January & February News

Dimensions Collaborative School

A Message From the Director


In honor of February as Heart Month we are privileged to announce our partnership with the American Heart Association (AHA).

As we look to the New Year, one of the key areas which is always at the forefront of our thinking is our health, fitness, and wellness. As it’s been said, you can have it all, but without your health, you won’t be able to enjoy it. And, as we know, there’s no better time to start developing life-long healthy habits than when you’re young!

So, Dimensions is excited to announce a partnership with the American Heart Association. We’re launching this partnership during the Heart Month of February and will be hosting a few events in the near future to spotlight our partnership and its benefits to our students and community. Our first event is the Heart Event on February 26, 2020 at our Mission Valley Learning Center.

Together, the American Heart Association and DCS, will focus on promoting health and wellness in primarily (3) areas:

1. Moving more to engage in physical education related lessons and activities

2. Being kind to others

3. Being ready to learn, and learning to be self-determined and directed learners.

Some of the benefits of our partnership are:

  • A fundraising opportunity for the American Heart Association – Our DCS community can support the effort to positively impact health in the San Diego Community at-large.
  • Access to an online portal for Physical Education and Health lessons, activities and resources which can be incorporated into your child’s personalized P.E. plan throughout each learning period – see link: https://openphysed.org/physical-education
  • American Heart Association News and Updates

Below you will find information about the Heart Event on February 26th.


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Catalina Science Camp 2020

Each year DCS offers an extraordinary experience for our students on Catalina Island sponsored by the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI), an outdoor science school. Catalina Island is a beautiful natural laboratory where students learn about marine life. In addition, students have the opportunity to hike, kayak, and snorkel. During the three and five day programs, students (grade 5 and above) and Educational Facilitators enjoy a variety of hands-on labs and field activities.

Educational Facilitators are collaborating with students interested in registering.

Traci Lockman


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Family Satisfaction Survey!

When it comes to family satisfaction, there is no such thing as too much information.

Please click on the link below to begin.

The survey should only take 5-10 minutes to complete.

Thank you in advance for your time.

Sharing the Good News and Good Work of Our Students!

The EdTech Connection

Everyone can code!

Students explored coding with Bee Bots and a Minecraft coding game in recognition of the National Hour of Code week.

While the official “week” was Dec 9th – 15th, you can access easy Hour of Code activities for all ages year-round at https://hourofcode.com/us/learn.

The Counseling Corner with Audrey Kirk

Attention DCS 2020 Graduates, please be sure to check out Audrey's latest newsletter!

Graduation Central Class of 2020

Terri's Tidbits: A New Year, A New You!



Yes, you do. In fact, as you reflect, you will come to realize you may have more than one. Even if this is your first time hearing the term, or you’ve never formally created a PLN, you likely have several which serve different purposes.


A Personal Learning Network (PLN), quite simply, is an ever-growing network of resources used for learning. As humans, we are learning all the time – growing in knowledge, skill, and perspective. Some of us more than others, and some of us in a more deliberate and focused manner; but humans are, by nature, natural and constant learners. A PLN is the group of peers, coaches, and specialists in which a learner interacts. Interaction may be in person, online, through social media, blogs, video, etc. By tapping into a multitude of resources the learner has access to a broad range of knowledge and expertise around a topic of desired focus. Whether a K-12 student seeking information to demonstrate understanding of the human cell, a parent craving more knowledge on guiding a child’s social choices, or an adult or professional in need of more skill in a key aspect of desired work, we are wired to keep improving at something.

Click Here to Read More!

Student Spotlight:Tatiana Santana

Tatiana Santana is in 3rd grade and enjoys sports and art. She especially likes spending time with her family and traveling. Her father is a professional soccer player and her mother Heather was on the US national women's soccer team. Their family is passionate about soccer and her father Ze Roberto enjoyed coaching her team in the past.

