News & Notes April 20, 2018
What's Happening at The Academies? 

April 27 -- BOA PTO Night @ Rawhide Game

May 12 -- SVA PTO Spring Fundraiser

May 16 --  Blue Oak Open House

May 16 -- SVA Spring Concert

May 23 --  Sycamore Valley Open House

May 26 -- SVA Theater Presents Aladdin

June 6 -- 8th Grade Graduation
It's state testing it or not.

Happy Friday SVA Family!

Allan Here at the VP desk. I'd like to take a moment today to talk about these last few weeks of school headed our way (I can't believe we are this close to the end!!!!), and more specifically about the state testing that will occur during that time.
Starting next week, our 3rd-8th graders will be taking the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). I would like to give you a little perspective on the way that we view this assessment, and the ways that you can help us to prepare your student to do their best.

We believe in looking at multiple measures when assessing student growth. We also believe in seeking growth for each individual at a rate that is right for them, not meeting arbitrary targets that are set externally. We look at portfolios and student self-assessment. We look at teacher observations and notes, student work samples, projects that represent research and information gathering. We administer our own computer adaptive tests in spring and fall (Measures of Academic Progress aka MAP test). We also consider social and emotional growth and use of scholarly habits. Teachers use smaller, often internally created, formative assessments on a regular basis to make adjustments to the instruction for individuals and to adjust learning groups in ways that will maximize opportunity for all students. We believe in using assessment to help us make informed decisions that affect student learning outcomes.The state test is just one of many measures that we use to judge student growth and achievement.

The state test takes a "snapshot" of a student's ability in English Language Arts and Mathematics once a year, helps us "take the temperature" of the school. We are able to use this as a way to compare our student's growth and achievement to that of other students all over the state. In fact, it is one of the only ways that we have to compare schools to one another. For this reason, this assessment is important to us as an organization. From the outside-looking-in perspective, this particular measure is widely used and highly valued. It also serves as one of the major points of consideration when our charter is up for renewal.

Here is how you can help:

Let your child know that it is important they do their personal best on the test. That is, of course what is expected, and what we are trying to see. We are always seeking a balance for our scholars between being undermotivated ("this test is lame and I don't see the point") and having anxiety about the test to the point that they aren't able to perform their best. It's a tough balance!! We want to see what they have mastered, as well as where we might need to provide more support.

Tell your child that we need to know how we are doing as a school, and what we need to improve upon as teachers. This message conveys a level of importance, but doesn't put all of the weight on the student.

You might also mention that test scores are a common way that people outside of our school can see just how great our school is compared to other schools. People judge us whether we like it or not and it is good for our whole school community if we do well.

Make sure that your scholar is well rested and well fed on the days when their class is scheduled to test. It's a no-brainer that kids are more focused and ready to give their personal best when their basic needs have been met.

SVA's CAASPP and MAP tests will be administered April 23-June 1. Don't worry, your child will not be testing the whole time!

Thanks for your support!

Much love,

Yearbooks On Sale Now

There is one online store for both school's 

Use this link, and be sure to select which 
yearbook you want to order.

Orders will only be accepted online. The deadline to order is April 29
Tickets on sale now in the Blue Oak office!
Campus Beautification Day @ Blue Oak

Night at the 21st Century Museum

Several groups from Sycamore Valley and Blue Oak participated at this year's Night at the 21st Century Museum Tuesday night at the Visalia Convention Center. This was a great opportunity for our students to show the community the complex work they are doing at The Academies. Thank you to all who participated!
Blue Oak Kindergarten Field Trip to Fresno Chaffee Zoo

SVA Middle School TEDx Talks

SVA Middle School is presenting their version of TEDx Talks at Cafe 210 on Friday, May 25 from 5:30-9:30PM. T hroughout the year, students have been using the disciplines of Anthropology, Epidemiology, and History to examine literal and metaphorical diseases in response to the Driving Question "How Have Humans Intentionally and Unintentionally Influenced the Spread of Disease?".  Their work is culminating in TEDx style presentations which address "diseases" that exist here in Tulare County.

This show is not to be missed, as the Sycamore Valley middle school students never fail to impress their audience.

