Info‎ > ‎Charter News Archives‎ > ‎

Charter News: November 5, 2017-18

posted Nov 5, 2017, 7:02 PM by Rhonda Schlosser

“...most people in the world don't really use their brains to think. And people who don't think are the ones who don't listen to others.”    ― Haruki Murakami, 1Q84

Dear Charter Families,

Halloween has passed, daylight savings time ended this Sunday, and the holidays are just around the corner. Regardless of the program your child is in with us, it’s time to assess their studies and perhaps take some time for a reflection with them. Are they remaining creative? curious? Do they have a consistent routine for their school work?  Are you helping by sharing your own curiosity? Reminders of assignment deadlines? Supporting them in the special ways that serve them best?  Keeping in tune with our children and their needs, keeping the communication door open, being conscious of the need for consistency, boundaries when needed, hugs, laughter, being a listener when needed, was the parenting challenge that I was constantly working on when I was raising my children (now grown and gone). Kudos to you all! It’s the hardest and most important job of all.  We thank you for working so hard with raising your children.

With the focus on College and Career this past week, the message heard from many of our guest speakers was that the skills most needed in the work environment are the soft skills; the ability and willingness to collaborate with others, to have the ability to think critically, work creatively, and to have the grit necessary to stick it through and complete the task. First and foremost are strong communication and listening skills. Again, thanks for all your help in developing these important skills at home.

Please read on to learn more about what is happening in the Charter programs and the district.


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:  Listening

Happy November!  This month I will be going into classrooms to work with students specifically about listening.  I’m not talking about the ‘listen to your teacher’ kind of listening, but the deep kind of listening and understanding that is an essential part of communication and ultimately creates greater empathy.  

People think I do a lot of problem solving as a therapist, but really 90-95% of what I do is just listening.  It’s challenging at times because I am not the best or most natural listener.  Like anyone else, I find myself going into problem solving mode. Through the years and various experiments with style, however, I’ve learned that what is nearly always most effective is a closed mouth and open ears.  This way, I end up hearing the things that people are saying, but won’t let themselves hear.  I help them come to terms with or manage these things, and through removing these obstacles people gain the ability to solve their own problems.  Here are some ideas for how you can use these same techniques to strengthen your listening relationship with your own children.

Undivided Attention

If only I had the capacity and ingenuity to solve all problems! Instead, I have the unique opportunity (usually) to be a focused listener in a quiet space.  While quiet, private time is not essential to good listening, your undivided attention is absolutely required.   The way I see it, this is mostly about the person to whom you are listening.  So often a student will turn up at my office door with what they feel is a HUGE dilemma and I will start to feel nervous – how am I going to help this little person?   There are so many complicated relational issues as children move through developmental milestones.  Then after I have sat and listened for a while, that student will suddenly announce, “Wow, I feel better!”  No problem solving necessary!  I have done literally nothing but been a person who looked at them and nodded while they talked.  Think about your own experiences of sharing and consider what situations have lead to you feeling fully heard.  How satisfying was that?  Did you ever feel that just saying what you needed to out loud was enough?  Most of the time it is enough for our students.


In my role as a counselor, I hear all kinds of things that don’t personally sit well – politics that I disagree with, behaviors I find uncomfortable or scary, even video games or television programs that I don’t find interesting.   I have learned over the years that inserting my personal feelings are a sure-fire way to shut someone down and stop them from sharing – sometimes for good.   Removing our own judgment (or just keeping it to ourselves) is so important to good listening.   My mentor used to reassure me that unless we are sitting on the bench in robes with a gavel, we don’t have to worry about whether or not something someone is telling us is true, if their response matches the situation, whether they are right or wrong, or where their motivations come from.  In my experience, people are usually judging themselves so harshly that adding my two cents can actually devastate a strong connection.  

Whole Listening

I can often figure out the path I want to take in counseling by listening to everything someone is saying – everything.  For example, a downward glance from a child when asking how about how math class is going might lead me to inquiring more – even though they said things are totally fine.  As I get to know students better I learn about their ‘tells’ – a curve of the lip when one is feeling anxious, rocking back and forth harder in the rocking chair when I am touching upon a vulnerable subject, a quick grimacing smile when I am saying something they like but they don’t want me to know.   I also pay attention to their tone of voice and overall energy – anything that seems dissonant is something for me to bring to light and share with the speaker.       

