BiWeekly Newsletter #9!

Visit the complete newsletter HERE or read the big news below because this one is a biggie…

Three Rivers School District Updates
One Step Back

New Beginnings by Kaya Whittlinger

Three Rivers School Board voted May 18 to deny our application, based on the recommendation of a consultant hired by the Oregon School Boards Association.

The consultant was satisfied with our curriculum, philosophy, student discipline plan, academic calendar, bell schedule, seat hours, and more. Their concerns were primarily financial.

This means that KCA cannot open the 2022-2023 school year.

We were informed on May 11 and had some time to process our emotions before the school board meeting. Melissa and Kaci spoke during the public comment period to ensure the board knows that we respect the process and their decision, yet we disputed some of the findings. You can read our public comment HERE.

Is that the end?

No, nope, not at all, no way!

The next step is to resubmit. We won’t need to resubmit the entire proposal, only the sections that either “failed” or “nearly met” the requirements. The consultant’s evaluation is HERE.

After re-submitting this midsummer, the school board will have 30 days to cast another vote. If they deny us again, we can appeal to the State Board of Education. The flowchart from start-to-finish is HERE.

We are disappointed, to be sure, especially for students who were ready to enroll this August. But we have to look for the silver lining in postponing opening day to August 2023:

– We will have more time to prepare KCA’s location. 

– We can consider allowing grades 9, 10, and 11 in the first year, as we will be more-than-prepared to handle three grades in year 1.

– There will be more time to revise the budget, procure grants, further develop curriculum, refine safety management systems, strengthen our 504/IEP plans, receive Intent to Enroll submissions, solidify more collaborations with community organizations, and overall prove that KCA is supported by our community and ready to open in 2023.

KCA Student News
One Step Forward

Untitled by Airabella Ferdon

The Opening Party for The Kalmiopsis Collection was purely awesome! Eight young artists’ work is on display through July 5, 2022 at The Guild Gallery & Art Center (24353 Redwood Highway in Kerby).

All the artwork in this newsletter was made by The Kalmiopsis Collection artists.

This was our first collaboration with The Southern Oregon Guild of Artists and Artisans, and it was so fun that we want to do it again! Read more details about The Kalmiopsis Collection HERE.

BiWeekly Newsletter #8!

Visit the complete newsletter HERE and read below for a sneak peek…

Three Rivers School District Updates

We Are Waiting, Waiting…

8 years since this idea began.
4 years since we asked the community if they supported a charter high school in the Illinois Valley.
2 years since the five Teacher Leaders began co-creating a proposal for KCA.
4 1/2 months since we submitted the proposal to the Three Rivers School District (TRSD) school board.
3 months since the school board determined that our proposal was complete.
1 month since the Kalmiopsis Community Arts High School public hearing.
 7 days until the school board decides whether to accept the proposal. If yes, we plan to open this August! If no, we will have 30 days to submit a revised proposal, and try again.
1 second since we last crossed our fingers that they will say yes. We are so ready to begin.

TRSD Board Meeting
(the decisive one!!)
May 18 @6pm

District Office
8550 New Hope Rd, Grants Pass

The TRSD school board meeting 2021-2022 calendar is HERE.

Read the rest of the newsletter HERE!

BiWeekly Newsletter #7!

Visit the complete newsletter HERE and read below for a sneak peek…

Fun and Miscellany
“Pi Day in July”

With so much serious stuff to do until opening day (board meetings! public hearings!), we don’t want to lose sight of what’s really important: the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.

So we present…

Pi Day! In July!

Imagine this…

– a “Pi K,” where people run for 3.14159 kilometers all around Cave Junction while carrying a pie
– an after party at Jubilee Park with live music, perhaps even a “Pi-themed” rock song
– a “Square Root Beer” tent for drinks to cool us down
– a “Pi Recitation Contest” to see who can memorize the most digits of Pi!
– maybe an “Irrational Speech” and/or “Irrational Slam Poetry” contest?
– maybe a pie baking and/or pie eating contest?

To sum it up,
Save the date!

Sunday 7/17: Two prime numbers adding up to one very special Pi Day in July.

Read the rest of the newsletter HERE!

BiWeekly Newsletter #6!

