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Charter News: September 9, 2018

posted Sep 9, 2018, 12:50 PM by Rhonda Schlosser

“ painful, continual and difficult work to be done in kindness, by watching, by warning,...  by praise, but above all -- by example.” ~John Ruskin

Dear Charter Families,

I trust you are all settling into the rhythm of the year, building the routines that will help ensure your student’s school work gets done on time, finding the right balance in the evenings for completing homework, relaxing as a family, and getting to bed at a good hour to be able to get up in the morning refreshed and ready to go!  Not an easy balance to maintain, I know. This balance between work (parent or student) and family time is an important balance. It is very easy to forget to turn off the many screens and phones and to just keep doing your personal ‘thing’ instead of becoming conscious of connecting to family as you prepare to close the day and settle to sleep.

Finding the balance that works for your family, helping your student to navigate their school responsibilities, joys, and personal challenges is a dynamic journey that works best with a strong community of support.  When I walk into any classroom or check in with our teachers it is wonderful to hear about the wisdom and care that they bring to your student’s learning experience. We believe that the responsibility as educators goes beyond the walls of the classroom and the academic content. Our focus on Life Skills and Social-Emotional learning is the foundation that solidifies every students' desire to learn more and do their best.

In addition to our teachers, another support for you in the Charter is our mental health counselor. Robin Bates offers a tiered level of support for our programs. We begin with a theme for the year that helps focus the social-emotional skill building that she will offer in the classrooms.  She is also available for individual counseling and may also offer groups sessions as well. Please read on to read her first article for the year.


From our Mental Health Counselor:  Robin Bates

Hello Charter school village! I feel so grateful and privileged to be able to serve this community as a Mental Health Specialist and look forward to an amazing year of collective self-discovery!

Identity: Who am I?

A few weeks ago, my son, who often throughout his childhood has had anxiety at night about different “monsters” under the bed, came into our room to say yet again that he was struggling with some fear. In the old days, he would come in with some creative stuff: a “shark between the wall and the bed”, a “giant wild feral cat scratching to get in his window” (which, by the way, was two stories above the ground), or some other wild scene that I would then offer him comfort. Later, the fears would become a little more concrete: a robber, a mountain lion or a strange new neighbor outside of his window.  

So, I was reading a book in my bed after his bedtime and he quietly and sheepishly came in and sat next to me.  

“Mom, I’m scared”. I waited for the rest of it.  “Mom, this time it’s not anything outside. Tonight, well, (he paused a moment).....I am scared of myself”.  This wasn’t the usual theme.  Being a therapist, my curiosity perked up and I put my book down, inviting him to tell me more.  “Mom, it’s just weird. Who am I REALLY? When I move my arm up and down, am I the one watching myself do this? Or am I the arm that is moving up and down or am I the one that decided to move the arm?  This is really freaking me out! Now I don’t really even think I know who I am at all!” Without trying to explain to him what an existential crisis was, I just gave him time to explore this experience and listened with deep curiosity and compassion.  

Our theme this year is:  Identity.  This covers a lot of ground (some would argue it covers ALL the ground), so we will have opportunities to learn about our identities through many different lenses.

Exploring our identity involves expanding our awareness and practicing being “the one watching the arm move and the one making the decision to make the arm move”.  Any time we can stand back a moment and look at our reactions with curiosity and compassion, we are opened to new choices and deeper self acceptance. We learn to take ownership of identity.  And when we do this, we learn to have more compassion for the diversity of others.

As parents it’s hard not to get overwhelmed or bewildered by our children and our most straight-forward instinct can sometimes be to help our children NOT do or accept whatever it is that they’re experiencing.

It can be helpful to approach children’s identity challenges with curiosity.  “Tell me more about what you’re feeling/thinking?”. “I love the way you’re looking closely at this and really paying attention to the details of how you are feeling”.  “If you could draw or color this experience, what would it look like? If you could hear sounds or music about this experience, what would it sound like?” These questions help us and our children practice “leaning in”.  And when we lean in, often there’s lot of great new discoveries in there!

Often times we need only focus on ourselves and watch our own identities at play. This morning I asked my son for the 1,013th time to stop pulling clumps of dirt out of this ledge on the side of the driveway before getting in the car - and to top it all off, we were close to being late to school.  I got so frustrated! Did he seriously forget or not hear me for the 1,013th time?!! I was beyond disappointed. I was offended! I could feel my heart rate rising and my cheeks getting a bit flush. But at a certain point, I found myself just observing this reaction with curiosity.  “Why am I really feeling this way? What does this remind me of? What am I feeling under this? How is this effecting parts of my own identity? Are there conflicts in my identity that are causing this upset”. I kept leaning in. My identity as a “good mother” was being directly challenged and I was in a fight with it.  Time to cool off. And before too long, my experience shifted.