Reflect and clarify

We can use our ears to biologically hear words, but truly understanding is a whole different ball game.  Using reflective statements can help you clarify the meaning behind the words and will help you get a clear grasp on the situation, making sure the speaker feels truly heard.  A reflective statement is saying something back to someone in a slightly different way, and perhaps deepening it to encourage further discussion.  Here are some examples:

“Sounds like you felt left out when that happened”

“You want your teacher to understand that you’re trying your best”

“It seems like you don’t know how to tell her how you feel”

I try to leave the door open for correction.  A student might respond, “I didn’t feel left out, I felt mad!”  This gives me a greater understanding of what’s going on inside.

For younger children, use simpler language or just reflect back the emotion:

“You look angry!”

“You’re happy with your new bike!”

“I see that you wanted that balloon but it flew away”

This will start your child on the road to connecting their actions and emotions and give them a greater ability to express themselves moving forward.


You don’t need the answers

Don’t worry about having the perfect answers.  In fact, don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t have the answers,” if in fact you truly don’t.  Something I say often is, “I don’t really know what to do right now but I see that you’re in pain and I want to support you.”  The student can then let me know how best to proceed.

Listening takes practice.  Give yourself the opportunity to do it in a quiet contained space if you can – like driving in a car.  You can practice these skills one at a time and see how they work.  Back in my early days as a therapist I would do this – practicing all reflection, all quiet, all non-judgmental statements.   This helped me practice not going into a mode that was just about helping that person with a specific problem and learn to trust the process of listening.  You will see what works the best with your child and move on from there.  Happy NOT problem solving!

An Opportunity for CRHS students: The SLVHS Drama group is having an informational meeting on their upcoming play, West Side Story this Monday, 11/6, at 3:00 in the HS MPR. They will go over how to best prepare for vocal auditions in January. Will Gilford will keep us apprised as to when and where auditions will be held.

😀 RETAKES November 9th: Picture retake day for all homeschool programs :  (time TBD: possible reschedule due to rain)  Please contact Danelle Matteson or your teacher for final update!

Parent Advisory Committee: Next meeting will focus on reviewing the Charter WASC report and Charter board presentation.  Thursday, November 9, from 3-4 pm in the Fall Creek Charter office.


Each year, there are an estimated 10,200 cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in children nationwide. Are you prepared to help if a child or adult needs to be resuscitated?

This free training is designed for parents and the general public and covers:

  • How to use an Auto External Defibrillator (AED)

  • Quick Comprehension Only CPR

  • When to call 911

These hands-on trainings are limited to 25 participants free of charge. There will be a sign-in sheet at each event. The first 25 on the list are eligible for the training. So don’t be late, you won’t want to miss this free training event!

Training dates, locations and times are as follows:

November 14th                4:30pm – 6:00pm       SLV Cafeteria

November 16th             4:30pm – 6:00p           BCE Multi-purpose Room

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

It's time to start planning your ideas for our All Charter Winter Holiday Craft Fair, Dec. 1, 2017

This is an opportunity to share our creative talents and support each other's artistic endeavors by selling and purchasing each other's crafts and/or food. Students and parents are encouraged to make and sell their craft items!  It's great fun for the kids to sell their creations and buy from their friends, bartering is always on hand as well : ) Please email Amber Walker at if you would like to participate and have a space to sell your wares (It will be a shared table space, approx. 3ft. X 3ft.)  The deadline to reserve a table is Monday, November 27, 2017.  When: Friday: December 1, 2017      Time: 10:00am to 2:00pm   Where: Rooms 14, 15, and 16 (and maybe 17) at the Quail Hollow Campus


