SUN VALLEY CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL
Education for the 21st Century
Will your students receive a diploma upon graduation?
Will your program satisfy university entrance requirements?
Our program will meet the "A-G" requirements for entry into the UC/CSU systems.
Will your students be able to earn high school credits for community college classes?
Our school will allow students the flexibility to simultaneously earn college and high school credits for community college courses they take.
Will you offer a strong math program?
Absolutely. We will offer a state-of-the-art, computer-based program staffed by credentialed math teachers. Students will be able to move at their own pace while receiving individualized attention.
Will you offer a complete science curriculum?
Yes. In fact, we will offer more than is required by the California State Standards. We will teach geology and meteorology in the first year, oceanography and astronomy in the second year, biology w/lab in the third year, and chemistry w/lab in the fourth year. We will teach anatomy as a part of health science
How will you address the topic of evolution?
It will be presented as a scientific theory, as required by state law.
Will you teach creation theory?
No. The Supreme Court has ruled that the teaching of creation theory in a public school violates the Establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution. We will not address the topic on campus. Parents, however, are free to teach what they wish at home.
Will you teach traditional values?
We will teach the basic values of integrity, personal responsibility, respect, and self-reliance.
To whom is the school accountable?
First, and foremost, we are accountable to the students and parents. We understand that, if you lose faith in our program, we will cease to exist. We are also accountable to the Board of Education of the Ramona Unified School District. The RUSD Board will monitor our school to ensure that we live up to our charter. They have the power to revoke our charter if we are not operating in accordance with the law.
Will your students be required to take the California High School Exit Exam?
Will you participate in STAR testing?
Who can attend?
All high school age residents of the state of California are eligible to attend, with preference given to those who live within the RUSD boundaries. We do not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion, creed, or color.
Can you refuse admission based on ability?
No. This is a public school and applicants will be accepted regardless of ability.
How many students will be admitted?
This year, we will enroll freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. We will limit enrollment in the Campus Program to 125 students per grade level to keep classes small. Enrollment in the Distance Learning Program will be open to an unlimited number of students.
When can students enroll?
We offer two enrollment periods: January 1st through June 30th, and July 1st through August 15th. If we reach capacity during either of the enrollment periods, applicants will then be placed on a waiting list to be selected by lottery. The sooner you apply, the better are your chances for being enrolled.
Charter School Definition
What is a charter school?
A charter school is a public school that operates under a charter granted by the local school district. In this case, SVCHS was chartered by the Ramona Unified School District. The charter establishes the guidelines and standards for the school. A charter school is free from many of the restrictions placed on traditional schools.
How is it different from a regular public school?
Each charter school is autonomous and can decide how best to serve its students. The charter school has a separate board of directors, establishes its own policies, and develops its own curriculum. This freedom allows for alternative forms of lesson delivery and innovation in the classroom. Charter schools are also schools of choice. They are not limited by attendance boundaries.
Charter School Law
Where can we find out more about charter school laws?
You can go to the California Department of Education's website at http://www.cde.ca.gov/charter/regs/.
How many students will be on campus?
We will accept only 125 students per grade level for the Campus Program. The maximum anticipated enrollment is 500 students when the school reaches capacity.
What will the student to teacher ratio be?
How can you keep classes so small under the current state budget cuts?
We have a small administrative staff, and we are very frugal.
Will your students have opportunities to serve in their community?
Yes, in their junior and senior years, students will be expected to participate in meaningful community service, and the school will provide them with opportunities to do so.
Cost To Attend
Will it cost anything to attend?
No. It is a public school. There is no tuition to attend.
How many credits will students receive per course?
Students will receive 10 credits for each year-long academic course, 5 units for each semester-long academic course. P.E. credits will be accrued, through an independent study contract, at a rate of 1 credit per 12 hours of physical activity.
How many credits will students be able to earn per year?
Students will be able to earn 30+ units per semester, or 60+ units per year.
How many credits are required for graduation?
225 credits are required for graduation - the same as Ramona High School.
Will SVCHS credits transfer to other high schools?
Are SVCHS credits acceptable for college entrance?
What curricula will you be using?
We will not be using packaged curricula. It is our belief that the curricula should be integrated across all academic fields. There are no off-the-shelf programs from which we can draw. We are developing our own curricula, based on California State Standards, national standards, and in-house expertise. Our courses are designed to meet the UC entrance requirements and credits will transfer to other high schools.
What textbooks will you use?
