Wednesday, March 12, 2008

the sum is greater than the individual parts

What's so great about SLO Classical Academy?

Its true that SLO Classical Academy strives to provide an excellent and engaging education for its students through its unique hybrid partnership with parents. But the benefits of SLO Classical Academy extend way, way beyond a book education.

SLO Classical Academy is a community where the sum is greater than the individual parts.

It includes a homeschooling component, but also offers a rich, interactive classroom environment. We can do and are doing more together than we could ever possibly do alone and apart. . . . field trips, academy classes, math celebrations, history days, enrichment opportunities and so much more. This year we've laughed together and cried together and worked together and struggled together . . . and these are signs of authentic community. It's far from perfect, but it's real.

Families considering enrollment at SLO Classical Academy must consider this dimension as they weight the potential costs and benefits.

Do you really want to do this educational journey alone? At SLO Classical Academy, you don't have to . . .

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Flickr Pic of the Week, 03.11.08

Here's a great pic of the some of the kindergarten students planting seeds in our great new planter boxes.

Lots more new and fun pics here. . .

What's up with that judge?

Lots of questions about that judge's ruling las week requiring all homeschooling parents to have teaching credentials. Below is an email that was sent out to our SLO Classical Academy families . . .

As many of you are aware, there was a court ruling in L.A. last week that appears to be anti-homeschooling. We have spent some time checking out various resources and seeking some expert opinions, and at this point, there is no indication that the ruling will have any direct or immediate affect on SLO Classical Academy. In addition, home schoolers have been encouraged to continue home schooling as usual, with experts stating that there has been much misrepresentation about the case and its effects and that there is a long way to go before home schooling would actually be considered illegal.

If you would like more information, please see the following sites:


There are also many emails circulating asking you to sign a petition to reverse the ruling. We will leave this up to each family who might have been sent the email, but there are differing opinions on whether or not this will actually be helpful in protecting home schoolers - some lawyers believe that it would be most prudent to wait to see where this goes before calling attention to the case.

We just wanted to let you know that we are aware of the ruling, the many different reactions to the ruling, and will continue to be watchful as things unfold and keep you posted if and when more information becomes available through reputable sources.

And here's a front page article that appeared in today's San Luis Obispo Tribune about this judge's ruling. It also references SLO Classical Academy . . .

Local home schools wonder about ruling that will require parents to have teaching credentials

by Leah Etling

San Luis Obispo County’s top education official says it will be up to the state to determine how to implement a new court ruling that parents who teach their children at home must be credentialed teachers.

That controversial decision issued last month about home schooling has prompted questions from local educators and parents who home school, but many of the answers aren’t yet available.

The court ruled that parents who home school must be credentialed themselves or hire credentialed tutors.

About 800 students are being taught at home through arrangements with the county’s public schools, according to county schools Superintendent Julian Crocker.

Judy Harris, program coordinator of the San Luis Obispo Family Partnership Charter School, said her public program has been fielding many inquiries from parents concerned about the ruling.

“People are scared and they’re wondering how, even if they’re under a public umbrella, does it still affect them. Will they be forced into a classroom?” Harris said.

Parents from the charter school, which employs 10 credentialed teachers for 135 students in grades kindergarten through 12, are circulating a petition against the ruling, she said.

Families using programs with credentialed teachers who see students a few days each week and supervise their overall progress are probably less likely to be affected by the judge’s decision, educators say.

But an unknown number of home-schooling families, considered “off the grid” by the county because they use alternative programs or develop their own curriculum, could be most affected.

Under state law, unless those families have filed affidavits declaring themselves a private school, their children are considered truant, Crocker said.

The ruling, by Justice H. Walter Croskey of the state’s 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles, states that parents who don’t ensure their kids are taught by credentialed teachers can be criminally prosecuted.

Croskey wrote that under the state’s Education Code, “parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children.”

His ruling resulted from a lawsuit by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, which asked a juvenile court to force parents accused in an abuse case to send their home-schooled children to a public or private school.

The Pacific Justice Institute — a Sacramento-based law firm that advocates for parental rights — has agreed to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.

Crocker expects that the state will act quickly to interpret the ruling. As a published decision, the appeals court ruling sets a legal precedent throughout California.

He said it might ultimately be interpreted as requiring students to spend a certain percentage of time with a credentialed teacher each week, while still being allowed to do some studies with parental supervision at home.

The state Department of Education’s lawyers are analyzing the judge’s decision.Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has spoken out against it, calling it “outrageous.”

At the San Luis Obispo Classical Academy, which includes two days of classroom instruction per week with students who are home-schooled the rest of the time, dean of teachers April Kemp said parents have been concerned about the ruling.

But Kemp said the decision would not affect the private school, which has fewer than 150 students in grades kindergarten through 8.

Many of the school’s students were home-schooled before joining the three-year-old academy program, Kemp said.

She said the ruling highlights negative perceptions that some people have about teaching children at home.

“From my experience, most of the home-schoolers and certainly the home-schoolers that are part of the Classical Academy are parents extremely dedicated to making sure their children receive an excellent education,” Kemp said.

She expects that the ruling might encourage more parents to look into “hybrid” programs such as hers for their children.