I invite all of you to learn more about the many moving parts of your identity - to lean in and be curious about all of the roles and ideas about self that we have without blaming, and having compassion without shaming.

This month, our focus will be on identity formation.  Students will learn how our inside, outside, and stage of development all influence our expanding sense of who we are. Sometimes other people’s thoughts about us can help us discover who we are NOT, which can be difficult but also very useful.  Other times we get to experience alignment with outside influence and inner knowing of identity. Understanding and normalizing all of it is the key towards the ultimate goal: acceptance and curiosity about who we are. I look forward to having some fun this month!

Here are some resources that could be useful for discussions and questions that could come up around discovering our identity:

Stella Luna, by Janell Cannon (I SO LOVE this one!)

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (an old classic but still so rich)

Shrek 1 (movie by Dreamworks)  - perfect opportunity to talk about identity and how sometimes   

 we are perceived differently on the outside than how we identify on the inside! - this is a great resource for learning about what it means to be transgender and resources for talking with kids and adults.

Books for teens about identity (a list I found on The Guardian website):

The Crew by Bali Rai

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

The Outsiders by S E Hinton

PARENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE: First Meeting: Wednesday, September 12 from 3:00-4:00 pm.  Parent’s voice is very important to Charter Schools!  I count on the Parent Advisory Committee to provide input regarding our programs and their unique needs as seen from a parents perspective.  I also need parent input in reviewing and understanding the business and foundational aspects that are required to keep our Charter school running smoothly to provide the support our student population needs.  This includes understanding how our budget works, our accountability requirements for State and Local Assessments, learning about our Charter Petition, and discussing ways to better support our students' academic and social-emotional needs: Kindergarten through High School.

As a dependent Charter, we are supported by the District’s school board, who oversees our school along District Office Cabinet support. The SLVUSD school board also reviews and approves our Charter petition renewal every 5 years as well as our LCAP (Local Control Accountability Plan) report every year.  The Parent Advisory Committee is a critical component to ensure that parent’s input has a consistent say in the development of our programs that make up the Charter school.  

Please come to this meeting and learn more about the Charter. Come to tell me what is important to you.  I would like to have representation from every program on the Parent Aadvisory Committee.


Below is a list of After School Performing Arts opportunities available to All Students in Every Program of our Charter School:

For those of you who are new to our programs, these are two very popular Performing Arts events that a large percentage of our students participate in.  They are hallmarks of our unique, multi-age student collaborations where our older students become leaders and mentors, and all students step in at a level that is right for their development and ability.

Thrill the World! 2018 (Michael Jackson's "Thriller" Event)


When: Thursdays: Oct.4 and Oct. 18 and Fridays Oct. 12 and Oct. 26 from 3-4:30pm

Where: Multipurpose Room on the Quail Hollow Campus (up by the Charter Office)

No need to sign up ahead of time. Just show up.

This event was founded in 2006 in Toronto and has now spread to six continents. Every October people in cities around the world dance to "Thriller" at exactly the same time.  Preparation and counting down worldwide is part of the fun, but the feeling of being connected to others and dancing together as one is a Thrill like no other! Celebrating the truly inspirational genius of Michael Jackson in a living and moving way is what keeps people coming back year after year.  This year the event will be held in Santa Cruz on Saturday, October 27, 2018 at the Louden Nelson Center lawn at 3pm sharp. There is also an option to perform in a flash mob on Halloween in Ben Lomond.

All Charter Musical: Into the Well!: An original rock musical

Last year we had a great turnout with 64 students from each and every program in our charter participating.

Amber will have an informational meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 3pm for students and parents. The meeting will be held in the multipurpose room at the Quail Hollow Campus.

You will get a synopsis of the script, hear about characters and musical numbers, and get detailed info on the rehearsal schedule/requirements.

This year the play will be, "Into the Well". Once again, it will be an original script written by Janinne Chadwick, which Amber directed and choreographed in 2008 with LPRT (Little People's Repertory Theater.) This story incorporates fairy tale characters from many different stories such as Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, The Frog Prince, Goldilocks, Jack and the Beanstalk, and many more.  Songs and scenes include a giant singing Bob Dylan tunes, punk-rock huntsman, and runway models gone awry! Music ranges from Motown, funk, pop, punk, and good ole' rock n' roll.

Come to our meeting to find out more details! Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 3pm for students and parents, held in the multipurpose room at the Quail Hollow Campus.

