Education has prepared a wealth of resources for parents you can explore. This is a very early version of the tool and we are all learning together, so please stay tuned for future updates.You can access the dashboard at this site and search for SLVUSD Charter.  NOTE: The data may be misrepresentative due to the small size of our student population, as a whole and within grade levels.   This dashboard is part of the new way the state is planning on assessing schools ability to support their students.  It is a work in progress and only one accountability tool.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.   AND, coming to our Parent Advisory Committee meetings is always a great place to ask questions and discuss what this is all about and how it relates to the Charter programs.


Parent Advisory Committee: PLEASE COME, April 19, from 3-4. More about testing, and further refinement of LCAP funding.

At our last meeting, we discussed the ideas from parents within the various programs about how to spend LCAP funds, based on the goals for our school Charter LCAP funding, what the goals are, how our supplemental funding was allocated, what was spent, and ideas for next year. Some good ideas were shared around encouraging and developing our students' abilities in Mathematics.


All Parents Are Invited to Attend a…


TUESDAY, MARCH 28th 6:30pm – 7:30pm SLVHS Multi-Use Room


TUESDAY, APRIL 11th 6:30pm – 7:30pm BCE -Library

  • Hear About the District’s LCAP

  • Provide Your Input

Parent Survey:

Teacher Survey:

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

Coast Redwood High School:  CRHS Leadership Activities Rainbow Week - March 20-24

Coast Redwood Middle School: The week of March 13 we are on a snow trip to Yosemite National Park. We will have investigated snow and early spring ecology. As well as study geograph, participate in winter sports and work in groups to prepare meals, budget, shop and cook.

Nature Academy: 6th grade parents will be meeting this Tuesday evening at 6:30 for the first Headwaters Trip meeting.  We are moving into our next PE Unit this week, Softball. This means I am looking for a parent to help me during PE. This is a shorter 3-week unit and a great opportunity to help with volunteer hours as well as get to know the class. The 6th grade class has completed their Egyptian studies and are putting in a lot of great work on refining their writing skills.  The 7-8th grade classes came back from a great snow trip to the Sequoias. They are continuing their work in science on the take apart project, moving into an electronic project, completing their argumentative essay, and continuing work on their Africa Unit. The students are enjoying another great elevctive cycle, thanks to parent support.

Quail Hollow Integrated Arts: We are focusing on Force and Motion in our sciences which also incorporates quite a bit of math. We made great strides in our PAC scale models, with one finished! The students will be able to choose their own production and create a set for it. We also had Garvey Gordon and Steven Dowdy from Coast Redwood High School come and organize PE games with us yesterday. We listened to the “Hamilton” soundtrack, dissecting Jefferson and Hamilton’s “Cabinet Battle No. 2” this time. We discussed the origins of International Day of the Woman. The students will be shown brief clips of outstanding women in history each week this month. We continue Yoga class with Mary. The students have played spontaneous games of kickball, including our K-6 population from QHHS, each day this week. Friday, March 24: Make-O-Rama/DIY Day, presented by QHIA, 10-1:30;

Tuesday, March 28: Quail Hollow Homeschool K-5 Performance at the PAC, 10:30

Quail Hollow Homeschool: We have been learning about Ancient Egypt and began making our clay sarcophagus project for our mummy dogs. We have been rehearsing our upcoming play. The Ensemble worked on song - Walk Like an Egyptian and beginning choreography. First and second graders worked on finishing their unit on friendship, self-regulation and communication.This week Jen Sims talked to our 3rd grade students about skillsfor feeling calm inside.  This is very important for maintaining healthy relationships!  They went on a wise minded walk and observed what they saw, smell, touched, heard and smelled.  Later they recorded their experiences through and discussed which sensory experiences felt the best. (4-5) The weather was so great, we chose to go outside and begin to work in our pond area, where the Save the Frogs pond area is.  It is full of egg sacks and pollywogs!  Tuesday, March 28: Quail Hollow Homeschool K-5 Performance at the PAC Make-O-Rama Friday, March 24 How it works:  Parents and/or students come up with an easy to make project, bring the supplies, and set up a station for students to roam to, create something from scratch, and bring it home. The QH Integrated Arts students will be working in teams teaching some stations. A few of the projects they will be offering to make are butter, a stress ball, slime, sock puppets, origami, drawing eyes, t-shirt decorating, and more...

Fall Creek Homeschool: We took a fabulous trip to the Fujitsu Planetarium and Cheeseman Garden at DeAnza College. It was great for the kids to see a state-of-the-art planetarium. We discussed how we can use our hands to estimate time and distance in the sky. We made ”astrolabs” to measure the altitude of any star. The class got to see a real astrolab made of brass. We listened to a story from the Bororo Trive of Central Africa about the names of the stars. We made thank you cards for the astronomers who showed us the sights on stargazing night. Make-O-Rama Friday, March 24. How it works:  Parents and/or students come up with an easy to make project, bring the supplies, and set up a station for students to roam to, create something from scratch, and bring it home. The QH Integrated Arts students will be working in teams teaching some stations. A few of the projects they will be offering to make are butter, a stress ball, slime, sock puppets, origami, drawing eyes, t-shirt decorating, and more...

Mountain IS: We continue creating our own board games which integrate a variety of curricular areas. First we "buddied-up" to brainstorm a list of words typically found on game boards. We also created titles and selected fonts to create labels. In art we Modge Podged our spaces, words, spinners and titles to the game boards. Next week, students will create a rough draft of the playing instructions for their games. After some peer editing and revising, students will publish a final draft of direction on the back of their games so that anyone can enjoy playing them.  During music time, we divided into two groups. 1/2 our class did a brisk yet  lovely hike to the creek, then we switched activities so everyone was able to enjoy music

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.)

  • Nature Academy Lottery application window: Mar. 8-April. 21 Lottery: April 28

  • QHIA application window Mar. 14-April. 28

  • April 3-7: Spring break

  • CAASPP Testing begins at Charter sites.  

  • April 19: Parent Advisory Meeting, 3-4 pm

  • May 29th:  No School-- Memorial Day

  • June 8th:  Last day of school