News & Notes - November 9, 2018
What's Happening at The Academies?   

Nov 5-16 -- Can Hunger Food Link Fundraiser

Nov 12 -- Sweatshirt Orders Due

Nov 12 -- Holiday *NO SCHOOL*

Nov 19-23 --  Fall Break *NO SCHOOL*

Dec 4 --  SVA Spelling Bee

Dec 13 -- SVA High School Night


A Message from Principal Stinson

Greetings Academies Family,

One of the unique features of Blue Oak and Sycamore Valley is that we value the social and emotional development of children; we believe in developing the whole child. If you were to visit many of our classrooms in the morning, you might have the opportunity to observe students sharing in a circle. The power of the circle is that all children have a voice to be heard as well as learn to listen to others. I found a great article to share with you which demonstrates how you can try this same powerful strategy at home. Please read the excerpt I have shared below and think about trying this strategy in your own family. I challenge you to try it at least once before Christmas (Can you believe the holidays are upon us already?). One small action like this has the potential to create immediate, positive changes. Try it and let me know how it goes!

Dana Stinson
Blue Oak Academy Principal

Circles Can Change Communication in Your Family
Have you ever had a miscommunication between family members that evolved into a yelling match? Or said something that another family member was hurt by? Or walked away from a family conversation with tears in your eyes because you didn't feel heard?

Families are dynamic, ever-changing, and encompass wide range of perspectives and preferences. Restorative Practices, a co-created system for family-community-building and conflict management, can be powerful, healing tools for families.

"The fundamental unifying hypothesis of restorative practices is disarmingly simple: that human beings are happier, more cooperative and productive, and more likely to make positive changes in their behavior when those in positions of authority do things with them, rather than to them or for them." - International Institute for Restorative Practices.

Core Elements + Philosophy of the Circle
Circle - A circle quite literally promotes connectedness, as there is no end and no beginning. Children and teens are most often seated while adult or authority figures (at home, school, or in the community) is standing, asserting authority. Thus, sitting at the same level, represents that all family members are worthy of the same respect and have the same opportunity to express themselves.

Talking Piece- One object (that can be handled safely and easily) is designated as the talking piece for each circle. This object indicates that only one person will talk at a time, and, equally importantly, everyone else will actively listen. Everyone in the circle has the right to pass, but the talking piece will always travel the circle in order.

Rounds- This is the name of one pass around the circle. Family building circles are often pre-planned and centered on one topic; in this case, all "rounds" will be centered on the topic.

Values- Values allow each family member to identify what they hold dear, what they need, and what is important to them in order to feel safe.

Facilitator- While all members of the family will be participants in the circle, one member may be the facilitator of a particular circle.

Circles are wonderful invitations to have candid, authentic conversations with your family. If your family is struggling with conflict, circles can be a nice way to have contained conversation. I recommend circles to all families of school-aged children.    (Click here for the full article by Courtney Harris.)

SVA Receives $1000 Dewey Award!

One of SVA's faculty submitted an essay in honor of the founding and continuing leadership of SVA, highlighting Ruth Dutton's original intention and Mr. Benton's tireless efforts to make a school that is " a place to be free, to be loved, to be valued, to be strong, to be educated," and where no "square peg has to change themselves to fit in."   The essay told the story of  the heart and love that went into SVA's founding and that lives on in its leadership still today. Selected as one of four winners of over 100 entries, SVA's story shone as an example of how passionate and educators make a lasting impact on lives. 

We are grateful for the love that went into the essay submission, the opportunity to share SVA's story with the broader charter school community, and for the $1000 prize awarded to SVA by Charter School Capital! 

The 2018 Richard Dewey Award was established to share stories of teachers making positive impact in the lives of students, in honor the teacher who impacted the life of Charter School Capital CEO and Co-Founder Stuart Ellis. Read about the award and the 2018 winning essays  here
SVA Partners with Food Link

SVA has joined forces with Food Link to fight hunger in Tulare County this holiday season. Flyers and donation envelopes went home this week. Please send your cash donation to school by Friday, November 16. Donations will be used to purchase cans for our student-built trees. Trees will be built at the Tulare Outlets December 7-9. 


This week's episode includes a Zack and Jack interview with SVA's resident Drama Queen. Kaleb has the weather and Sela has the puns. 

KSVA TV Season 4 Episode 3

SVA Theater

If you missed last week's One Acts, you can catch them all on the SVA Theater YouTube channel

Expanding Your Horizons

Last Saturday, SVA students had a blast at  Expanding   Your   Horizons . This annual conference focuses on science, mathematics, engineering, and technology for girls grades 4-10. The girls learned about a variety of STEM related topics through hands on experiences, including extracting DNA and coding! 

