Pivot Charter School North Bay is a public school that is free for students to attend. As a public charter school, the school receives funds for educating students based upon their enrollment in our school, just like funding for traditional public schools.
Charter schools must be authorized by a government authority with educational responsibilities. In California, that could be a school district, a county board of education or the state board of education. The chartering process involves the school submitting a charter petition to an agency who can authorize the charter. The charter outlines the governance, mission, financials and operational plan of the charter school so as to provide the authorizing agency an understanding of how the school will be successful in educating students. When the authorization is being sought with a school district or county board of education, the elected representatives of that entity (such as a school board) will vote on the authorization for the charter school. The charter authorization must then be renewed every few years.
CHANGES TO THE LAW:
Since 1999, the California Department of Education (CDE) has provided statewide guidance and input on the Education Code section that addresses where an independent study or non-classroom based charter school’s resource center(s) / campuses can be located (if you would like copies of memos from CDE regarding this, please feel free to contact the school). Pivot Charter Schools and over 150 other charter schools have been closely following that advice for many years. Recently, some school districts decided to sue charter schools and other school districts whose independent study charter schools had resource centers outside of their own geographic boundaries. While the CDE’s interpretation held at the lower court level; on appeal, the court ruled that a charter school can only operate a resource center within its authorizing district’s boundaries. For more information on the Shasta v Anderson court ruling that is forcing these changes, see http://www.ccsa.org/2017/05/anderson-usd-v-shasta-secondary-home-school-case-overview.html.
Pivot Charter School North Bay is authorized by Oak Grove Union School District. However, the resource center is located within the boundaries of the Santa Rosa City Schools District (SRCS). We will be submitting a new charter school petition to SRCS in the coming months in order to be compliant with the new ruling. To learn more about the District, visit their website at http://www.srcs.k12.ca.us/Pages/Home.aspx
THE CHARTERING PROCESS:
For the 2017-2018 school year, we are still operating under our Oak Grove Union Charter. Pivot will soon submit our charter petition and related documents to SRCS. District staff, and usually legal counsel, review the charter petition. Within about thirty days from submission, the SRCS School Board will hold a public hearing in order to determine the local level of interest in the community for the charter school. After that Board meeting, again, within 30 days or so, the Board will vote to support or oppose a charter for Pivot in the Santa Rosa City Schools District. If a majority of the School Board votes against the charter, then Pivot can appeal the decision to the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE). To learn more about Sonoma County Office of Education visit https://www.scoe.org.
Finally, if the Sonoma County Office of Education denies the charter application, then the school can appeal to the State Board of Education (http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/).
In a worst case scenario, if the charter is denied at all levels then the school will have to stop operating. We are clearly working very hard to ensure that the Santa Rosa resource center has its own charter.
The chartering process can raise lots of questions, and we have assembled this page of information to help answer those questions.
What can I do as a parent or guardian of a student at Pivot Charter school if I have feedback on whether the school should continue operating?
Voices in the community, particularly those of parents and students, are critical to the public hearing process of a charter application process. Even if you or your child is from outside SRCS, it is important that elected leaders and District staff are aware of your sentiments and perspective. The hearing process will allow for parents and students to speak at a public meeting of the SRCS as mentioned above. Speakers will be allowed 3 minutes each to offer comments to the SRCS School Board. You can also submit letters of support to the School Board prior to the hearing. Or, as elected officials, School Board members even take phone calls and emails from constituents. You can also do all of the above. Let your voices be heard!
Why would SRCS approve our charter?
Because we fill a niche in the community that is not currently filled by the traditional schools. Pivot provides educational choice for the students who need it, and we have a good track record with those students. We also have a responsible board of directors who ensures that we operate in a fiscally sound and responsible manner. We have been part of the Santa Rosa community since 2010, and we would like to continue to serve the students in that community.
Why would SRCS deny our charter?