She loves art and homeschool because she is able to tailor her schedule at home to include art, sports, and academics. Tatiana recently earned a spot in the student showcase at The Museum Of Photographic Arts at Balboa Park. Tatiana and 70 other students from around San Diego recently displayed their work in the main exhibit hall for visitors to enjoy. The exhibit included K-12 students and the theme was "Dreams".

Tatiana enjoys taking pictures, staging photos with her friends, and learning about photography and Photoshop. In 2018, her older brother Tiago had his work featured at the Museum for the theme "sound".

Both Santanas have been in Mat Werner's Art class and they are the 8th and 9th DCS students from Mat's class to be honored in the student showcase over the past 10 years.

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Are these words in your vocabulary? They weren’t in mine until just recently, however I have come to find them useful in deepening my understanding about approaches to education and learning. Let’s define them:

  • Heteronomy (pronounced het-uh-ron-uh-mee): the condition of being under the domination of an outside authority
  • Heutagogy (pronounced hyoo-tuh-goh-jee): self-determined learning which develops autonomy, capacity and capability.

Why are these significant? Consider who is doing the leading in each. Historically, educating children was determined and designed by adults alone. This fit within the societal structures of the past. Today, advances in science and the world being globally connected have influenced social, cultural and institutional shifts. Education needs to fit within a dynamic, complex and changing world.

Heutagogy helps develop the skills needed to successfully function in the world today: observation, curiosity, reflection, collaboration, mutual respect, being solution-focused, leadership, accountability, resiliency and connection. These skills are invited through intrinsic vs. external motivation, when we feel connected, empowered, encouraged and safe, and when we “do together with” vs. “doing to” or “doing for.”

Brain science supports heutagogy. Watch this 5 min. video on the adolescent brain by Dan Siegel, M.D., renowned neuroscientist:


Many of us grew up in heteronomy. Making the shift to heutagogy, “doing together with,” is not easy for both adults and students. Reach out to your EF for ideas. The “Positive Discipline” model (www.positivediscipline.com) used in Element Education offers tools for adults to facilitate self-determined learning, and self-discipline. You can find Positive Discipline resources in your Learning Center, and in the Resource Center at Montiel Road.

Lois Ingber, LCSW, CPDLT

Behavioral Counselor

Element Education


Learning Success for Every Child

Have you considered the use of questions to connect with your child and inspire a learning environment that promotes student agency? Fostering a learner to have a voice is supported by celebrating them where they are and growing their confidence to believe they can be self-directed. These questions can also be used when expectations are not met.

Can you tell me more about that?

What brought you to that conclusion?

Was ____ difficult? What can you do…?

Come to our next workshop as we dive deeper in using the Power Traits Portrait. Learn more strategies to apply in the home to support you as you child’s biggest fan and coach to see them succeed at their dreams.

Join us for this interactive opportunity to work with your family’s Self-Portrait Power Traits results and bring out the personal best in everyone!

North San Diego:

February 4th

6:00-8:00 p.m.

Use this link to register:


Mary Lane Learning Center

3751 Mary Lane
Escondido, CA

Central San Diego:

February 11th

6:00-8:00 p.m.

Use this Link to Register:


Mission Valley Learning Center

4646 Mission Gorge Pl

San Diego, CA 92120

Trish Ruppel


(951) 217-2846

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ParentSquare Update!

As you know, ParentSquare is our primary means for communication. We recently updated the ParentSquare calendar to include all of our spring events, field trips, and other important dates.

Take a moment to activate your account on ParentSquare. You can also download the ParentSquare App. It is easy to use. Just visit the App store or Google play to download.

If you should need assistance activating your account, please do not hesitate to contact Susan Michaels at smichaels@dimensions.org or at (760) 703-9997.


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Register with ParentSquare & Stay Connected! Click Here

For ParentSquare Questions, Please Contact Susan Michaels at smichaels@dimensions.org

Join the Facebook Group for Your Local Learning Community

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