Visit the complete newsletter HERE in English [o leer en español]

Or read below for a sneak peek…

Charter School Conversations
Do Charter Schools Take Money Away From Other Public Schools?

Image source:

The short answer is no. But it’s more complex than that.

Charter schools receive funding from the state just like any other public school; they don’t directly deprive other local schools of funding. Yet, if students from another local school transfer into the charter school—and the other local school can’t fill those seats with new students, causing a decrease in enrollment—then, yes, the charter school has indirectly pulled money from the other local school.

We have been concerned about this since the beginning, as the creation of KCA is intended to complement Illinois Valley High School, not cause IVHS any financial injury. Two co-creators of KCA are IVHS alumni, and the eldest son of another two co-creators attends IVHS (and is thriving). The administration of Three Rivers School District has indicated that, should KCA be approved, there will most likely be an “enrollment cap” on the number of students who can transfer from IVHS to KCA. We would support this requirement in the spirit of building a positive, cooperative relationship with IVHS.  

Read the rest of the newsletter HERE!

BiWeekly Newsletter #5!

Visit the complete newsletter HERE in English [o leer en español]

Or read below for a sneak peek…

A kid-created draft logo for KCA

A Piece of the Proposal:

Enrollment Projections

 This week, we want to share the enrollment piece of the proposal! 

Here’s the whole plan straight out of the proposal:

Year 1 is a “soft start,” serving grades 9 and 10, giving the founders of KCA time to establish sustainable programs and grow our staff. In year two, we anticipate the majority of students who were in grades 9 and 10 will return to complete the next grade level, and we will also accept a third class of incoming 9th graders. By year 3, KCA will serve all four grades 9-12 and begin graduating students, having had adequate time to prepare for the responsibility of ensuring students can meet requirements for graduation.

The enrollment growth plan aligns with our commitment to an ideal class size of 15 students, with a maximum enrollment of 20 students in each grade. A smaller school provides students with frequent one-on-one mentoring with their advisor, place-based learning excursions, and democratic schoolwide meetings. KCA will aim for a staff-to-student ratio of 1 to 15. The size of available facilities may limit the growth plan listed above; however, even with ample space, KCA will limit capacity to a maximum of 80 students.

Here’s what it means for families (if we are approved this year, opening doors this August):

If your child (or you, the future student) is currently in 8th grade or 9th grade, they will be eligible to enroll in KCA as a Freshman or Sophomore in Year 1! By next summer, we’ll be opening enrollment for the next year of Freshmen, who are currently in 7th grade. And so on, and so forth! After Year 1, there will be a handful of openings in 10th-12th grades as the years go on, though we expect many students will continue to graduate at KCA. 

Please submit an Interest Form (click here) if you have a child in elementary, middle or high school who is considering enrolling in KCA! The form is mutually non-binding, and really helps us gauge interest and anticipate enrollment. 

Read the rest of the newsletter HERE!

BiWeekly Newsletter #4!

Visit the complete newsletter HERE in English [o leer en español]

Or read below for a sneak peek…

Three Rivers School District Updates

The School Board said…

Kerby School
image source: Three Rivers School District

…our proposal is complete! This means we can move to our next step: a public hearing on April 6 at Illinois Valley High School, 6pm.

To watch the February 16 school board meeting, click HERE and scroll to the 01:06:13 time (1 hour, 6 minutes, 13 seconds) to hear our first Public Comment supporter—thank you, Patricia Downing!—and 01:40:35 to hear the board approve our proposal completion.

Read the rest of the newsletter HERE!

BiWeekly Newsletter #3!

Visit the complete newsletter HERE or read below for a sneak peek…

Charter School Conversations
¿ Excluding Español?

It’s time to discuss a charter school controversy: Despite being public schools that are, technically, “open to all,” some charter schools have received criticism for finding loopholes in the law to exclude students with poor academic records, special needs, or language barriers. Sometimes they exclude students intentionally, yet often the exclusion is unintended and somewhat subconscious.

Earlier this week, we realized that our newsletters, Facebook posts, and other media have been written only in English. This is concerning on two levels: first, that we weren’t creating bilingual communications. Second, that we didn’t stop to realize this oversight until now!