Because charter schools are still controversial. There has been some bad press about charter schools lately, and people are scared of what they don’t understand. We are hopeful that SRCS will see the incredible value of our small, supportive learning environment and don’t see us as a threat. If SRCS does not approve our charter, we will appeal to Sonoma County Office of Education, who has a strong reputation of being open minded, student-centered as well as highly accountable.
Why would SCOE approve our charter?
Because Pivot is a fiscally responsible, well-established, responsibly run charter school. We have been in operation since 2010 and have four resource centers located throughout the state. Our board of directors has widely-varied experience that is pertinent to running an organization in a financially responsible manner (city managers, school superintendents, financial services executives), and our Executive Director has 30+ years of education experience. We serve students who are not served by traditional public schools with great success.
Why would SCOE deny our charter?
If SCOE felt that Pivot was not responsibly run, fiscally sound, or providing a quality education to the students we serve, they could choose to deny our charter.
What exactly is a charter school and how is it different from traditional public schools?
Charter schools are public schools just like your traditional neighborhood school, so they are tuition-free and available to all students. Charter schools offer a choice in education when traditional public school isn’t working. For many kids, the structure of a full classroom with a single teacher is not the best way to learn. Charter schools offer alternatives, whether it be an online curriculum, smaller class size, one-on-one attention and/or an accelerated learning path.
Pivot offers all of those alternatives. Our curriculum is online, which is ideal for students who need to work at their own pace or access classes from different locations. Online lessons enable students who want to accelerate their education or help other students who have fallen behind and need to catch up. In addition, we offer a safe environment at our resource centers, where students can get one-on-one or small group help from our enthusiastic teachers. The onsite flexibility is a great option for kids who don’t feel safe in a traditional public school, either due to bullying or because they just don’t fit in.
Because Pivot is a charter school we are open to all, are tuition-free, and we receive funding for every student who enrolls. As a result, we are committed to providing the best quality education for our students. We hire top-notch, credentialed teachers who care, ensure that our curriculum is thorough and cutting-edge, and provide numerous opportunities for our students. We work hard to educate your children because we are competing for their enrollment. Every child who walks through our door means additional funding for our school, and thus, a better education for every student.
What are our next steps?
We are submitting our charter to SRCS in late August or early September. There will be a 30- day review period following our submittal. After that, the board will meet to discuss the charter. There will then be a public hearing where board members will listen to public comment about Pivot and we have the opportunity to answer any questions about our school.
How can you help?
Obtaining a charter is a public process and as such, public input is important. We welcome attendance at the public hearings so that you can share your opinions about Pivot Charter School. We will regularly post updates to this page and to our Facebook page to let you know when the public hearing is being held. And you can ask questions about the process at any time. You can contact our Executive Director, Jayna Gaskell at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you have.
A Message from the Executive Director
Dear Pivot North Bay families,
Our efforts to secure a charter for our school continue to move forward. Currently, we have two charters under review by authorizers.
The first is the appeal to Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) of our charter that was denied by Santa Rosa City Schools (SRCS). This appeal is the natural next step after denial at the local level, and we are appreciative of the county for reviewing our appeal.
The second charter we currently have under review is with our current authorizer, Oak Grove Union School District (OGUSD). This is a new charter that we have submitted to them that meets all requirements under the current law. OGUSD has indicated that they have an interest in remaining our authorizer, and that they are excited at the prospect of continuing to work with Pivot North Bay.
The public hearing for our charter appeal with SCOE will be on Thursday, April 5th at 5:00 pm. The meeting will be held at the Sonoma County Office of Education, located at 5340 Skylane Blvd. in Santa Rosa. We understand that this meeting is during spring break, however, if your schedule permits, we would appreciate your support at the meeting. SCOE would love to hear from a handful of passionate students and parents who are willing to come speak about their experiences at Pivot and their reasons for choosing an alternative like Pivot. Your attendance shows the board the support and passion of our Pivot families, which is a crucial part of their decision-making.