We will not purchase regular textbooks. We will subscribe to an electronic book service, so that our sources will remain current. We will also use original sources available on the Internet through the Library of Congress and other educational sites. This approach will be more challenging for teachers and more demanding for students, but it will also allow for more in-depth coverage of a topic.
How will your reading list be developed?
Parents, teachers, administrators, and board members will work together to develop a list that will be approved by our board. We do not intend to include books which center on themes of drug-use, violence, and sexuality.(Back to Top)
Will you provide a Distance Learning Program?
Yes. An Internet-based Distance Learning Program will be a component of our program. The program will follow all state regulations for independent study.
Will Distance Learners receive a diploma?
Will there be a dress code?
Yes, our dress code is conservative. We want our students to prepare for the business world, so we require them to dress in clothing that would be acceptable in a work environment. Wild hair, bare midriffs, revealing clothing, piercings and tattoos, and tattered clothing are not acceptable.
Will the school require uniforms?
Do you have an ASB?
Yes. Students are encouraged to participate in school decisions and to practice government on the very local level.
Do you support student clubs?
We provide support for student clubs, as long as they are consistent with our charter. We currently have a Drama Club, an Art Club, and a Robotics Club.
What kind of after-school activities do you expect to offer?
We will offer whatever activities the students and parents would like to see, with one caveat: Activities sponsored by the school will need to be wholesome in nature and family friendly.
Will you have dances?
Yes. We sponsor dances and other evening activities on a monthly basis. The dress code and school rules apply at these activities.
Where will the school be located?
The school is located at 2102 Main Street, in Ramona. The current site has enough room to handle enrollment for the next two years.
What are the long-term plans?
We will be acquiring a permanent site, over the next two years, on which to build our permanent facilities.
Where does your money come from?
Our money comes from the taxpayers of the state of California, the same as other public schools. We receive our funding directly from the state based on our average daily attendance.
Will you be taking money away from the RUSD?
No. The money for educating students comes directly from the state to the school where the students attend.
Who will govern your school?
Our school is a non-profit public benefit corporation with its own board of directors. The duly constituted board of directors will establish the policies and guidelines of the school.
Who is on your board of directors?
Will you provide opportunities for students to work in real businesses?
Yes. In their senior year, students will have the opportunity to participate in internships. We will develop an intern program to place students in businesses related to the field of work they have chosen. The program will give students exposure to the real workplace one day a week.
Will my student receive personalized academic advice?
Students will be assigned a teacher to be their mentor during their four years at the school. That teacher will have no more than 30 students assigned to him/her. It will be the mentor's responsibility to work with the student and his/her parents to develop and track the student's academic plan.
Will you teach morality?
Questions of personal ethics, religious beliefs and related concerns are best left to the family. While we will not teach these things on campus, we will also not undermine the moral lessons that are taught at home.
How will you handle physical education?
Until we have our permanent site, P.E. will be done via independent study contracts. Students will be given credit for participation in community sport leagues, or they can satisfy the contract through individual efforts at home. Student will earn one P.E. credit for every 12 hours of physical activity. They can log only one hour per day, and only on school days.
What role will the parents play in your school?
Charter schools thrive on parent participation. We will ask for parental support throughout our program. Parents will have opportunities to volunteer on campus and to participate in extracurricular activities. Parents will be involved in curriculum decisions and reading list adoptions. Parents will sit on committees involved in policy development, personnel hiring, facilities, and fund-raising. Parents will always be welcome on campus.
Will you have a music program?
We will have a limited music program, based on the talents of the students enrolled. We will promote small instrumental and vocal ensemble work. Students interested in larger instrumental ensembles will be able to participate in the Pomerado Community Band. Those interested in larger vocal ensembles will be able to participate through Palomar College.
Will you have a drama program?
Drama will be offered on campus. In fact, we will expect "non-drama" students to participate in classroom productions. We also hope to develop a broadcast media program that will encompass television and cinema production.
Practical Arts Program
Will you offer vocational training?
We consider practical arts to be as important as academic training. In their Junior year, students will be allowed to select either an Academic Arts track or a Practical Arts track. Those who enter the Practical Arts track will receive training that will help them to make it in the trades or small business. Math education will focus on business and "contractor" math. Training will be offered in several of the building trades, and internships will round out the experience.
Will you offer computer training?
Yes. All of our students will receive training in basic computer application, but we will offer more in-depth training to those who are seeking a career in computers. In their junior year, students will be able to participate in Microsoft certification courses, and other certifications will be offered as the program expands.
Will you teach religion?