Our newsletters will be bilingual in English and Spanish beginning with our next newsletter. We’d like to translate our words into other languages as well, but at this time don’t have access to translators who can speak Chinese or Vietnamese (the 3rd and 4th most spoken languages in Oregon). If you know someone with Chinese or Vietnamese translation skills, please contact us!

Read the rest of the newsletter HERE!

BiWeekly Newsletter #2!

Visit the complete newsletter here or read below for a sneak preview…

A Piece of the Proposal
Bell Schedule

The Bell Schedule, at a glance, shows what time the bell will ring and spur students and staff to bustle onto new activities each day, but it also gives a look at how “a day in the life” will feel for students. As shown in the 2022-23 Calendar, the school year is divided into two semesters and three intensive sessions. Throughout all of those changes in classes and content, the daily rhythm will stay the same.

While checking out our proposed Bell Schedule, here are some things to notice:

  • Late Arrival, Early Dismissal: School days will begin later in the morning than a typical high school, with first period beginning at 9am, and school days will end early as well, with a 2:30pm dismissal.
  • Two Meals A Day: Nutritious, organic and local, when possible. Meals will be served for breakfast and lunch.
  • Block Scheduling: Eight 90-minute class periods each week will take place over the course of Monday-Friday, with Monday/Wednesday “A days” holding class periods 1, 2 and 3, Tuesday/Thursday “B days” holding class periods 4, 5 and 6, and Friday “C days” holding class periods 7a, 7b and 8. 
  • Movement, Rest and Social Times: There will be ample time each day for nutrition, exercise, socializing and rest with a 40-minute morning breakfast window, a 20-minute morning tea break, and a 40-minute lunch break all holding space between each class period. It is also our hope that, eventually, school can be open to students before and after normal school hours.  
  • Things May Change: This Bell Schedule is our dream. The reality may look differently dependent on other related factors such as transportation, KCA’s location and other local schools’ schedules. We’ll loop back around to share an updated Bell Schedule and 2022-23 Calendar closer to opening day as everything continues to unfold and reveal itself! 

To view and download the complete files, which includes a sample student schedule, click the Bell Schedule above or click for the Bell Schedule and Sample Student Schedule. “

Read the rest of the newsletter here!

BiWeekly Newsletter #1!

Visit the complete newsletter here or read below for a sneak preview…

Newsletters will include a mix and match from the following:

  • Three Rivers School District Updates – The TRSD school board has our fate in their hands! Learn the latest news regarding our charter proposal.
  • Action Steps – What can you do to help KCA reach opening day?
  • KCA Student News – Hey young people! We’re not waiting until opening day before reaching out to you, too!
  • A Piece of the Proposal – Our proposal is long (171 pages!), so we’ll pick a piece of the proposal to unpack, focusing on things that make KCA unique.
  • Humanizing the Standards – Let’s be real, “the standards” causes quite the reaction from many people. We’ll pick an Oregon educational standard and show ways our classes will integrate the standard with creativity, youth autonomy, and a community arts focus.
  • Charter School Conversations – What is a charter school? We’ll address a question or two about the definition, composition, history and controversies of the charter school movement in the United States.
  • Fun and Miscellany – Who doesn’t need a little fun and/or miscellany in their day?

Three Rivers School District Updates

KCA Proposal Submitted! On December 10, 2021 a 171-page proposal was submitted to Superintendent Dave Valenzuela and members of the Three Rivers School District board.

Proposal Timeline:

  • January board meeting 1/19 – public comments are welcome!
  • February board meeting 2/16 – the board decides whether the proposal is complete
  • Public hearing 4/6 – the BIG day to come out and show your support
  • May board meeting 5/18 – the board decides whether to approve or deny our charter

For a neat-o flow chart of the charter approval process, click here.

Read the rest of the newsletter here!

Big Announcement!

We submitted our proposal to the school district today! It’s a BIG day! 49 pages of narrative + 122 pages of attachments = 171 total pages (wowza). It’s been reviewed by 22 community parents, educators, and community leaders. This effort began in 2014 and culminated today!The school district has 30 business days to review the proposal and determine whether it’s complete, which brings us to the middle/end of January. We might be invited to speak at the January school district meeting (Wednesday, January 19 @ the District Offices) and/or the February meeting (Wednesday, February 16 at Illinois Valley High School). We will need supporters to submit public comments! More details to come.