The public hearing for our charter with OGUSD will be on Wednesday, April 18th at 6:00 pm. The meeting will be held in the board room of Willowside Hall, located at 5299 Hall Road in Santa Rosa. OGUSD has been our charter authorizer for the past 8 years, and your attendance at this meeting is also very helpful in showing the support that our school has from its families.
We will be meeting at the resource center on 4/18 at 5 pm to enjoy pizza and beverages as we rally together before the OGUSD meeting. We will hand out t-shirts, make signs and arrange carpools to the meeting. If you will be attending, please RSVP to Anna Toso by 4/17, so that we make sure we order enough pizza. If you prefer to meet us at OGUSD, please arrive by 5:50 pm.
We truly appreciate your patience and dedication as we take this journey toward a new charter for Pivot North Bay. Your support at these meetings and throughout this process is an important part of our future success. Thank you.
A Message From the Executive Director:
Dear Pivot Bay Families,
The Oak Grove Union School District (OGUSD) has requested an extension on reviewing our charter. We appreciate that the district has a thorough and fair review process established. As a result of their request, the public hearing originally scheduled for March 14th has been postponed.
Please note that you do not need to attend the OGUSD board meeting on March 14th in support of Pivot, as previously communicated. At this time, we anticipate public hearing dates to be April 18th and May 9th, so please reserve those dates if you are interested in attending. We will send additional details when we have more information. Thank you for your continued support and participation in our chartering process.
A Message from the Executive Director:
Dear Pivot North Bay families,
Thank you for your passion about your child’s education and continued support for Pivot Charter School. I want to provide you with a brief update on the progress we are making on our North Bay resource center charter.
After Santa Rosa City Schools (SRCS) denied our charter, we began discussions with Oak Grove Union School District (OGUSD) for authorization of our charter. You may know that OGUSD is the authorizer of our current charter. Because there is no space currently available for a resource center within the borders of the OGUSD, there is an exemption in the law that permits us to remain authorized by OGUSD if we submit a new charter to them. We submitted a new charter to OGUSD this week, and are very excited about the opportunity to remain authorized by them. The public hearing on our charter with OGUSD will be at their next board meeting on March 14th.
OGUSD is interested in the testimony of our students and parents, as well as the enthusiasm of the families who show up for the Board meeting. As such, I urge you plan on attending the meeting on March 14. Your support for Pivot is a crucial element of this charter authorization process.
The meeting will be held at 6:00 pm in the multi-purpose room of the OGUSD office located at 5299 Hall Road in Santa Rosa.
- Meeting Time: If you would prefer to travel as a group, we will meet at 5:00 PM at the Pivot North Bay Resource Center located at 2999 Cleveland Ave., Suite D in Santa Rosa for pizza and then to carpool over to the OGUSD meeting at 5:30. We will have vans/personal cars to take anyone who needs a ride to the meeting. Field trip permission forms will be distributed and will need to be returned for students traveling without their parents. Alternatively, you may meet us at the Board meeting at 6:00 pm. Please be prompt. We will leave the school site at 5:30 pm to head to the meeting. If you plan to meet at the resource center, please RSVP to Jennie Clopton, our Site Administrator at: JClopton@pivotcharter.org or call 1-707-843-4676
- T-Shirts: To show our support, we will hand out Pivot T-shirts to wear to the meeting so the Board sees who we are. If you already have a Pivot T-shirt, please wear it. If you need one and are planning to meet us at OGUSD, please come to the resource center to get your T-shirt in advance. If you are meeting at the resource center before the meeting, we will be handing out T-shirts there.
- Pizza: We will also serve pizza at the school at 5:00. Please RSVP so that we have an accurate count for ordering food.
- Community Service: Since this is so important to our Pivot community, we will also offer students 4 hours toward their community service requirements if they are in high school.
So, please join us for this important meeting and bring everyone you know that supports Pivot! Thank you!!!
