SUN VALLEY CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL
We believe learning best occurs when education is:
Integrated: Life is an integrated experience, not a series of compartmentalized activities. Education should mirror life, not just connecting the various realms of knowledge, but also intertwining them.
Sequential: We understand our personal life as a series of integrated sequential events. Education should help us to understand our world in a like manner.
Demanding: Life gives us increasingly demanding challenges. As we master those challenges, we are strengthened. Education should accord us similar challenges and provide the means by which we can master them.
Diverse and Individual: The world is comprised of people with diverse interests, talents, and abilities. Education should recognize this diversity and provide opportunities for individual development.
Mental and Physical: In life, we must exercise both the mind and the body to become a well-balanced individual. Education should serve and enhance both the mental and physical sides of our nature.
Theoretical and Practical: Success in life is dependent not only on the knowledge we have acquired, but also on the skills we have mastered. Education should encompass both the theoretical and the practical.
Intellectual and Emotional: We experience life with the head and heart, intellect and emotion. Education should help us to develop both.
Empowering: In life, knowledge is power. Education should empower us to lead free and independent lives, acting responsibly on behalf of our families, our community, and our nation.
Starting with History and English as a foundation, students will round out their education with studies in these additional areas of emphasis: (1) Science and Technology, (2) Philosophy and Government, (3) Logic and Mathematics, (4) Arts and Literature, (5) Communications, (6) Self-Reliance, and (7) Family and Community.
History provides the context for all other inquiries. It furnishes the background necessary to understand all human achievements, whether mental or physical, intellectual or emotional. History is that element which connects us to our fellow human beings and to our collective past. English skills provide us with the means to articulate our thoughts in all areas of knowledge. The ability to communicate in a clear and concise manner allows us to make use of the knowledge we have gained. The additional areas of emphasis are intertwined with history and English in real life, and will be fully integrated within the curriculum.
All subjects will be addressed in a setting that allows the free flow of ideas across artificial academic boundaries. Faculty and students will be encouraged to explore the connections between the subject matter in one area with that of another. Ideas discussed in one class will be elaborated upon in others, but from a different perspective.
The curriculum will seek to open doors, not close minds. Within each field of study, students will be given choices for further exploration. Individual research, in areas of interest to the student, will stimulate a greater enthusiasm for the topic and give the student a sense of ownership in the work. Students will be encouraged to challenge old notions and seek out new explanations.
The lines between home, school, and community will be blurred as students spend time outside of class, and off campus, working on projects related to their education. Students may participate in seminars, labs and independent research on campus. They may work on projects at home and take field trips with relatives to museums, historical sites, zoos, aquariums, research facilities and commercial establishments. They may assist local charities and non-profit organizations and participate in internship programs with local businesses. Students may also take classes at local community colleges to supplement their high school curriculum. They will learn that the entire world around them is a classroom, and that learning is not limited to the time spent at school.
The Board of Directors of Sun Valley Charter School (ABoard@) will adopt academic standards consistent with the California State Content and Performance Standards. Standards for subjects outside these core areas will be developed by the faculty and approved by the Board of the Charter School. Students wishing to enroll in a public university in California will have the opportunity to pursue a course of study at Sun Valley Charter School which meets the "A-G Requirements." In addition to attaining specific content area and grade/skill-level standards, students will also demonstrate their overall progress toward graduation readiness through a series of "benchmark" performances at various points throughout their experience at the School. These benchmark and classroom-level skills will be developed prior to the School commencing instructional operations.
Basic Structure: Sun Valley Charter School (ASchool@) will provide year-round educational programs for students, in grades nine through adult, at multiple locations throughout Ramona. Each student will receive a personal education plan that can include, but is not limited to, classroom instruction, group work, independent research, supervised study, tutoring, seminars, labs, Internet instruction, service activities, internships, off-site instruction, and community college interface.