We will not teach religious doctrine, but we will teach about world religions within their historical and cultural context. We believe it is necessary for each student to possess an understanding of the world's religions to be truly well educated. This instruction will involve the reading of excerpts from the writings of the world's major religions. It is not intended to encourage or promote religion in general or any religious beliefs in particular.
Respect For Families
Will you try to override what we teach at home?
No. That is not to say that you will agree with everything we teach, or that we will always avoid topics you feel uneasy about. However, we recognize that the primary responsibility for education rests with the family, and we will respect your beliefs and your authority. Accordingly, if you feel that a change needs to be made in your student's program, we will find a way to accommodate you.
School Colors, Etc.
What are the school colors?
Green and Gold.
What is the school mascot?
What is the school motto?
Education for the 21st Century
Will you have a closed campus?
Yes. Students will not be allowed off campus during school hours, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian, or a designee.
What security measures will you take?
Surveillance cameras will be mounted in common areas and around the outside of the building. All visitors will be required to check in at the office before being allowed into the building.
What do you mean by self-reliance?
We will teach students how to rely on themselves in their daily lives. This will include instruction in food production, storage, and preparation, physical activity, career planning, financial management, and personal responsibility.
Will you teach sex education?
No. We will, however, make educational materials available for parents who request them. All materials we provide will be in line with state standards, which state that abstinence as the only 100% sure way to avoid pregnancy and that we should foster respect for monogamous heterosexual marriage.
How will you handle the issue of homosexuality?
We will not discuss sexuality, of any kind, on campus. These issues are best left to the family.
Will you provide special education services?
The Ramona Unified School District will be the provider of special education services for SVCHS, under the terms of our Memorandum of Understanding with them.
Will you have a sports program?
Yes. SVCHS is a member of the CIF, and we will be fielding teams in the areas where we have enough interest. We expect to offer basketball, volleyball, baseball, cross-country, tennis, and golf. We may be able to add other team sports as we grow.
Will freshmen be able to participate?
Yes. Our school is small enough that we will need freshmen to fill out our JV teams. Those who participate will most likely get more play time and less bench time than at a large high school.
Do you need to live in Ramona to be on SVCHS teams?
No. You only need to be enrolled at SVCHS.
Can Distance Learners participate in sports?
Will your curriculum meet state standards?
Yes. In accordance with our charter, all of our courses will be consistent with California State Standards. In some cases they will even exceed state standards. For example, our World Studies program includes areas of ancient history not included in state standards. To help us with those courses, we have relied on national standards.
Will you hire your own teachers?
Yes. All staff of SVCHS will be employees of the charter school, not the RUSD. The charter school will have sole responsibility for the employment, management, salaries, benefits, dismissal, and discipline of its employees.
Will your teachers be credentialed?
Yes. California State law requires that teachers in charter schools "hold a Commission on Teacher Credentialing certificate, permit, or other document equivalent to that which a teacher in other public schools would be required to hold." The law also gives charter schools some "flexibility with regard to noncore, noncollege preparatory courses."
Will your teachers be part of the Ramona Teachers Association?
No, unless they choose to join. As an exclusive public school employer, SVCHS is not bound by the collective bargaining agreements of the RUSD.
Will your teachers receive tenure?
No. Our teachers will serve under at-will contracts based on performance. We believe this is the best way to ensure quality instruction in the classroom.
Will you use modern technology in the classroom?
Yes. It is a major component of our program. We have a computer available for every student. Each student has an individual data account and is able to access educational programs and materials available through the school. Students will learn how to use MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and FrontPage.
Will my student have access to the Internet?
Yes. We plan to utilize many educational sources and databases available online, including the Library of Congress website, Project Gutenberg, and an e-book service from Questia.com with over 400,000 full-text readable titles. Use of the Internet will be an integral part of the program. Students will be expected to do much of their research on-line.
Will my student be able to access inappropriate material on the Internet at school?
No. Access through SVCHS will be filtered and monitored. We will keep logs of each student's attempts to access websites and will report attempts to access inappropriate sites to the parents.
Will I be able to monitor my student's work via the Internet?
Some of their assignments and class projects will be available for parents to see via the Internet
Will transportation be provided?
No. SVCHS is a school of choice; therefore parents are responsible for providing transportation. The only exception would be for students who are special education eligible, and whose I.E.P. calls for transportation.
Will colleges and universities accept SVCHS credits?
Yes. Our credits carry the same weight as credits from any other public high school.
Will scholarships be available to SVCHS students?
Yes. In fact, we have already developed a list of scholarships that will be available to our college-bound students.