I just returned from the California Charter School Conference and heard many stories from teachers in other school districts about the lack of support for their local charter. We are incredibly fortunate in San Lorenzo Valley to be a part of a community where all of our kids are served and supported in an educational setting that works for them. Our family loved Boulder Creek Elementary and we love the high school. But traditional choices are not the best choice for every kid.
My children chose to attend the Nature Academy Charter for grades six to eight, which is located on the campus of the middle school. To its credit, SLV Middle School welcomes all district middle-school kids, charter or not, for school events and sports programs. Our family appreciates the rigor of the Nature Academy and the many opportunities for out-of-the-classroom experiences, such as the trip this year to Catalina Marine Science Camp, stream studies in Fall Creek, working in the on-campus garden and team-building trips to ropes courses and rock climbing. The kids at the seventh- and eighth-grade level are in a cohort of 50 kids who take all of their classes together in different configurations with two main teachers and a math teacher (in sixth grade, all students are in one class together).
The kids become a tight-knit community and through class meetings learn to problem-solve any social issues that might arise. While such a program might not be for everyone, the program has been the perfect fit for our kids. (If interested, applications are being taken for the Nature Academy until April 19.) The beauty of having charter school options such as the Nature Academy and home schooling programs within the district is that we can offer alternative learning situations that meet the needs of more than 300 students and families without those students leaving the school district to attend private schools.
Congratulations to our school district and community on being open-minded and offering flexibility and choice to students and families, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
Erin Edwards Boulder Creek