Read for Life

Did you know that there are children in our community who have no books at home? 

SVA's 5th & 6th grade team is partnering with  Read  for  Life  of Tulare County to help solve this problem.  

Bring your new or gently used books to SVA and place them in the blue " Read  for  Life " tub located by the PTO mailbox and office. 

Read  for  Life  accepts all books geared toward the 0-7 age range. Their volunteers distribute thousands of books every year to children, families, and facilities around Tulare County.  Read  for  Life  is dedicated to breaking the cycle of illiteracy. 

For more information visit

Hey, Blue Oak families! Keep an eye out for BOA's 1st & 2nd grade Read for Life book drive coming next month! 

SVA High School Night 

On Thursday, December 13 from 6:00-7:30PM, SVA will host a high school night for 8th graders and their families (7th graders welcome, too!).  Please come to speak with representatives of many of our local high school options including: VUSD Linked Learning, UPHS, VTEC, La Sierra, VCIS, ERCLC, and VUSD neighborhood schools.  

Since our graduates transition to many different schools, families are entirely responsible for applying, registering, and orienting students to their intended high school.   The teaching team and administration will help however we can if asked, but families must take the lead.  Come this evening to explore the local high school options or to make contact with representatives from your child's school of choice.

See you there! 

Shop and earn money for your school! 

So far, we've raised over $200 for our schools from just a handful of orders! Please check out Primary and help support our schools!  Use the links below to shop online. 

Operation Chromebook

The 5th & 6th Grade teaching team has been hard at work pounding the pavement to raise money for the purchase of Chromebooks for their students. So far, they are over halfway to their goal of $23,000! 

A HUGE thank you goes out to the donors who have already put a whole class set of Chromebooks into the hands of our kids: 

Ruiz 4 Kids (Ruiz Foods)
Erin Andersen
Toby Maitland-Lewis
Harold Rollin
Ruth Dutton
Jaime Baeza

Operation Chromebook will be up and running until the goal of acquiring two full class sets is met. If you would like to contribute to this cause, please contact Claudia Van Groningen or Erika Chan

Our schools offer a convenient option for student breakfast and lunch. Meals are provided by through contract with Visalia Unified School District's Nutritional Services Division and are delivered daily to our cafeterias.

Breakfast - $ 1.25 per day    Lunch - $2.00 per day   Milk - $0.35 per carton

You can pay for lunches at school with cash or check,  or pay  online with the  service . An app is available so you can easily use this service on your smartphone. If you have not already done so, you will need  to register, create an account and  provide an ID number for each student .  Contact the front office of your school to obtain your child's student ID number.
Next SVA PTO Meeting
Next BOA PTO Meeting

Monday, December 10 Tuesday, November 13
6:00PM 6:00PM
Round Table Pizza Round Table Pizza
Packwood Creek Center Mary's Vineyard Center
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.  

Spanish translation available at meetings. 
¡Estamos muy contentos de compartir que ofrecemos traducción en español en nuestras reuniones!  ¡Hay que trabajar juntos!

Family Support

Why Read 20 Minutes a Day?

Did you know that reading helps build student success? We're sure that you know this, but here is some more evidence to show that reading really does have a significant impact on a child's foundation in learning.

Let's break it down...

A child who reads 20 minutes per night reads 3,600 minutes per school year and is exposed to 1,800,000 words. Wow!

Initially, kids can't read for 20 minutes on their own, but early readers benefit from reading with a parent. The child can read a short book, then listen to a read-aloud or picture book with a parent. The blossoming reader can hear a fluent reader and build vocabulary.

Teachers in our 1st & 2nd grades are noticing greater academic growth in students who consistently read or are read to at home each night compared to those who do not. This is reason enough to make reading a regular part of your child's day.

("The Case for Reading 20 Minutes a Day." Fairhill School and Diagnostic Assessment Center , 27 June 2016)

Click the image to discover 20 books that make kids kinder! 
Community Events

The Nutcracker 

Several SVA students will be appearing in the Theater Arts Alliance production of The Nutcracker. 

November 24 @ 2:00PM and 7:00PM

$22.50 for adults
$17.00 for Seniors (65+)
$12.50 for students. 
Know of a community event you'd like to share? Email information and images to Claudia Van Groningen
The Academies CMO| 559.622-3236 |