Mentors and Home Teams: Upon admission to the School, each student will be assigned a faculty mentor who will work with that student until graduation, providing academic and career guidance, research assistance, and moral support. Faculty members will mentor no more than thirty students, and will have a balance of students from each grade level. The faculty mentor and his/her students will meet as a group, each morning, before classes. These groups, or home teams, will promote interaction between students across grade levels, provide peer support, and encourage involvement and acceptance.
Modular Scheduling: The School will operate with modular scheduling and may incorporate a variety of learning activities. Large blocks will be used to enhance the learning environment and limit disruptions. Regular classes may meet only once during the week and will be augmented with seminars, labs, and/or independent research. Mathematics will be taught in a lab setting where students can advance at their own pace. In addition to the math lab, the School will have writing, research, and multi-media labs.
Read Aloud Theater: The School may sponsor a Read Aloud Theater@ that will operate every day. Faculty members, selected students, and parents will read novels or plays to the students for one half hour following lunch. The novel or play will be selected by the reader and approved by the Board. Students will listen to the book or play they find most interesting. No notes will be taken, and no tests will be given. Students will listen for pleasure only. This activity will stimulate imagination, increase vocabulary, and help students develop a love for books.
Technology: Classrooms and labs will employ the latest computer, audio-visual, and other technologies, compatible with those used in modern industries and businesses. Students will be trained to use this technology for instruction, research, and communication. Textbooks, historical documents, photographs, etc. will be disseminated to students via electronic media whenever possible. Attendance and other administrative functions will be processed electronically in the most efficient manner.
Certifications/Licenses: Students will be given the opportunity to qualify for certifications and licenses in many areas, including, but not limited to: Computer certification (i.e., Microsoft, Novell, etc.), first aid/CPR, amateur radio, etc.
Home Day: Each student, if chosen as part of their personal educational plan, may spend one day per week at home, working with a parent, guardian, or other appointed family member or close family friend. The Charter School will develop strict standards for a structure of Home Day. Home Day will be used to: work on personal projects, take field trips, explore family history, and develop adult interpersonal skills. Work will be entered into a log and counted as educational time by a credentialed teacher and consistent with independent study laws, rules and guidelines.
Campus Service: Students may, if chosen as part of their personal educational plan, participate in service activities on campus as a part of their course of study. In their first year, they may work with a professional to provide the necessary janitorial services on campus. In their second year, they may work with a professional to provide campus maintenance and landscape services. In their third year, they may work with a professional to provide campus food services. In each of these areas, they will learn practical life skills.
Community Service: Older students may participate in community service activities off campus. Students may be placed with charitable and non-profit organizations in the Ramona area to provide one day of service per week. This will help build a sense of community and start students on the path of lifelong service. This service may replace Home Day.
Internships: Those students who have chosen the practical skills path may be placed in internships with businesses or trade unions within their field of interest. They may work one or more days per week, at a business or in a trade, learning real world applications for their skills.
Community College Interface: Students may take a portion of their courses at local community colleges. They will be allowed to earn dual credit for the courses taken.
Distance Learning Program: In addition to the Campus Learning Program outlined above, Sun Valley Charter School will offer a Distance Learning Program (ADLP@) to allow students to take courses at home consistent with all independent study laws, rules and guidelines. The Distance Learning Program will be a year-round program. It is anticipated that many students in the Distance Learning Program will graduate in less than four years. DLP students will be enrolled at Sun Valley Charter School, and will be expected to meet or exceed the academic standards established for the Campus Learning Program. It is anticipated that some students will learn best in a home environment, under the tutelage of a parent or guardian. In those cases when a parent or guardian opts to teach their child(ren) at home, the School will provide them with all the course materials, including curriculum outlines, lesson plans, remote access to electronic resources, and monitoring and testing services. Mid-term and final examinations will be administered on campus. Community service opportunities will be available to DLP students, but internships will not. For those DLP students who are college bound, the required lab classes may be taken at the School.
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