It’s known as Charter 25 because San Lorenzo Valley Charter School was the 25th charter school to be approved after California introduced the educational option in 1992.
But unlike in some communities, where independent charters have raised questions among some parents who worry about the siphoning off of students and resources from public districts, SLV Charter is a “dependent charter” that falls under San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District. Students even take a recess on the grounds outside the school board’s offices.
On March 8, from 5:30-6:30pm the charter will hold an in-person information night at 325 Marion Ave., in Ben Lomond, for parents of potential charter students to learn about all of its homeschool-hybrid programs.
The following Tuesday, March 15, from 5:30-6:30pm, the district will hold an in-person info session, at the same site, about the popular Nature Academy, which covers sixth-eighth grades, although officials forewarn that it can only admit 26 students, who will be selected by a lottery.
“We’re happy to have them,” said SLVUSD Superintendent Chris Schiermeyer, adding the charter complements the other instructional options parents can choose. “They’re really not seen as separate from us. They’re really integrated.”
Rhonda Schlosser, the principal of the SLV Charter, emphasizes that kids end up doing best when parents are able to take an active role in the learning process.
“It’s incredibly important,” she said. “If the parents aren’t involved, none of our programs work as well.”
The charter currently has 325 students enrolled. For elementary it runs three hybrid-homeschool programs, where children attend classes two days a week (including Mountain Independent Studies, in Soquel); for middle school, it has the five-day nature academy, the 6-8 grade two-day-a-week Coast Redwood Middle School and Quail Hollow, an arts-based program formerly based in Boulder Creek that has sixth-graders on campus three days a week and seventh- and eighth-graders on campus four days a week. It also has Coast Redwood High School, which offers a blended learning environment for students in grades 9–12.
In a recent survey conducted by the district, 94.5% of families said they believe SLV Charter curriculum addresses students’ learning styles and needs.
“We’ve been doing this since 1993, changing and developing to support the needs of the families that come to us and want a different way of learning,” Schlosser said. “We call it living and learning together.”
About a quarter of students come from outside the SLVUSD’s boundaries.