'Til Opening Day @KCA! (vol. 11)
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Three Rivers School District Updates
2 Dates, 1 Thanks, and 2 MOUs

New Beginnings by Kaya Whittlinger
  • Date #1 August 15: is the deadline to resubmit our proposal to the school board. We're working hard and reaching out for guidance! We've met with Kristen Miles, the consultant who recommended the denial in May; Kate Pattison, the charter school specialist for the Oregon Department of Education; and have meetings scheduled with Cecile Enright, Executive Director of River's Edge Academy Charter School in Rogue River, and with Lisa Cross, the Accounting Manager for Three Rivers School District. We also attended the National Charter Schools Conference in Washington, D.C. (more on that later). We are learning upon learning upon learning.

  • Date #2 August 5: last Wednesday the grant cycle opened for federal Charter School Program grants for developers of new charter schools. They are particularly interested in teacher-led schools and schools with a strong community connection = double points for us! The application window is short (four weeks) and federal government bureaucracy is as maddening as you might expect, but we're going for it! 

  • Thanks #1: We received our first oversized check! In mid-June, Four Way Community Foundation presented symbolic checks to a variety of organizations working to strengthen our community, and we're in the group! Our $10,000 grant will help us purchase furniture for students and staff, office equipment, and other capital goodies. The Four Way grant helps make our case that KCA is considered a stable investment by local foundations who know the community.

    *Two More MOUs: We're working on MOUs with the Dome School and Spiral Living Center. An MOU is a "Memorandum of Understanding," or nonbinding agreement between two parties that describes plans for collaboration. It's a commitment that's more than an informal conversation but less than a contract. We already have an MOU with the Southern Oregon Guild of Artists and Artisans. There are a bevy of other local groups with which we'd love an MOU (looking at you, KXCJ and Rusk Ranch Nature Center!), and over time we'll reach out, but if you want to beat us to the punch, contact us!

Humanizing the Standards
Sex Education is a Human Right

Kalmiopsis Mountains by Selena Newman

What is health education and what does it look like at KCA? 

Now more than ever, teens across the nation desire and deserve a holistic health education that helps them  build their confidence and knowledge of their own bodies and the relationships (inter and intrapersonal) that will continue to evolve as they grow and develop. But what does that look like??

Well, the ODE (Oregon Department of Education) has laid the groundwork for a comprehensive foundation that we will strive to adopt.  In the words of ODE, “Health education provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to develop health literacy, so they are able to access valid information, resources and services in order to develop, maintain and promote healthy behaviors.

Health education is built on the foundation of teaching to all dimensions of the whole child.  The eight main standards in health education focus on the development of knowledge and skills that students use throughout their lifetimes - understanding health content and concepts; analyzing influences; interpersonal communication; decision-making; goal setting; self-management; and advocacy.

Quality health education requires time for students to develop and practice healthy behaviors, and ensures that students from every background and identity can learn the knowledge and skills to live their best, and healthiest lives.”

Under the umbrella of health education resides the subject of sexuality education. Oregon is one of only 24 states nationwide that mandates sex education for K-12 students. Almost every state in the U.S. has some guidance around sex education.  Currently, 39 states and the District of Columbia require that HIV and/or sex education is covered in school.

However, there is no guarantee that the sex education students are offered is of high quality, medically accurate or covers the topics young people need to learn about to stay healthy.  Sexuality education has become one of the most important aspects of a holistic health education for the developing youth.

Decisions about sex education are usually made at the state and local level - no federal laws dictate what sex education looks like or how it should be taught in schools.  At KCA, we value a comprehensive sexuality education and luckily have great resources and guidance from our state. From the ODE website, “Oregon’s approach to Comprehensive Sexuality Education equips students with the knowledge and skills to realize their health, well-being, and educational goals.

Sexuality Education supports students to:

  • Realize their health, well-being, and dignity;

  • Build and maintain healthy relationships, including friendships, and/or romantic or sexual relationships; 

  • Develop awareness of their own identities and support the identities of others;

  • Ensure the protection of their rights and the rights of others throughout their lives;

  • Consider their own boundaries and respect the boundaries of others;

  • Recognize and access support, information, and care from trusted adults and organizations; and

  • Reduce child abuse, sexual violence, harassment, and bullying.”