Coast Redwood HS:This past week has been busier than normal as we have celebrated Halloween, College and Career Week, and ended the week with a field trip to the Cultural Center in Watsonville to celebrate Dia de los Muertos. A shout-out to our Leadership class and to Keidi for orchestrating a fun-filled "All Hallows' Eve" celebration. College & Career week included guest speaker Ben Hammond from the SCCOE Outdoor Science School who discussed the many occupations and opportunities available through the county outdoor science schools. Rory McKee followed up with a slide show outlining occupations in Environmental Sciences, Parks and Recreation, and in the State Parks. Another guest speaker was Briana Giorgione from Longs Marine Lab, who spoke about opportunities available to students with Marine Science and Psychology degrees. A common thread of skills and knowledge all students heard from our speakers is to build their skills in communication, cooperative teamwork, observation, critical analysis, research, data analysis, as well as technical skills and experience with spreadsheets! Our desire is for our students to make connections between what they are learning in their various classes to how they will apply their knowledge in their workplace environment.  Friday, November 9 marks the end of the second quarter, we freeze grades for all students and hand out progress reports. Remember, these grade freezes are only markers for our students and parents to gauge individual progress. The only grades that will appear on a student’s transcript are the final grades at the end of semester one and semester two.  Important College Deadlines CSU & UC Applications are Due by November 30th. Don't Procrastinate!

Coast Redwood MS: PE:  We filled in gaps we discovered in our Capture the Flag game description and then played a very enjoyable, smooth-running game.  It is a pleasure to play PE games with a group of kids who understand and agree to the rules of play! Class Business, Logo:  Cyndi, Kovas’ mom, shared a video on the psychology of color, then showed various font styles, first clarifying what image we are trying to project (hand-made, local, clean, healthy for people and the environment, student-made).  It was difficult for some of the kids to choose fonts based on what projects the business mission best, and not just go for what shows their individual personality/interests the best. Class Business, Lotion-Making:  It was great to get started on our first product production of the year!  Many skills across the subject areas were involved in the process, including: following written directions, dividing measurements, lab norms, collaboration roles, oil rancidity, melting points, emulsification, friction, gels, measuring weight with a triple-beam balance scale, measuring volume, measuring temperature, using an unfamiliar blender, removing air pockets. Art: Tina helped the kids notice how line quality can vary in a drawing. She introduced different shading methods, how to draw parallel lines, and directed them to create their own value scales using only regular pencils. River Hike: Navigating the terrain took continuous focus. As much as the hike in the river was a learning experience, the hike to Henry Cowell was also one. I don’t think the kids will take that stretch of road for granted now that they know more intimately what they have passed hundreds of times in the car.

Nature Academy: Mesopotamian studies continues in Ms. Hope’s class. The Hammurabi Code Project is underway as is the study of Assyria. Students are completing their personal narrative essay. 7th-8th graders are continuing their in-depth study on the Brain,with an emphasis on researching the pros and cons of screen time. The end of the trimester is around the corner and students are busy completing their writing assignments, including their free choice science book/articles.  

Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA): Hogwarts day on Halloween was a blast! Students sorted into houses by taking a quiz, then studied our spells and had a wizarding duel in the dance room (Improv game using spell casting instead of the word, “Splat”.) Carolyn, Jamey’s mom, joined us for an impromptu story at the end of the day while we enjoyed our butterbeer. For the rest of the week we had a mellow pace, learning/discussing, notetaking on the history of World Religions, which is our next history unit. The students gave great feedback regarding the problem solving class we had. All were working together and sharing strategies on how to solve these tricky math problems. On Thursday, Jen Sims joined us for our monthly talking topic, “Listening”. Wednesday, November 15: QHIA Movie/Game Night/World Foods Potluck from 6-8:30pm Parents, please join us for an evening of exploring foods from different countries/cultures, with the option for the kids to watch a movie, play games, etc. Next week each student will select the food that they will prepare.STOMP! Tickets have been purchased. Thank you Sheryl Lane for making this happen for us!

Quail Hollow Homeschool: We had a wonderful week of sharing together with fun activities on Halloween.  A special Thank You to the parents who supported our class by donating their time and energy to run a station on that fun day. Stone Soup - We will read the story Stone Soup and making our own version in class.  Please plan to bring a single item to contribute to our group soup for this day! Tie Dye and Gift Wrap It was discussed at our last parent meeting to have a booth for our Annual Winter Holiday Craft Fair to raise money for our program.  We are going to make and sell tie dye socks AND have a wrapping station booth with hand made gift bags. We met in our Henry Cowell gathering spot for Nature Wednesday, and did a brisk exercise to warm up on this crisp morning.  After a discussion of leaves and trees, and the story, We are Going on a Leaf Hunt, we walked along the river and collected interesting leaves. We stopped at the Fremont Tree and made leaf rubbings of various leaves and bark in our nature journals. We had a wonderful day at the Scott's Valley Public Library. We were well taken care of by Librarian, Victor Willis.  All friends were issued their own library card and given the responsibility of caring for books that everyone can enjoy. We were given a tour of the library, and specifically explained the layout of the children's section.  Then he read a few wonderful stories. We spent the next happy hour exploring the shelves and reading stories to each other. We walked to Sky Park where we ate lunch, and friends played at the playground.  We played an active game of clothes pin tag and ended the day with another story.

