Clayton Valley Charter High School

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Voyage of the Eagle: Let Your Light Shine

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do...    And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Marianne Williamson, Author 


As the weather cools and the leaves begin to fall, this Thanksgiving season we are reminded to be thankful. We have so much to be grateful for as we open our hearts to share kindness with friends and neighbors in our community. I believe that one of the most important qualities of an individual is the ability to say "thank you" to others. To acknowledge others, to say thank you, changes not only the person who gives thanks, but also changes those who surround that individual. 

I would like to take this time to reflect on some special happenings that I feel gratitude for at Clayton Valley Charter High School. There are so many great things happening here that I will only have space to highlight just a few in this Voyage of the Eagle. 

I want to give special thanks to one of our incredible teachers, Ms. Sarah Lovick, who has received the Warren W. Eukel Teacher Trust award, honoring truly gifted teachers who excel in their field. Sarah Lovick is being recognized for what most of us have known for years... that she is a "shining star" and an amazing human being. The mission of the Warren W. Eukel Teacher Trust is "to foster excellence in education by providing monetary grants to outstanding teachers in Contra Costa County." Each year, the trust selects three teachers who have exhibited extraordinary commitment to their students from nominations submitted by principals, parents, colleagues and students. Quoting author, Marianne Williamson, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?" Congratulations, Sarah Lovick! 

In addition, I wanted to share a few thoughts from our teachers and consultants about our International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE) professional development program. The International Center for Leadership in Education is the top educational leadership and consulting group in the nation. Dr. Bill Daggett provides leadership for the 50 state superintendents and has been our keynote presenter the past two summers for our Curriculum Institute. We have contracted with ICLE to provide classroom coaching to our teachers this year and professional development to our staff for increasing relevance in our daily instruction. Relevance is the key to making learning meaningful. Application of learning to student's real world experience is the number one key to motivation for student learning. This is so awesome to have access to some of the top educators nationally to impact teaching in the classroom. The following are some thoughts of "gratitude" shared by our teachers and consultants. 

 "The consultants modeled an 'in the moment' mini lesson on writing hooks. This 'in context' instruction proved a valuable learning experience that I can apply to other aspects of my teaching." 

"I learned how to employ more group responsibility to promote engagement during collaborative work." 

"I really love the Learner Engagement Rubric the consultants taught us. It is wonderful having a goal that can clearly be followed to help bolster student engagement in my classroom. Great self-assessment tool for instruction." 

"My consultant pushed me to empower more student choice in lessons as they work towards relevance and real world scenarios." 

"Look forward to our consultant modeling a lesson to promote rigorous and productive group work for all students."

In addition, here are a few highlights expressed from the ICLE consultants about their observations of the instruction and learning going on throughout our classrooms: 

"We observed an eagerness to provide students with rigorous, focused instruction. Many teachers were leading lessons and offering opportunities for students to participate in discussions."

"It was a highly productive week. We were able to get a great sense of the instructional strengths and areas of growth across grade levels and content areas." 

"It was impressive, the number of teachers in science who provided labs which allowed students to be actively engaged in the content they were learning."

Another exceptional program that I am proud and grateful for is our Targeted Case Management (TCM) Program. This is a powerful, research-based social services model approach to monitoring students performing below grade level in core subjects. Our TCM Program has been highlighted by the 2017 National Model School Award and the 2017 California Gold Ribbon Award. We have seen a 75% reduction in grades of D's and F's due to this outstanding program. Thank you to our Guidance Team and Administration for the excellent care you give to our students. Our motto, "Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care" is exemplified in our TCM Program. 

An additional robust program that we have added to our Character Education program is the "Character & Leadership" curriculum lessons provided via our Physical Education teachers. Our Athletic Directors and coaches are also working with all of our athletes utilizing the Character Modules designed for athletes through a daily program accessed through a mobile app. This summer our awesome Physical Education teachers chose to develop and implement some of the most powerful character building lessons using a nationally recognized program developed by Dr. Joseph M. Hoedel. Special thanks to Counselor, Bob Ralston for leading the charge in our Character Education program alongside Guillermo Jara, Agnieszka Holda, Jenna Ebert, Casey Coakley, Tim Murphy, Tom Sparks and Eric Bamberger. Thank you for going "above and beyond!" It is academic excellence with character education that helps build a better society and workforce.  

CVCHS has established ourselves as one of the truly great high schools in the region and has received national recognition as an academic powerhouse, as highlighted by the following accomplishments:

  • 2017 National Model School
  • 2017 California Gold Medal Ribbon School Award
  • State Ranking: 9 out of 10
  • 99% Graduation Rate
  • 99% College Admission Rate
  • WASC 6-year "clear" Term of Accreditation

Clayton Valley Charter High School continues to be that "light shining on a hill" that points the way to educational excellence. This very same light that led the way to our tremendous academic achievement results this past year, continues to light our path to shine bright as we move forward into 2018 and beyond! 

Remember, the giving of thanks has a "ripple effect." Our actions are like stones thrown in a pond and they create ripples that continue to travel outward. Everything we do affects the people in our lives and their reactions in turn affect others. Each of us has the power to change the world in small ways for the better. I encourage you to join me in reaching out to those around us as we give thanks. 

Wishing our Clayton Valley family a "Happy Thanksgiving!" 

In Your Service,

David Linzey
CVCHS Executive Director