Principal's Newsletter

September 2015

While the Rough Fire has impacted Hume Lake Charter School in a significant and disruptive way, the school and its staff and students continue moving forward. Below is some general information about the school and its program, although some of the information provided has been interrupted because of the fire, which has resulted in a mandated evacuation order for the residents of Hume. For current date information regarding the fire and its impact upon Hume Lake Charter School, please contact me at mstockdale@humelakecharter.org

The 2015-2016 school year brings with it a few changes to Hume Lake Charter School. For one, the school is a bit larger, as enrollment is climbing a little every year. The school now has over 70 students in grades K-12, and 20% of those students live "outside" the camp and staff housing, a trend the school has noticed developing over the past few years. 

To meet requirements in total instructional minutes and days for the 2015-2016 school year, HLCS has ensured instructional minutes that provide a margin of safety. Our week now looks like this:

08:00 - 12:00        [all grades]; (Kindergarten is released daily at this time)
12:00 - 12:55        [Lunch]
12:55 - 1:50         PE/Fitness [M-F for grades 7-11, T/Th for grades 1-6]
12:55 - 2:45         [afternoon classes for grades 1-2, M/W/F; M-F for grades 7-8]
12:55 - 3:00         [afternoon classes for grades 3-6, M/W/F]
12:55 - 3:40         [afternoon classes for grades 9-12, M-F]

Parent/Teacher conference days are in the fall only, in October, and only apply to grades K-6; all other conferences between parents and teachers will be by individual appointment and scheduled outside the school day. The number of Minimum Days has been reduced to 12 for 2015-2016: the first Wednesday of each month is a Minimum Day in order to allow school staff to participate in professional development activities and staff meetings, plus, in December, there are Minimum Days that are "last-day-of-the-semester/term" days. End of semester/term finals for grades 7-12 are full days of school.

Back-To-School Night is on Wednesday, September 9.

School discipline has never been a serious issue at Hume Lake Charter School, but a few incidents in the past created a discussion that resulted in the following steps as a normal pattern to follow if unacceptable behavior continues to be a problem with any individual student.

1st Offense: One-on-one discussion with the student by a school employee (teacher, counselor, administrator, etc.);
2nd Offense: Suspension (one to three days);
3rd Offense: Suspension (three to five days);
4th Offense: Removal or expulsion from HLCS.

While it is not likely that these steps will need to be taken in their entirety, it is necessary to have a policy or practice in place. 

The Common Core curricula and standards were to be implemented fully by public schools in California last year, so Hume Lake Charter School builds its lessons around those standards. However, it is important to know that HLCS has been and remains committed to using the best practices in teaching and learning, regardless of the "approved" curricula, and the methods our teachers are using to cover knowledge areas, to integrate skills and understanding, and to assess students are-- in a word-- excellent. As in the past, it is expected our students will learn well, be capable of demonstrating what they learn, and are aimed ahead into their future, ready to use then and now what they are learning today.

Finally, there is a popular saying from a few years ago that applies to Hume Lake Charter School: "It takes a village to raise a child." Our village is composed of school board members, school employees, parents, and-- of course-- our students themselves. But the village analogy extends even further: HLCS works closely with the Fresno County Office of Education, the California Charter School Association, two universities that supply us supplementary online coursework for our high school students, a company that provides excellent student services online, another company that provide back office services, insurance groups, professional development providers, a large number of individuals who donate their assistance to make school come alive for our students, and-- very close to home-- Hume Lake Christian Camps, which provides the school and its staff and students more than can be listed here. The result is that our children at Hume Lake Charter School are provided a great deal of materials and resources and individual attention to help them maximize their time and effort at school and home to learn. 

Mike Stockdale



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