Our mission at KCA states, “Where it’s ok to be who you are while discovering your place in the world.”.   Our Health Education curriculum will strive to not only maintain that mission but also to help our students thrive in a curriculum based on safe spaces, medically accurate information, and a multitude of topics that are student centered through the lens of age appropriateness.

Access to comprehensive, medically accurate sex education is a human right. 
Action Steps
3 Things
Regeneration by Justice Palacios
  • Take the survey and share it with your friends: online or visit us at the Farmers Market (Fridays 4pm-7pm in Kerby). It takes only 2-4 minutes to complete. The more surveys we collect, the more evidence of community support. We currently have approximately 120 completed surveys, with a goal of 150 by August 10th -- let's keep it up!

  • Complete an Intent to Enroll form if you or your child is considering KCA. We currently have 15 completed forms, with a goal of 25 by August 10th.

  • Our Organizational Board meets the last Monday of the month over Zoom. Next meeting is July 25 @6pm: Come join the fun! (We're lying - board meetings aren't exactly fun, but they are exactly important.) 

KCA Student News
Integrating Art Everywhere

Untitled by Airabella Ferdon

Look closely! The Kalmiopsis Collection artwork has slithered its way into our Newsletter, Facebook Page, and Website. We'll forever be grateful to the kids for creating and sharing their art. 

A Piece of the Proposal
A Teacher-Run School


Fawn Lily by Sadie Tillotson


This week we updated the KCA website and added new content, including the philosophy of a teacher-run school. Here's a preview of the revised Teacher Leader page:

What is a Teacher Leader?

Kalmiopsis Community Arts High School is a teacher-run school without a principal. Teacher Leaders plan curriculum, teach courses, purchase materials, communicate with families, create academic calendars and bell schedules, create the budget, handle bookkeeping and payroll, facilitate the restorative justice discipline model (in cooperation with students), and take care of other administrative and teaching tasks. Teacher Leaders receive the same salaries in the spirit of cooperative parity.

A growing number of PK-12 schools are adopting nonhierarchical staffing structures. The teacher-powered movement includes teacher-run schools, such as KCA, as well as principal-led schools with a great deal of teacher autonomy. We believe that dissolving the decision-making and financial-compensation hierarchy between administration and teaching staff shifts relationships from power-over to power-with. It is both empowering and challenging, creative and messy, and cooperative while also being a bumpy, imperfect, but ultimately “worth it” alternative approach to the hierarchical model. 

The "Teacher Leaders" webpage also includes practicalities for KCA, the who-does-what component for the current Teacher Leaders. We also acknowledge the solidifying work of KCA co-creators who have moved onto other adventures. This includes Gina Angelique, who co-created from 2018-2020, and Sara Kinstler, who co-created from 2020-2022 and recently decided to pursue another dream. We love you both, and you will always be part of KCA history!

Charter School Conversations
NCSC Connections
Untitled by Ramona Newman

We received an extremely-last-minute grant from the Ford Family Foundation to attend the National Charter Schools Conference in Washington, DC! We're not joking -- we were awarded the grant on Tuesday June 14 and flew to DC in the early hours of Saturday June 18! The most valuable thing? Each morning we gathered in a "Rural Charter Schools Homeroom" with a few dozen others, a minority of small-town perspectives inside a conference with 3,500 other participants from cities and suburbs. We were the only participants in the Rural Charter Schools Homeroom that are still in the proposal stage, which seemed to inspire everyone else to ask us questions, offer useful advice, and give their contact information so we can reach out when needed. We are learning upon learning upon learning!

Fun and Miscellany
Another Article in Takilma Common Ground!

Lady in the Mountain by Malin Townsend

Kimiko authored a KCA update for the Summer Solstice issue of Takilma Common Ground 💜 To subscribe, please visit Illinois Valley Web.


Who Are We Writing For?
This newsletter is for potential KCA students and families, Illinois Valley creatives, educators, local community members, and everyone else who supports the creation of KCA! (Read our Mission, Vision, and Four Core Values). As a community-focused school, we want to be transparent to our community and help you feel "in the know" as KCA flows its way towards opening day.

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KCA Teacher Leaders
Kimiko Maglio (she/her)
Mellissa DeNardo (she/her)
Ryan Forsythe (he/him)
Kaci Elder (she/her)

Kalmiopsis Community Arts High School
Creative Commons License 2022-2023
(free to share with attribution)

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