SVA Theater Presents Aladdin

Saturday, May 26th
Rotary Theater
First show at 12:00PM
Second show at 3:45PM

Tickets are  $5 (children 3 and under are free)

Our story begins centuries ago, when the royalty of Agrabah spoke one language and the citizens another. Communication is impossible without translation... which is controlled by the evil vizier, Jafar. When the rebellious princess, Jazmin, and a delinquent street rat, Aladdin, meet in the marketplace, they find something special in one another. Together, they work to transcend the barriers between them and, with a little magic, help create a better future for themselves and for Agrabah.
Substitute Teachers
The Academies Charters have an experienced and dedicated teaching staff, but we are always looking to expand our sub list. 

Substitute Custodian
The Academies Charters is seeking a backup daytime custodian. F ingerprint clearance is required. 

If you or someone you know has the desire to be a substitute teacher at our amazing school, has a bachelor's degree, has passed the CBEST, and is willing to get a substitute credential and fingerprint clearance we would love to grow our team. 

If you are interested please email Shauna Dolin at

LCAP Survey

It's that time again! Please take a moment to fill out our community survey for LCAP input. LCAP is part of the Local Control Funding Formula, which allows local districts greater autonomy over their state funding allocation within 8 goals determined by the state. 

SVA Parent Survey

BOA Parent Survey

Keep your eye out for our annual Parent Satisfaction Survey coming next month! 

School Breakfast and Lunch 

Did you know that breakfast is available each school morning beginning at  7:45? It is!

You can pay for meals with cash or check (get an envelope in the school office) or online with our payment service You will need to register, create an account and provide an ID number for every student you're including. An app is available so you can easily use this service on your smartphone. If you need to access your student's ID number, please call your school's front office. 

School breakfast will be available at both schools before the school day begins. The cost for breakfast is $1.25.  The cost for lunch is $2.00. Applications for free or reduced price lunch will be sent home with your child on the first day of school. 

Menus are always available on our website.  Click here for the current menu

Summer Programming

TACMO Summer Enrichment Program

We are excited to announce that we will offer an in-house summer enrichment program!*

Who: SVA and BOA students entering grades 1-4 in 2018-19

What: Weekly "camps" with different enrichment subjects

When: 6 weeks of summer June 18th - August 3rd (no class the week of the July 4th holiday)

Where: Blue Oak Academy 

Why:  To provide our community with a safe, accessible learning environment during the summer by offering an enriching summer camp experience with  extended opportunities for students to practice skills, increase  exposure to the arts, e xpand cultural awareness, and experience 21st century skill learning opportunities. 

Much more information is coming soon! 

Registration is first come first served and will open on Friday, April 27 at 10:00AM. An email will go out next week with program details and a signup link. 

*Minimum enrollment must be met to provide this opportunity. Under-enrolled sessions will be cancelled two weeks prior to the session. 

Program Director: Claudia Van Groningen
Camp Invention Returns to SVA

This fun day camp will be back again this summer. Camp Invention will take place July 16-20 at SVA. Registration is open to all students of The Academies as well the public, so bring a friend!

Family Support

Parent Partnering

Please do not allow your child to bring items to school that are not part of the education program, unless specifically asked for by the teacher. This includes toys, games, trinkets, stuffies, jewelry, etc. We encourage you to check your child's backpack for prohibited items. Your support will help ensure that our campus remains a safe, equitable environment for all students. 

Parents are urged to print names on coats, sweaters, gloves, lunch pails, etc. and to check the Lost & Found frequently.  It is the responsibility of the student and/or parent to check for lost items. Unclaimed items will be given to a charitable organization after three weeks.

The school cannot assume responsibility for student losses. However, if such a loss is reported immediately, every effort will be made to help your family recover the lost item.

Award Assemblies  April 27

Next SVA PTO Meeting
Next BOA PTO Meeting
May 14 May 14
Round Table Pizza
Round Table Pizza
Packwood Creek Center
Mary's Vineyard
4035 S. Mooney Blvd.
1691 E. Noble Ave.

If you would like to share any ideas or add an agenda item for discussion at the  PTO  meeting please  email  it to at least one week prior to the meeting. 

NEW: Spanish translation available at meetings
Community Events
Coding Class for Kids 

There is a new computer programming (aka coding) class teaching MIT's SCRATCH program being offered at through Visalia Parks & Recreation Department.  The class is open to children ages 10 and up and will take place on Monday evenings in May at the Manual Hernandez Recreation Center.  The cost to attend is $30. 

Visalia Parks & Rec has some fantastic lego and science classes over the summer that are worth checking out! 
Know of a community event you'd like to share? Email information and images to Claudia Van Groningen
The Academies CMO| 559.622-3236 |