Fall Creek Homeschool:  We had a stupendous Halloween Day of crafting and games. We made cornhusk dolls, apple pie, applesauce, glitter “sugar skulls” drawings, and paper pumpkins. We played target games and painted mini pumpkins, strung beads with glow sticks for light during trick-or-treating, and made homemade caramel corn! Thank you to all of the parents and Fall Creek alumni who helped to make it a truly fun day. We also listened to a Halloween story from 1958 that my mother used to read to me and my sisters when I was very young. We ended the day with a compliment and comment circle. We listened to a news story about how they are beginning to use sailboats to transport goods along the Hudson River in an effort to clean the river of pollutants. We discussed the parts of a boat and labeled a diagram of a typical sailboat. We made boats from corks, toothpicks, paper, yarn and eyelet screws. We hiked to the pond and dam where we  floated our boats. We ended the day with a compliment and comment circle. Each year we do some kind of research report. Students enjoy doing this project and presenting it to their friends in class. The research is done at home and each student presents their report to the whole class. We will be mostly presenting on unusual creatures of the Monterey Bay. The report should include photos, drawings and text concerning the creature. These should be displayed on a cardboard presentation board (poster board). A rubric will be used to make sure your report is complete. Students who are not yet writing can dictate content and/or copy content onto their report boards.

Mountain IS: We started our Halloween off with a costume parade, the Hokey Pokey and the Chicken Dance. We had a great turn out as always for this Mountain School event. We read books about Frida Kahlo one narrative and and another nonfiction informational text. With Danika's help we used Microscopes to investigate vegetables up close like Frida Kahlo did as a child. We also used vegetables to recreate a skeleton as we felt our own bodies and discussed anatomy facts. We created Dia De Los Muertos and Frida Kahlo inspired Sugar skull designs. Guest speaker, Claire, shared her experiences about providing assistance to families in Africa. She shared her stories about helping villages in setting up Bio sand filters through education and supplies. Perhaps some of you may enjoy creating your own filters. In the Congolese village that Claire visits, these filters have dramatically increased the health of the locals in addition to creating a small income stream which provides enough revenue for children to attend school. Her images and stories are an important reminder for us all in appreciating our own great fortune. She also helped to connect disabled women with manual sewing machines and sewing business opportunities. She imports their clothing and sells them at her shop,The Outback Trading Company. Art: We began a line drawing project with black glue inspired by fabrics from Africa. Next week the students will use chalk pastel to add vibrant colors and sew pieces together. We will eventually create a "thank you quilt" to give back to Claire for her compassionate service.

Dates to remember:

  • November 9th: Picture retake day for all homeschool programs : (time TBD)

  • November 10th:  No School-- Veteran’s Day

  • November 17: End of First Trimester

  • November 20th-26th:  Thanksgiving Break

  • December 1: All-Charter Craft Faire 10-2:00 pm

  • December 22nd- January 7th:  Winter Break

  • January 25: End of first Semester

This is a reminder that San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District policy, as set by the Board of Trustees, declares that we are a fragrant-neutral district.  As we begin to have our drama performances and other site-based activities and meetings, please take care to follow the policies below for the sake of the students and members of our community who are highly allergic to fragrances and scents.

The SLVUSD Board of Trustees adopted a California School Board Association policy to make all district classrooms and offices fragrant neutral. SLVHS has parents, students, and community members with respiratory issues who can have negative reactions to fragrances. Please take care to follow the policy while on campus.  

Staff and students shall refrain from bringing furred or feathered animals, stuffed toys that may collect dust mites, scented candles, incense or air fresheners and from using perfume or cologne, scented hair spray, nail polish or nail polish remover that are not fragrance-free in classrooms or other enclosed areas or buildings.