Ross Valley Charter Receives Two New Grants

Ross Valley Charter Director Luke Duchene is happy to announce our school has recently received two significant grants totaling $475,000!

The first grant, for $150,000 from the Hastings Fund (Reed Hastings is Founder and CEO of Netflix).

Reed Hastings was a member of the California State Board of Education from 2000 to 2005, and was a strong supporter of Proposition 39 (2000) to ensure that empty public school spaces were shared equitably with public charter schools.

According to the Hastings Fund:

“Our aim is to partner with communities to significantly increase the number of students who have access to rich and holistic educational experiences.”

The second grant is for $325,000 from the Walton Family Foundation. The Walton Family Foundation spends almost half its resources on K-12 education. One of its primary initiatives is partnering with progressive school districts like Indianapolis, Houston, Memphis, New Orleans, and Denver to build innovative public schools that are led by school site leaders. In fact, the Walton Family Foundation funds many education initiatives, including being a Lead Partner with Expeditionary Learning, which the Ross Valley School District is implementing, in part, at Manor Elementary.

Like us, the Walton Family Foundation believes that empowering school teachers, administrators and parents is critical to transforming our public education system, which was shaped by the industrial revolution, to one that better prepares students for the world we live in today.

The following is an excerpt from its website:

“In 2016, the foundation committed $1 billion over five years to expand great
schools so all children, regardless of background, can be prepared for success
in college, career and life.

Resources alone cannot solve the challenges facing the education system.
Schools succeed when educators are empowered to make decisions about
things like culture, curriculum and staffing that are in the best interest of
children, while also being held accountable for student learning.

We believe leaders should empower educators, adopt these conditions and
remove barriers that prevent great schools from flourishing.”

These grants allow us to cover some of our initial start up costs this year and other elements in the coming years like increased teacher professional development, curriculum, furniture, books, and more. Most public schools receive funding from sources outside that which is provided to them through local, state and federal governments in some form. This is especially true in California, which ranks 46th out the 50 states in per pupil education funding.

It is our school’s responsibility to meet the needs of our students. We are grateful to have received such generous grants which will allow us to continue our hard work towards doing all that we can to achieve our Mission and follow our Core Beliefs. These grants do not require us to anything that would be detrimental to this work, it only supports this work.

Our Mission

“Ross Valley Charter will provide a public school option that leverages a progressive education model emphasizing deep inquiry and exploration, hands-on, immersion-based experiences, and active learning-by-doing approaches to prepare students to collaborate effectively in teams, think critically, seek information to solve problems, and be lifelong learners and culturally competent members of our diverse global community.”

Core Beliefs

  • “Students learn best when constructing their own knowledge in a social context that offers rich and challenging content, collaboration with fellow students and parents, and teachers acting as facilitators of this process.
  • Student voice, choice, and engagement are critical to supporting student agency and knowledge construction.
  • A thriving and joyful learning community has inclusive decision-making structures that foster teacher and parent engagement, collaboration, and shared ownership of the committed work of graduating students who are critical thinkers and creative problem solvers prepared for the 21st Century.”