A Message from the Executive Director:
Dear Pivot North Bay Families,
Despite the destruction and challenges our community has faced, I hope you found comfort with with family and friends this holiday season. As we head into 2018, I want to update you on our charter efforts for North Bay.
As you will recall, in November last year, the Santa Rosa City School chose not to grant our charter application. Since then, the Board and I have been working aggressively on several concurrent strategies to seek a new charter.
It is important to recall that Pivot still has a legal operating charter through the end of the 2018/2019 school year with the neighboring Oak Grove Union School District. Regardless of what happens over the next few months, Pivot will continue to serve our dedicated families just as we always have. Our new charter efforts have no impact on our current operations for this school year.
We are are also continuing our dialogue with board members and district staff at Santa Rosa City Schools, Oak Grove Union School and the Sonoma County Office of Education. We are reviewing various legal options with those districts regarding our facilities. As many things are still in flux, I can’t provide details on exact plans now. However, please know that our charter is a top a priority for me and for the Pivot Board. All of us at Pivot want to make sure that we have a place to educate your kids effectively. I anticipate having further updates for you at the end of February.
Until then, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me via phone or email. You may also reach out to Jennie Clopton, our Site Administrator. One of the great benefits of Pivot is that you can speak directly with top leadership, so take advantage of that if you have questions.
A Message From Our Executive Director:
Dear Pivot North Bay Families,
Tonight the Santa Rosa City Schools (SRCS) voted against granting a new charter to Pivot North Bay. While this is not a great outcome, it is important to note that it is not the end of the road for our efforts to get a new charter for next school year. Let me explain.
First, nothing about this vote impacts our current school year. We have a valid charter that we are operating under now that will allow us to continue through this academic year. There are no changes or impact to the current school year for our students and families.
Second, the vote by SRCS denied our charter application to the local school district. Their process was flawed and reasons for denial were generally wrong. The next step in our process is to appeal to the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE). Pivot can’t predict the outcome of that effort, but it is the next logical step in our just battle and the Board is 100% in support of our efforts.
Third, the Pivot model and charter is not flawed, despite what you heard from SRCS staff tonight. Just last night the San Marcos Unified School District voted to grant a charter to our San Marcos location with nearly the same language throughout! The vote demonstrates that there are districts and school boards who will truly take the time to understand who we are, how we accomplish what we do and have the capacity – unlike SRCS – to grant a charter.
Fourth, we are working on additional contingency plans for our North Bay family to address next year’s academic year. This is not about a plan A and B. It is a plan A, B, C and D. There is a lot of passion and fight left in us.
Our timeline to appeal the SRCS decision will commence immediately. We will have two meetings to present and speak to make the case for Pivot Charter School North Bay to SCOE. Those will likely be in January and February, and we will let you know the dates as soon as they become available. Yes, Pivot will be calling upon our families to again fight for your right to an education of your choice. But as my family taught me, the best things in life are worth fighting for.
The process of getting a charter is crazy, confusing, frustrating and exciting. It creates a rollercoaster ride for students, parents, teachers and our board. I am sure you have been through various emotions throughout this process, as I certainly have. Yet, I am so immensely proud of each of you. Your passion to show up in a civic process and express yourself is admirable. Those acts of civic engagement and courage are just awesome to witness and great lessons for our students. Seeing our students engaged and passionate about Pivot feeds the souls of our teachers and staff to help our students to succeed. It is why we do what we do.
You can play an active role in this effort. Please make plans to come to the two meetings we have noted above. Second, learn more about charter schools and how they work.
Our charter renewal process may have you wondering or wanting to talk about the situation or ask questions. I am personally available to answer any of your questions, as is our Site Administrator Jennie Clopton and our Chief Business Officer Liz Jones. All of our contact information is below, and we welcome questions.
Finally, know that the Board of Pivot Charter School North Bay is fully dedicated to this fight. They believe in the mission of Pivot and its method of delivering for our students. They are 100% behind our families and fully supportive of our efforts.
Chief Business Officer