Auditions: 3-5:30pm, Mondays/Tuesdays, Oct. 15, 16, 22, 23 in the multipurpose room on the Quail Hollow Campus   Rehearsals: 3-5:30pm, Mondays and Tuesdays

Performance Week: February 4-9

If you have any questions about any of these dates, feel free to email me at  

I look forward to sharing my love of performing arts with your students!

~Amber Walker

Santa Cruz County Fair: We encourage community engagement and the Fair has many ways for students to learn more about specialized crafts and trades. For years the County Fair has been a favorite of our families and we have had students enter the fair in various categories and bring back ribbons.

Hours: Wednesday 9/12 to Friday 9/14 Noon to 11:00PM Saturday 9/15 10AM to 11PM & Sunday 9/16 10AM to 10PM

 😀 Put your smiles on and brush your hair, Charter picture days are coming soon! More information will be sent closer to the picture dates.

  • September 24th: Nature Academy 6-8 grade: (during PE period)

  • October 4th: Quail Hollow Homeschool, Quail Hollow Integrated Arts, Fall Creek Homeschool, Coast Redwood High School, Coast Redwood Middle School Picture Day: (time TBD)

  • TBD: Nature Academy 6-8 grade Picture retake day: (during PE period)

  • November 13th: Picture retake day for all homeschool programs :  (time TBD)

CAFETERIA NEWS: Breakfast is $2.50 and Lunch $3.50. Application for free and reduced lunch can be found on the SLVUSD Nutrition Webpage:

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

CRHS: On-site classes started this last week. We are working on finalizing our Headwaters trip plans and on writing benchmarks. We would like to share driving and parking information on the high school campus, in order to help alleviate any anxiety around this issue:

1. Parents and students -  please drive slow through the parking lot - 10 mph.

2. Parking has become very restricted. There are 4 visitor spaces for parent parking only near the swimming pool. Please ask your teacher for a parking  permit. They are free.

3. Do not park in spaces designated STAFF. You will be ticketed.

4. CRHS designated student parking is any of the spaces painted (Student) or left blank.

5. Understand that the comprehensive high school starts several hours before us, thus, most if not all spaces will be full. Please plan to park over and around the softball fields.

6. Display your permit on your rearview mirror or on your dashboard.

7. Leave your home in plenty of time to find parking in order to get to class on time!

CRMS:  -On-site classes begin Wednesday, September 12th

Nature Academy: 6th-grade class had a terrific trip to the California Academy of Sciences. On September 14 the7-8th graders and on September 28 the 6th grade students will have their annual Ropes Course at Mt. Hermon. The annual beginning of the year hike for all grades will be on October 12th to Mt. Umumum.

Quail Hollow Integrated Arts (QHIA): Inspirational Math: Short videos on growth mindset, etc. Folding Geometry, Fibonacci and Pascal’s Triangle, Growing Shapes.Why Study History? The significance of quotes from historical people of influence, discussion, brainstorming, sharing. Mini-Bios on Katherine Johnson, who celebrated her 100th birthday last week, and John McCain. Shakespeare/Romeo and Juliet Intro: We had a great time viewing short film clips about the life of Shakespeare, the power of Iambic Pentameter, the appeal of Romeo and Juliet, and a synopsis of the plot before our SC Shakespeare Field Trip to see Romeo and Juliet.

Quail Hollow Homeschool: Tuesday, Sept. 11th Beginning of the Year Camping Trip New Brighton State Beach Friday, Sept. 28th Kayaking trip-Elkhorn This is another one of our annual favorites! This particular event is for 3rd-5th grade.  Each kayaker must have one accompanying adult. Saturday, Sept. 29th QHHS Boosters Pumpkin and Bake Sale at Santa Cruz Mountain Harvest Festival.

Fall Creek Homeschool: -On-site classes begin Tuesday, September 11th

Mountain IS:  The students had their first week of on-site classes and had a great two days filled with lots of great activities and discussions.  It is going to be a great year at Mountain IS with a Ms. Bauscher and such a caring group of students and families,

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.)

  • September 24th: Picture Day: Nature Academy 6-8 grade: (during PE period)

  • October 4th: Picture Day: Quail Hollow Homeschool, Quail Hollow Integrated Arts, Fall Creek Homeschool, Coast Redwood High School, Coast Redwood Middle School Picture Day: (time TBD)

  • November 12: No School Veterans day

  • November 13th: Picture retake day for all homeschool programs :  (time TBD)

    • TBD: Nature Academy 6-8 grade Picture retake day: (during PE period)

  • November 19-23: No School Thanksgiving Break

  • October 19th:  No School-- Professional Development Day for Staff

  • November 12th:  No School- Veteran’s Day

  • November 19-23rd:  No School- Thanksgiving Break

  • December 21st-Jan 4th:  No School- Winter Break