Frequently Asked Questions (Click on a category)
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. Top students will qualify to take the AP Calculus exam.
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, chemistry w/lab in the third year, and biology 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 Scholl Exit Exam?
Will you participate in SAT-9 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?
We will be opening with a freshman class only. In our first year, we will limit enrollment in the Campus Program to 125 freshmen. Enrollment in the Distance Learning Program will be open to an unlimited number of freshmen.
What is a charter school?
A charter school is a public school that operates under a charter granted by the local 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.
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?
The maximum anticipated enrollment is 500 students when the school reaches capacity in four years.
What will the student to teacher ratio be?
Will your students have opportunities to serve in their community?
Yes, students will be expected to participate in meaningful community service, and the school will provide them with opportunities to do so.
Will it cost anything to attend?
No. It is a public school, tuition free.
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 will be developing our own curricula, based on California State Standards.
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. Books which center on themes of drug-use, violence, and sexuality will, most likely, not be on the list.
Will you offer Advanced Placement courses?
Will you provide a Distance Learning Program?
Yes. An Internet-based Distance Learning Program is a major component of our proposed program.
Will Distance Learners receive a diploma?
Will there be a dress code?
Yes, there will be a conservative dress code.
Will the school require uniforms?
Will you have an ASB?
Yes. Students will be encouraged to participate in school decisions and to practice government on the very local level.
Will you support student clubs?
We will provide support for student clubs, as long as they are consistent with our charter.
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.
Where will the school be located?
For the first two years, the school will be located at 2102 Main Street, in Ramona. The Roadhouse Café will close in May to make room for our classrooms. Over the summer, we will renovate the interior of the building to prepare it for classes in the fall.
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. We may have to start with temporary buildings, but we plan to build insulated concrete dome structures as our permanent buildings.
Where will your money come from?
Our money will come from the taxpayers of the state of California. We will receive our funding directly form 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?
David Sossaman President
Doris Engberg Vice President
Colleen Burman Secretary
Meg McElroy Chief Financial Officer
Kurt Torsak Assistant Financial Officer
What is Home Day?
Home Day is one day a week that we would like each student to spend with his/her parents, grandparents, or other relatives. The time will be used to work on projects at home, go on field trips, or do family history. Home Day will be defined individually through performance contracts. We believe that students will benefit from one-on-one contact with adults. We also believe that Home Day will help students realize that learning is not confined to the space within the school’s walls.
What if both parents work outside the home?
If there is no adult who can work with the student on Home Day, we will substitute projects and activities on campus. Parents can also make arrangements with other parents for fields trips and projects, if they feel comfortable doing so.
Will you provide opportunities for students to work in real businesses?
Yes. 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 performance contracts. Students will be given credit for participation in community sport leagues, or they can satisfy the contract through individual efforts at home.
What role will the parent’s 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 can offer small ensemble groups, and students interested in larger ensembles will be able to participate in a community college performing art.
Will you have a drama program?
Drama will be offered on campus. In fact, we will expect “non-drama” students to participate in productions. We also hope to develop a broadcast media program that will encompass television and cinema production.
Will you offer vocational training?
We consider practical arts to be as important as academic training. In their Junior year, students will be asked 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.
What is Read Aloud Theater?
Read Aloud Theater is a program designed to encourage listening and imagination. Adult readers, with dramatic talents, will read a book for a half hour following lunch. Students will be allowed to pick the book they want to hear, but will be required to attend the half hour reading session. There will be no test to take, and students will not be allowed to take notes. We want students to relax, listen, use their imagination, and enjoy the books. That’s all.
Will you teach religion?
We will not teach religious doctrine, but we will teach about world religions within their historical context. We believe it is necessary for each student to possess an understanding of the world’s religions to be truly well educated.
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?
Ingredi ut Discas, Procede ut Servias (Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve)
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?
Our grounds will be fenced. We will have a magnetic-locked security door at the entrance to the building. Students and visitors will be issued identification cards. Surveillance cameras will be mounted in common areas and around the outside of the building. Fire exits will be alarmed. All employees will carry cell phones or two-way radios.
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?
Depending on enrollment, some competitive sports may be available on campus. We expect to be able to provide some individual and small team sports, such as golf, tennis, volleyball, and basketball. Other team sports may be available through community leagues, such as Pop Warner. As the school grows toward maximum capacity, more activities will be possible.
Will your curriculum meet state standards?
Yes. In some cases it will even exceed state standards. For example, there is no mention of Ancient World History in the state standards for the ninth grade, but we will teach it as a part of our integrated curriculum for ninth graders.
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.
Will you use modern technology in the classroom?
Yes. Our goal is to have a computer available to every student. Each student will have an individual data account and will be able to access educational programs and materials available through the school.
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 with over 65,000 full-text readable titles. Use of the Internet will be an integral part of the program.
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?
Yes. We will establish password-protected accounts where you can track your student’s assignments and view his/her progress.
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.