Golden Valley Tahoe School open as third charter school in Truckee | SierraSun.com

Golden Valley Tahoe School open as third charter school in Truckee

Hannah Jones
hjones@sierrasun.com

Golden Valley Tahoe School, a new Truckee charter school, opened its doors on Wednesday to students at the transitional kindergarten level to third grade, with hopes of later expanding to eighth grade students.

Golden Valley Tahoe School, a new Truckee charter school, opened its doors Wednesday to students at the transitional kindergarten level to third grade, with hopes of later expanding to eighth-grade students.

The school began as a preschool four years ago started by local parents who were drawn to the Waldorf Curriculum, a holistic liberal arts approach to education.

"As they began to learn more about how unique it was, we made the decision to work towards becoming a public Waldorf public school," said Principal Donnie River. "Even though we're expeditionary we are very careful about what we offer at what time," she said. "We don't offer anything before the children are cognitively able to address it."

River said that the school was able to get certified under Golden Valley Charter Schools which oversees Orchard School and River School both in Orangevale.

The Tahoe School currently has 35 children enrolled and will join Forest Charter School and Sierra Expeditionary Learning School as the third charter school in Truckee.

"Every school has its own philosophy and its own approach," said River. "If people are drawn to the Waldorf curriculum they'll come here."

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Charter Schools Expanding

The Tahoe School is one of four charter schools opening in California this fall that were highlighted by the California Charter Schools Association, adding to the largest charter school sector in the United States. Currently California houses nearly 1,300 charter schools serving 620,000 students, making up 10 percent of the total student population.

Though charter schools must be authorized by a district, county office of education, or the state, they are not required to follow the same rules and regulations as other public schools. They do still receive federal funding according to their enrollment levels and are tuition free for students.

In early August State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that he would be creating an Action Team on Charter School to review the school's governing laws to spot any needed changes. The California Charter School Act was put in place 26 years ago with little or no review or changes made since then.

"In the meantime, California's population and student population have increased significantly, our demographics have shifted, and our education system has been transformed with the introduction of new academic standards and new systems for funding and evaluating schools," Torlakson said in a statement.

The Action Team will analyze issues surrounding authorization of charter schools, their support and how they are held accountable for student success, making recommendations by the end of the year.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or hjones@sierasun.com.