The current charter options in SLVUSD are consistently full with waiting lists, and there is a high demand from parents in the district seeking another option for a small and personalized middle school.
The charter middle school would be intended for what class size? Enrollment?
The middle school would be intended for grades 6-8 and would open with an initial cohort of 75 students.
Where would the new school be located?
The new middle school will be located at Camp Harmon in Boulder Creek, a beautiful site in the redwood forest complete with classrooms, a grand lodge and full kitchen, a pool, a working farm and organic garden, outdoor amphitheaters, and miles of hiking trails.
What makes this middle school different?
The new middle school will offer small class sizes, music and art for all students, a focus on project-based-learning and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math), an individual advisor for each child, and an inclusive school culture that celebrates students’ individual strengths and diverse talent while accelerating their academic and social-emotional growth.
Would this be a public school?
Yes, this would be a public charter school and free to 6-8th graders living in the San Lorenzo Valley and Santa Cruz County.
When would the school open?
If the charter is authorized by SLVUSD, the school could open as early as August 2018.
If the District does not accept the petition, then what?
The SLVUSD Board decision hearing will be this summer. If SLVUSD does not authorize the charter petition, we will submit the charter petition to Santa Cruz County Office of Education and then, if necessary, to the State of California.
What can I do to support the charter school?
Sign our petition or send a letter to a SLVUSD Board Member at www.ilapublicschools.org.
Why seek a charter through the SLVUSD district?
We believe that a partnership between ILA and SLVUSD to add another charter option to the Valley will return private and out-of-district charter school students to SLVUSD. Because the District charter programs are full with waiting lists, many parents feel they have no option except to leave the District for private schools options or homeschooling. We are committed to recruiting from this population so that our charter school would have a net positive effect on SLVUSD district enrollment.
In addition, this project will bring an already-committed one million dollars in philanthropy into the Valley during 2018 and over $500,000 each year thereafter. This philanthropy is being spent in the Valley on Valley students and in Valley businesses from which the school purchases services — and could fund substantial revenue-generating contracts between ILA and SLVUSD.
What are the main features of an integrative education?
An integrative education fosters whole human development by focusing not only on academic skills, but also on social-emotional intelligence. Students take a full range of classes, including math, English, history, science, music, art and physical education.
Will the school have athletics?
All students will have a daily period of physical education. The school will also offer after-school sports programs depending on student interest and school location. Possibilities could include soccer, basketball, softball, swim team, gymnastics and cross-country.
What’s advisory and what’s the role of the advisor?
An advisor is a staff member responsible for monitoring and supporting the academic, social and emotional growth and well-being of his/her students. Each advisor is assigned a cohort of approximately 15 students and meets daily with these students from their enrollment in the school through their graduation. Students meet with their advisor during daily advisory periods to learn life skills, get one-on-one support and help with schoolwork, and to deal with any issues that may arise during the school day. Advisors are the main point of contact between the school and families.
Will there be special education?
Yes, the school will have a special education program and will work with the school district to provide services to students with IEPs or 504 plans in accordance with CA state laws and regulations.
How would the school be school funded?
The school is funded with public school dollars plus philanthropic funding. The Board of Directors of Integrative Leadership Academy has provided $400,000 in start-up funds for the charter and have committed an additional $600,000 per year to support the school’s operations.
How did this project get started?
Parents in the Riverside Grove neighborhood near the former Redwood Elementary often talk nostalgically about the days when the site was full of students. And because much of the neighborhood uses the fields and blacktops, the school has stayed present in our minds. A group of parents started talking about the possibility of a middle school and connected with an organization (Integrative Leadership Academy) that pledged start-up funds and philanthropy to support the school in its early years.